What's hot and what's not for 2015?
2014 has been an exciting year. We've had royal babies and a world cup; we've landed on a comet and ECHO has moved to a brand new office: plenty to celebrate! And with the new year fast approaching, the time is ripe for speculation- which fads are soon to be passé? And what emerging trends do we expect to make their way further into the limelight next year? What's hot? And what's not?
Cyber Monday is the new Black Friday. Last Monday, e-commerce giant Amazon sold a whopping 64 items online every second. 2014 has seen a huge increase in the number of people spending money online. Mobile purchasing is becoming easier and online retailers are getting smart about user experience- we're excited to see how the industry will develop and respond in the coming year.
We've already seen some pretty radical ideas surrounding sustainable packaging. From packaging that is part of the product itself, like Tide's laundry tabs, to packaging that disappears after use, like Splosh's soluble refills, designers keep coming up with innovative ways to minimise how much we throw away. This really smart sand casing from Alien & Monkey is a great example of this kind of creative thinking.
Do it yourself
If you think that DIY is for the middle-aged and getting crafty is for grandmas, think again. Fuelled by a desire for active participation, individual customisation and experiential value, Generation Y is fast becoming Generation DIY (see what I did there?). Cakes that look like cartoon characters, knitted hats, bookshelves, lampshades and pencil holders- if it can be made it shall be made! And there's almost certainly a tutorial telling you how to make it on Pinterest.
2014 has been the year of customisation- we've seen it everywhere, spanning the gap between FMCG brands (Coca-Cola, Nutella, Walkers) and luxury fashion (Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton). But brands need to be careful not to give consumers too much power- customisation should always happen within carefully-set parameters, it should emphasise your brand message and hero your values.
We're still waiting for wearable technology to fulfull its exciting potential. So far, everything launched has fallen short of expectations or is a bit too space-agey for practical use. But Apple's iwatch is set to launch in spring and Google has some exciting plans on the horizon too- so watch this space!
Remember #nomakeupselfie and #icebucketchallenge? Of course you do, at the height of their popularity they both dominated social media channels. Nobody can say that the phenomenon was a bad thing- it was a testament to the power of social media. Millions were raised for charity and those who participated felt that they'd done good- they were part of a community striving for an honourable goal. But let's be honest- we all got a bit sick of those posts all over our Facebook walls didn't we...? Brands need to carefully manage their social profile as the backlash can sometimes come quicker than the cash.
Throwing things away
Our god given right to have our rubbish collected from behind our neatly trimmed privet hedge is slowly diminishing with some councils pushing for bin removals once every 3 weeks. Consumers are already getting better at recycling and brands are making concerted efforts to lower their carbon footprints. In the coming year we expect to see more high-quality durable and refillable products. These products are much more environmentally friendly than their disposable counterparts, and they present plenty of exciting opportunities for brands to create complex and involving user experiences and to foster long-lasting relationships with consumers.
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