Bangalore -

The Bangalore team attended TRENDWATCHING 2020, to listen to world-class speakers deliver an expertly curated, big-picture view of the customer landscape and look at actionable innovation opportunities and lessons on how to navigate change.

Recap of the decade:
Brands have to stand for something (and it won’t be easy): A big part of the past decade has been the polarisation of viewpoints, particularly in politics. Brands have had to take a stand on some of these issues. Examples such as Nike supporting and endorsing Colin Kaepernick and Disney facing backlash due to casting choices in Mulan.

Content is King, but context is Queen: Brands have found new and innovative ways to engage consumers, finding new media and channels to talk to them. For example, Burger King using ‘OK Google’ in their ads to set off Google Home devices in consumers’ houses.

Access > Ownership: Many businesses have been forced to rethink business models to reflect changing consumer needs.

Better CX: Brands like Netflix, Spotify, Uber and Airbnb have revolutionised their respective industries – and even curbed piracy – by creating great new ways that made these experiences easier, cheaper and better.

Guilt (about the environment): Climate change has become a talking point and companies have begun taking steps to combat this in their own ways; from reduced reliance on plastic, to the emerging faux meat businesses.

In looking into innovation and trends, particularly trend driven innovation, it is important to watch innovation first, and then as consumers - the basic needs have not changed, just new ways in which they need to be met.

New trends emerge when change unlocks new ways to serve basic human needs.

For trends, we must look beyond the success or failure of the trend, and watch for the lightbulb moments.

Opportunities for 2020:
86% of Indian millennials would rather spend on experiences, rather than on products, commodities or services.

Consumers are willing to spend more for unique experiences rather than traditional products or services. This has led to brands leveraging their current expertise to expand into new territories.

Examples of this:
• MUJI – a Japanese retailer, whose brand philosophy revolves around minimalism has now extended this into minimalist hotels.
• Fairwood e-Sports – opening a fast food chain that centres around online gaming.
• Virtual experiences – Marshmello holding a concert within the Fortnite game.

Creating delight through automation:
• “79% of Indian consumers think completely automated interactions, if done well, can delight them” – Adobe Experience Index, 2019.
• In 2020, consumers will welcome magical and downright theatrical automation-fueled experiences.

Examples of this:
• Happy Lemon bubble tea – robot baristas that can mix up to 40 different variations of bubble tea.
• Robot restaurants that have opened in Bangalore and other cities in India in 2019.
• Samsung Bot Air – an air purifier that sense and then move to the dirtiest parts of the house to purify.
• It’s all about offering automation and excitement in products that might otherwise be considered boring and commonplace.
• Another example of this was Bons.AI – a smart bonsai plant that can find sunlight, as well as a smart device that is a virtual companion and offers life advice.

With the rise of Asian Megacities, there is greater stress on livability and sustainability that comes with this urbanisation.

Rental models have risen by 400% since 2014 in markets like South Korea; from bicycles, to living and working spaces, to massage chairs.

Consumers demand brands that use technology for the betterment of society.

In the information age, consumer data is everywhere. This is a scary phenomenon for most consumers concerned with social media and other apps selling sensitive information. From Facebook to Snapchat, and even FaceApp which came under the scanner for its facial recognition data.

On a positive note, there have been technological developments for good as well:
• HK Stroke Association –an app that turns the lock screen into a detector for stroke.
• Lasers and app alerts in Seoul that stop inattentive pedestrians/commuters crossing the street.
• Volvo’s safety systems that react to dangerous driving patterns.

“82% of India’s population are suffering from stress”

Self-care is an area of growth. Younger generations are seeking more holistic solutions to the problem of their anxiety.

“…But much of self-care isn’t care at all. It’s an $11 billion industry whose end goal isn’t to alleviate the burnout cycle…but to provide further means of self-optimisation. At least in its contemporary, commodified iteration, self-care isn’t a solution; it’s exhausting”

In 2020, brands are moving towards addressing the burnout:
• 4-day work weeks – recently implemented by Microsoft, Japan; called the ‘Work-Life Choice Challenge’. This resulted in increased productivity, as well as reduced use of resources like paper and electricity.

Canceling the #hustle culture:
• Brands like Ikea have been promoting sleep, and the importance of it through their campaigns.
• Stockholm’s metro has transformed their spaces into digital art galleries to combat stress.
• Public punching bags in NYC.

In a world of increasing urban loneliness, consumers have also started experiencing different aspects of adulthood by themselves.

Solo travel is up 600%
Eating alone, in many Asian cities, is no longer considered taboo and there is a 128% growth in single person households since 2000.

Brands have made themselves ready for such changes:
• By being mobile – studio apartments with flat-pack furniture that is easy to pack and move.
• By being customisable – Samsung’s bespoke fridges give consumers the power to choose and design their own fridge size.

Brands are looking to become more responsible. The days of carefree consumerism are ending. Brands are being more cognizant of the impact that they leave on the planet and the need to change this.

Doconomy - credit cards that track the carbon emissions of the user, and set limits based on this.
Unspun – a start-up that weaves zero-waste jeans through 3D printing.
Cafes made from cardboard.
Ant Forest – redeeming in-game points to plant trees in China and incentivising caring about the environment.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – using e-waste to create medals.

The TRENDWATCHING event showcased many light-bulb moments that could define key changes in the coming years – looking at emerging solutions, in the manner that they address current needs, regardless of their vast success, or niche applications in their current form.


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