A quick look at what we think are 10 trends to watch in 2010
Text of 10 Trends To Watch In 2010
BEFORE WE BEGIN
It is hard to believe another year has come and gone. So manyinteresting trends have emerged this year, and many more arelikely poised to do so next year.
At Luckie & Company, we spend a lot of time observing andstudying trends that impact consumers’ lives. The following is alist of 10 trends we feel have potential to continue growing,maybe even enter the mainstream and start to play an emergingrole in daily life in 2010. If nothing else, they’re pretty cool andworth keeping an eye on.
For hipsters, trendsetters and early adopters, some of these aregoing to be old news, but for the majority of us in the masses,some pretty interesting things will start to pop up into oureveryday routines.
#1 AUGMENTED REALITYAugmented reality (AR) is a term and application that has been around since the 1990s. To date, it hasmainly been used by engineers and researchers to supplement their work and in very simple manners inthe visual world for consumers. However, that has started to change with the mainstreaming of webcamsand smartphone cameras that allow individuals to unlock AR content and provide a three-dimensionalexperience for the user, bringing the real and digital worlds together.
Earlier this year, Doritos introduced a line of Late Night chips. To promote the chips a limited-edition AR symbol was printed on the back of the Late Night chip bag. Users visited a special Doritos Late Night Web site, lined up the symbol with their webcam and unlocked a never-before-released song and video from popular pop-punk band Blink-182.
Another cool AR application is from Zugara, where online shoppers can try clothes on before they buy them.
For the 2009 holiday season, The Home Depot has released a special AR gift card. When lined up with a webcam, the card shows a continuous stream of possible gifts and saves the gifts in a special section of the Web site for further viewing and information.
There really seems to be no limit to the potential of AR. In addition to those from Doritos, The Home Depot and Zugara, lots of interesting and unique AR ideas are starting to pop up. Papa John’s and Starbucks are using AR to help iPhone users find store locations. The December issue of Esquire featured an AR cover that unlocked an interactive video with Robert Downey Jr. and a commercial from Lexus. GE has featured AR when promoting their smart grid technology. Walmart has used AR to sell tween furniture.
#2 P2P MOBILE PAYMENTPerson-to-person payment (P2P) has been happening since the first cavemen exchanged beads forservices rendered. In more modern times, friends or acquaintances have exchanged checks or cash whena payment between two individuals was needed. PayPal helped mainstream P2P payment in the onlineworld. Now mobile digital technology is taking this concept to the next level with a variety of applicationspopping up that allow friends, family and neighbors to easily exchange money via their always presentmobile devices. For example: three friends go to dinner and one picks up the tab with his credit card. Theother two can simply text or SMS their share of the bill to the party who paid the bill. Will this technologyrender cash and checks obsolete? Probably not, but it will make them a lot less necessary.
Coming at this trend from another angle is mobile device maker Nokia, which recently launched Nokia Money, a mobile financial product that will allow users to transfer money to their friends and pay bills. Nokia has stated their that their goal is to become the world's largest mobile bank.
MasterCard has launched MoneySend, allowing cardholders to exchange P2P funds via SMS, mobile browser or mobile app.
POPMoney (pay other people money) is a new bank-centric P2P service that will allow banks to stay in the loop with the growing P2P trend (versus allowing credit card companies and third-party payment companies to process these transactions). POPMoney allows bank customers to link a checking account to their mobile device and pay friends seamlessly.
In September, Wells Fargo Bank launched a mobile customer-to-customer P2P payment system that allows Wells Fargo customers to transfer up to $1,000 per day between fellow customers.
Citibank is the longest-tenured provider in this space, having launched the U.S.’s first real-time P2P service in October 2008, allowing account holders to send money to “virtually any U.S. mobile phone number.”
#3 2D BAR CODES (AKA QR CODES)2D bar codes (also known as QR codes) have been widely used in consumer marketing applications inEurope and Asia for the last four to five years, but they are just now starting to make serious inroads inNorth America. To read one of these codes, consumers use their smartphone camera in conjunction witha bar code reader program to unlock data stored in the code. It might lead to a special Web site orprovide extra information about the product, a coupon, ringtone, wallpaper, song or any other bonusfeature that can be thought of. These codes can appear in any number of places, including magazines,signs, movie posters, outdoor boards, taxis/buses or anywhere a user is liable to see and scan one.
