strategic futures consultancy ______________________
3. Where It's App
With smartphones becoming the dominant mobile force, Quick Response (QR) codes and app technology will pique interest, provide portals into unique experiences and improve our quality of life. In the US, sales of smartphones grew 82% from 2008 to 2010. In the UK, 28% of consumers own a smartphone and by 2015 iPhones will make up 11% of all total devices used in the UK. As consumers are empowered like never before, 2011 will see people take a deeper interest in where they are: from the city to a specific store. Geography and status can be redefined through retail, presenting savvy brands with an opportunity for increased location based services, promotions and solutions. To capitalise on consumer awareness of technology, brands will need to take QR codes beyond niche understanding, using it to explain and offer exclusive content. Rather than displacing our interaction with the physical, this technology has the potential to reinvigorate our relationships with brands, retailers and with each other.
4. No Degree, No Problem
Economic uncertainty has changed the workplace and the meaning of job security for the foreseeable future. As a result consumers will continue to question higher education's ROI and alternative channels for learning will gain credibility. In 2011 we may see more lifelong learning in the workplace, corporate sponsored degrees and companies investing in employees through education and training rather than salary or benefits. Meanwhile learning while doing, rather than learning in a lecture hall, may become a focus and with DIY education gaining steam, there's an opportunity for brands to play host.
5. On Her Own Terms
Women are earning and learning more than men, creating new gender roles in business and consumerism. In 2011, age is no longer an easy marker for lifestage. Opportunities lie for brands to focus less on the year the female consumer was born, and more on where she's at with her life right now. In the US in 2008, 27% of men reported being the sole cleaner in their household; in 2010, that number jumped to 32%. Meanwhile, among under-35s, more UK women than men research financial products online. So, 2011 may see a counter trend to the 'metrosexuality' of men in a 'masculinisation' of women. Implications for how brands market to women will be big, especially in sectors such as automobiles and sports. With men helping around the house more than ever, there may be an opportunity for brands to cater household products, as well as retail experiences accordingly.
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