Trendwatching recently hosted a webinar to provide a deep dive into five innovations and associated consumer trends they predict will reshape consumer expectations in 2017. Hosted by the company’s Global Head of Trends & Insights, David Mattin, the following is a summary of the top trends, which are featured in the company’s just-published 2017 Trend Report.

Virtual Experience Economy

Virtual experiences may carry the same status weight, and potentially become more sought-after and valued, as “real” ones. According David, the world is on the cusp of a powerful shift – a move away from using the internet as a place for information, to using it as a place for experiences. This is being fueled by the maturing of virtual/augmented reality, which may even be used to define a person’s status as social media has turned experiences into shareable currency. Brands will need to create digital experiences that consumers value more than the real world to take advantage of this trend.

Incognito Individuals
It’s predicted that consumers will embrace new tools, services and platforms that strip away the identity imposed on them by demographic circumstance. Brands will find success by recognizing non-traditional and authentic demographic segments, as consumers want to be free from prejudice, constraints or repercussions. For example, CoverGirl appointed 17-year-old makeup artist James Charles as the first male face of its cosmetics campaign, offering men the opportunity to redefine themselves in this space.

Big Brother Brands
Consumers have embraced the world in which brands can take their data and deliver highly personalized services; therefore, customer expectations around convenience, seamlessness and relevance is expected to reach new heights in 2017. Voice may replace the screen as the primary way of interacting with digital devices, and artificially intelligent assistants are set to rise from 390 million in 2015 to 1.8 billion worldwide by 2021 (Tractica, August 2016). Brands won’t need to be tech gurus to evolve with this trend, as many can opt to take a platform approach by enabling third parties to add capabilities to their ecosystems.

Capacity Capture

Environmental concerns is a mega-trend that has continuously evolved for decades. Recently, there has been rising concerns about waste, which has led to peer-to-peer consumerism (ex: Airbnb, car share programs). In 2017, consumers may embrace brands that are actively responding to their new eco-friendly concerns, leading to higher engagement and sharing with friends. To capture this consumer, brands need to find new sources of value or creative new ways to eliminate wasted resources.

Worlds Apart

2016 saw the economic, social and cultural impacts of globalization, and brands have a powerful opportunity to respond to division and try and serve consumers. There are renewed opportunities in helping people understand their changing relationship to the world around them. Trendwatching foresees two different groups within this trend: New Global Citizens, who will remain committed to the idea of an open and interconnected world, and Nation Nurturers, who will turn inwards, seeking solace in local or familiar territories. Brand campaigns should focus on building bridges between people and cultures, or display a commitment to a specific place to appeal to each respective group.

To watch the full webinar, click