The July 29 issue of Sports Illustrated had the special 2D bar code at right, which unlocked 14 extra swimsuit pictures.
In September, JCPenney flipped the idea around and sent mobile 2D bar code coupons to shoppers, who then flashed the code on their mobile device at checkout for a discount. This was a pilot program at 16 Houston-area stores.
During the fall of 2009, Coors Light Canada introduced a 2D bar code feature to its Mystery Mansion promotion. The bar codes, containing exclusive Mystery Mansion content, were placed on the outside of Coors Light cases.
Book publishers have been quick to pick up on this trend. The first book to carry a 2D bar code, BrandDigital: Simple Ways Top Brands Succeed in the Digital World, allowed mobile users to buy the book directly from Amazon.com after scanning the bar code with their mobile devices. More recently, publisher HarperCollins has been experimenting with these codes. The L.A. Candy book jacket features a 2D bar code that takes readers to a special video and Q&A session with the author. The Amanda Project has a special code on the last page of the book that gives readers clues to the mystery from the perspective of one of the main characters.
#4 SOCIAL MEDIA STOREFRONTSMost retail brands have a social media presence on one or more of the major social media sites. Theytypically use these social destinations to push news, offer customer service or otherwise engage theircustomers/fans in conversation. To date, social media e-commerce from these brands has beenextremely limited, but may grow very quickly as marketers realize the potential of not only reaching, butalso selling to, consumers where they are spending more and more of their time. Facebook and Twitterare likely to be the initial proving grounds for these types of efforts. Recent usage data shows thatFacebook’s 300 million users spend a combined 8 billion minutes per day on the site, which has potentialto make it one of the biggest shopping destinations ever.
In June, Dell was the first major brand to announce direct sales from its Twitter account, reporting $3 million in sales from click-thrus to its Dell Outlet that started on Twitter. While that’s sofa change for Dell, it shows how Twitter has potential to be a viable sales portal.
While Twitter is still wrestling with how to make money themselves, that hasn’t stopped numerous businesses from exploring ways to make money via Twitter. Having recognized this trend and need, Twitter posted a business tutorial to help brands discover ways to move past conversational engagement with their customers on the platform.
Mega-retailer Searsand Web T-shirt maker Threadless have tested limited e-commerce functionality on their respective Facebook pages, allowing fans to shop on Facebook, but check out on their branded Web sites.
In August, Facebook announced the planned launching of 20 virtual storefronts where users will be able to shop without ever leaving the respective Facebook page. 1-800-FLOWERSwas the first of these virtual social media storefronts to open, with others expected to roll out in the coming months.
Southwest, JetBlue and United have all experimented with using their Twitter accounts to announce short-term “Twitter-only” fare sales that are completed on their respective Web sites.
Wonder Pizza Vending Machine offers three 9-inch pizza options that are kept cold until ordered, then cooked in a high-intensity oven and delivered in under two minutes. Each machine can hold 102 $5 pizzas.
U.K. company Afterheels is installing shoe vending machines in nightclubs. Targeted at young female patrons, the machines vend “comfortable flats” for when heeled shoes start to hurt. And there’s already a competitor, Rollasole, which offers a similar product/ buying experience.
Vending machines are nothing new, having been around since the 1880s selling basic staples such assoda, sandwiches and snacks. But lately, some brands have grasped onto the time-pressed, 24/7 natureof the 21st century consumer and begun to create machines with an increasingly amazing array ofoptions. While DVD rentals and iPod/iPhone machines have become fairly common, they’re really just thetip of the iceberg for this trend. Below are just a few examples of how the ordinary vending machinemight bring even more options to life in 2010.
Hotels are getting in on the trend too. The Standard Hotel in Los Angeles recently installed a swimwear vending machine selling Quicksilver board shorts and bikinis. For the more recession-proof consumer, the Mondrian South Beach provides a vending machine offering 60 items priced between $10 and $1.2M. From toothpaste and T-shirts to gold necklaces, condos and a Bentley.
The Magnificent Closed Jeans Machine is selling “instant denim” for $40 a pair. The machine sells two styles in multiple sizes and they’re guaranteed to fit.
