Chain Store Age: 2007 Consumer Trends
By Cynthia R. Cohen
Through special arrangement, what follows is an excerpt of a current article from Chain Store Age magazine, presented here for discussion.
The top 10 consumer trends for 2007:
1. Green Is Good: Color consumers green this year with their interest in non-toxic, energy efficient, sustainable wood, low environmental impact, alternative energy, recycled and organic.
2. Hip, Stylish Baby Clothes and Accessories: Brad and Angelina had no “name” clothes for Shiloh’s big picture. The little beauty showed that cutesy is out and stylish new designer baby duds are in, as many of the follow-up stories detailed which new designer’s brand she wore for her People debut.
3. Personal-Content Generation: Consumers of all ages are creating content (words, pictures, videos) everywhere, all the time and sharing it. Not just limited to technology content, longhand journal writing is also back. Just don’t pull a Lindsay and let your deep thoughts get published before you edit!
4. Live/Work Real Estate: Gen Ys and boomers converge here. Whether young, aspiring artists or newly retired/self-employed practitioners, they are renting/buying (which means outfitting with specialized furniture and products) their new live/work spaces.
5. Local Produce: For variety and safety (Popeye, are you careful about the spinach you are eating?), taste is in, fad diets are out and folks are doing what Mom told them … eating their (locally produced) veggies. Lucky Flo-ridians are eating those ugly tomatoes with real taste that can’t be shipped out of state.
6. Healthy Technology: We are going to use technology for more than just music when we work out. Tracking and controlling health conditions are on the front burner. Have you had your chip with medical info implanted yet?
7. Engineered Pets: “Give me one that has a nice, gentle nature, won’t make me sneeze and gets along well with others.” Behavior is the new pedigree, and little Peanut (the teacup dog) is bred to the family’s specifications.
8. Experiential Gifting: More people are getting original with gifting, with cooking classes, restaurant gift certificates, spa days, wine assortments for a tasting party and other experiential things. This means traditional consumer products are losing share in the giftables pie.
9. Comfort-Food Cooking: Cakes go retro as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Bundt cake pan. On the comeback trail is Beef Stroganoff and the Food Channel is showing everyone how to cook it. Real men cook; real women drink Manhattans! (The cherry in the drink complements the red dress she bought in December.)
10. Innovative Travel: No matter what the conveyance–air or donkey–everyone’s going somewhere and looking for comfortable, convenient, innovative travel products. The three ounces of gels are now packed in brightly colored luggage or well-designed functional travel totes along with a plethora of specialized travel-oriented products. Eco travel packages also get a boost this year, and I am planning my trip to Dubai … for the shopping, of course.
Discussion Questions: Which of the 10 trends from the Chain Store Age list do you think will be most widely felt this year? What will this and other key trends in the list mean for retailers?