News: What can we expect in 2010?

We know, every Tom Dick and Harry is posting a forecast for 2010…well we’d hate to disappoint! So when you’re planning your product ranges and marketing strategies this year don’t forget the 5 ‘Cs’….

1/ Craft

With the rise in popularity of craft e-tailers like Folksy and Etsy there has been a resurgence in interest in crafted textiles, furniture, wall art and ceramics. We’re experiencing a huge trend towards appreciating finely crafted and individual objects in a backlash to the mass-production and mass-consumerism of the past decade.  Watch out for naturally occuring irregularities – little mistakes are celebrated- and in some instances faked- to give that ‘made for me‘ vibe… Materials are humble and natural, the overall tone is simple, honest and friendly– this is not about the neo-green movement necessarily, it’s about giving hand-made gifts, supporting local craftspeople and having a desire for products that are individual and unique. We love knitted and crochet lampshades, ceramics with fingerprints on the base, felt fruit bowls, patchworking, embroidery- the list goes on….we’re also  desperately trying to get our hands on a copy of the Handmade Nation movie by Faythe Levine. The craft movement started off small but is gaining momentum rapidly and will become a mainstream concern in 2010…see our report on the changing face of retail where this movement plays a major part.

2/ Caution

2010 is widely thought to be a year of cautious restraint from a shoppers perspective, with most of us preferring to increase our savings and reduce our debt. With Britain now alledgedly the only G20 nation still in recession there is an air of suspicion and caution which makes us think twice before we buy. US Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner recently promised America that there won’t be another financial crisis in 2010. “We’re not going to have a second wave of financial crisis,” Geithner said in an interview with National Public Radio. “We’ll do what is necessary to prevent that. We cannot afford to let the country live again with a risk that we’re going to have another series of events like we had last year.” In terms of how this affects home interiors, watch out for a trend in trading-up where shoppers will look for true value, even if it means spending more on a product that lasts longer and is more hard-wearing. This isn’t about abstinance and frugality, it’s about spending wisely and having researched prior to purchasing to get the best deal.

3/ ‘Consumer’

Recently we’ve been talking to our clients about how they communicate with their customers. Notice we say customers– not consumers. It’s just a word, but it really describes the changes we’re experiencing in terms of how people are behaving. The word consume has such negative connotations with wasteful, thoughtless squandering which all of a sudden seems very distasteful (ever wonder why brands stopped representing themselves with mega-rich glamorous celebrities? Seems so last century! It just seems so vulgar now in the current climate to be promoting excessive and unattainable lifestyles…). Watch our for new, real role models….

4/ Customer Driven

Shopping will continue to be a more democratic exercise, and will be driven by genuine customer demand. We’ve been reading a lot about VPI, volunteered personal information; where individuals will offer up information about future purchases they wish to make, and invite companies to pitch for their business. Customer really is king in this scenario.  The concept of brands ‘hard-selling’ goods and customers passively consuming just seems so old-fashioned all of a sudden.

“2010 is about using the information and crafting content, product and trends that are perhaps dictated or even requested by the consumer,” she says. “It’s not about creating things you’re unsure if consumers want or not.”  says Sojin Lee, founder of Fashionair.com, a fashion Web site that deconstructs the catwalk for useful tips.

5/ Cocoon

Home is where the heart is for 2010, as people spend increasing amounts of time working, socializing and entertaining at home. Staying at home is also an important consideration for travel and vacation trends in 2010, as Americans say they aren’t likely to travel much more in 2010 than they have this year, despite optimism that they will from many Wall Street and travel industry analysts and industry leaders. A new USA Today/Gallup Poll finds that only 16% plan to fly more or stay more often in hotels next year than they did in 2009. About 30% say they actually will fly less frequently and have fewer hotel stays because of the weak economy. Through 2009, evidence suggests that as we spend more time at home, there is a greater reliance on products that truly perform, clever storage solutions and flexible multi-use spaces and multi-functional furniture. We saw some great examples of this at the Northumbria University graduate show in the summer, where tables, chairs and even garments had a practical, adaptable and transient nature (below).

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