Some industrious German farmers have found a wayto sell fresh eggs, butter, sausage, milk and produce directly to consumers through Regiomatvending machines.
#6 CROWDSOURCINGCrowdsourcing is not a new phenomenon. It has been used by artists and writers for years. It was famouslyused by Russian artists Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid to create “the most and least desired”paintings for a number of countries in the early 1990s. Today, the mainstreaming of social media andcomfortability of sharing information and ideas within networks and with the world have quickly allowedcrowdsourcing to become a popular source of inspiration and collaboration in many areas as the firstdecade of the 21st century comes to a close. Many marketers are testing the crowdsourcing waters withcontests to create commercials, new flavors, new products or product extensions, but some brands havealready moved beyond this crowdsourcing entry point and truly tapped the power of collective thinking.
Recently, hip London restaurant L’Anima used crowdsourcing to select part of their wine list, utilizing online video and Twitter to let patrons and fans help their wine experts finalize the list.
Food52.com is using crowdsourced recipes to create a cookbook. Each week the site names a theme and holds a contest in which readers vote on submitted recipes. After 52 weeks of reader-selected winners, they will publish The Food52 Cookbook. Not only is this a fun contest, but it also creates a huge database of great recipes for readers to come back to.
The Royal Opera House in London recently used Twitterto crowdsource the libretto for a new “people’s opera.” On August 3, the opera house provided a brief opening line and let the Twitterverse take over, successfully performing the completed opera in early September. A brief video outtake can be seen here. Over 900 people contributed.
Several bands have created crowdsourced music videos. The latest is Sour, a Japanese band who asked their fan base to create a video for their single “Hibi no Neiro.” Fans from around the world were given specific instructions on what to do using only their respective web-cams to record their actions. London-based Bloc Party released a fan crowdsourced live video shot entirely on mobile device cameras.
#7 MOBILE CONTACTLESS PAYMENTContactless payment (via a linked credit card) has been around in one form or another for around 15years – think of those keychain fobs that Shell and Mobile introduced, allowing customers to keep theirwallets in their pockets when paying at the pump. The technology is made possible by a RadioFrequency Identification (RFID) device implanted in a credit card or payment device. Now, the nextevolution of contactless payment is rapidly approaching in the form of mobile contactless payment,which will use Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to complete payment transactions. That’sright, your mobile device can now pay for your many purchases and may be one step away fromcompletely replacing your wallet (at least your wallet’s role as a cash and credit card storage device). Theonly real holdup is getting cell-phone equipment makers to build units enabled with NFC technology.
Earlier this year, Nokia, Visa and Malaysia’s largest bank partnered to introduce the world’s first full-scale NFC mobile payment system. Once set up, Nokia handset users can use their device to pay at over 1,800 merchants in Malaysia.
MasterCard has also been aggressively running trials of their mobile PayPass contactless payment system, with trials running with partner banks in 28 countries. In the U.S., MasterCard has been working in New York City with Best Buy, Duane Reade, Walgreens, CVS, United Artists Theatres, Regal Cinemas, 7-Eleven, Arby’s and McDonald’s to perfect the technology.
Currently, Nokia is the leading mobile equipment manufacturer for building NFC-ready phones, while other manufacturers lag behind. As consumers wait for these mobile devices to become more readily available, several alternatives have popped up that allow mobile users to convert their existing phones into contactless payment devices. MasterCard has partnered with Blaze Mobile and MetaBank to introduce a sticker that can be applied to any mobile device, activating MasterCard’s existing “Tap & Go” PayPass system, usable at 141,000 merchants. And Mobile Payment Skins has developed a customized mobile skin (the Phoolah), which comes equipped with an NFC chip and is simply used to “wrap” the user’s mobile device.
#8 APP WORLDApple pioneered the idea of mobile applications (apps) with the launch of their iPhone App Store in June2008. In just 16 months, the App Store has grown to offer over 100,000 apps in 20 categories and hasexperienced more than 2 billion downloads. But the iPhone only represents a little over 10% of the entiremobile phone market and sits right at 30% of the smartphone market. Currently, smartphone usersrepresent 39% of all mobile users, while recent research shows that nearly 12% of mobile users plan tobuy a smartphone in the next 90 days. With the explosive growth of smartphone usage and other wirelesscarriers finally catching up with their own application offerings, the app life will soon be the way of life forthe masses. Currently there are five emerging competitors to the iPhone App Store domination, which aredetailed below.
Launched in June 2009, the Palm App Catalog currently offers 97 apps in 16 categories.
In October 2009, Microsoft launched Marketplace for Mobile, featuring an initial offering of 249 apps for the Windows Mobile platform.
The Google Android app market, known as The Market, is likely poised for the most rapid growth with the massive launch of Android-based operating system smart-phones (20 phones this year and 30 in 2010). Some predict this platform could overtake the iPhone platform in the next couple of years. The Market, launched in March 2009, currently offers over 10,000 apps in 15 categories.
BlackBerry App World was launched in April 2009 and currently offers 3,183 apps in 17 categories.
Nokia Ovi Store was launched in May 2009 and currently offers 2,161 apps focused on five core areas: games, maps, media, messaging and music.
Unless otherwise noted, all app store counts are as of the second week of November 2009.
#9 NICHE USER-GENERATED HUMORFive years ago everything changed with the launch of YouTube. Suddenly anyone and everyone couldpublish video of the world around them. Thanks in no small part to the success of MTV’s Jackass,YouTube very quickly became the place to find user-generated videos that could keep viewers laughing,smiling and cringing for hours. Soon thereafter came sites like CollegeHumor, Funny or Die, Break and ahost of others where everyone with anything funny to say or show could be seen. The commonality ofthese sites was the broad nature of humor displayed. In the last six months or so, there has been agrowing popularity in single-focused humor sites, almost niche in nature. Some of these more focusedsites have very quickly received large, dedicated followings and even a level of celebrity or fortune fortheir creators. Could these new micro humor channels be a sign of how online consumers want theirhumor dished out moving forward?
Probably one of the better known (and more questionable) of these sites is People of Walmart, which features less than flattering user-submitted photos of everyday folks in their local Walmart stores. The site tends to focus on poor fashion choices, bad haircuts and strange vehicles in the parking lot. Within a month or so of launching as a joke amongst friends, the site went viral and has received plenty of mainstream press.
In August, a 29-year-old guy named Justin posted his first tweet on a new Twitter stream he had created, shitmydadsays. It was meant as a joke between Justin and a few friends to capture the continuous stream of humorous observations and sayings his 73-year-old father offered up during the course of any given day. The site quickly went viral and now has over 800,000 followers. It also garnered Justin a book deal and possible TV series.
Txts Frm Lst Nght is what it sounds like: user-submitted texts (generally from twentysomethings) that were sent or received the night before, in many casesin a somewhat inebriated state. Most of the texts have a scandalous feel or fall into the “too much information” category. Launched in the spring, the site receives an average of 4 million hits a day and secured a book deal mere months after launching.
#10 GOODNESSThere is no question that it has been a rough 18 to 24 months for brands and consumers alike, which hasstretched the limits of niceness and even charitable giving for many. While the U.S. has always seen astrong level of volunteerism and philanthropy from consumers and brands, a new evolution is takingshape that can help remind consumers about the everyday goodness they can participate in. This newevolution of goodness seems based in the idea of brands empowering their customers to be both thegiver and receiver of goodness versus the brand doing the giving. At the core of it is the simple act ofmaking someone smile through a nice gesture or simple deed.
In 2010, Disney will offer free admission to up to one million guests who have completed a day of volunteer work in their local communities through the “Give A Day, Get a Disney Day” program.
A Canadian credit union recently gave its members $200,000 in $10 bills and asked them to create a “feel good ripple” by using the $10 to make someone’s day (i.e., buying flowers for the grocery store clerk, paying for the coffee/meal of the car behind them at a drive-thru, giving it to a homeless shelter, etc.).Launched in September,
Australian baby onesie manufacturer Baby Teresahas a very simple premise for customers: buy one of our onesies and we will donate one to a baby in need. Their goal is to help clothe a baby in every country in the world.
In 2006, Toms Shoes started their One For One program, giving a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. This fall they went a step further, allowing customers to help deliver the donated shoes. The first donation stop was Argentina, with future shoe drops scheduled for Ethiopia, South Africa and the U.S.
WHY THESE TRENDS MATTERWhile these trends will surely make life a little more interesting or fun for consumers, they are important formarketers to understand and adapt into their marketing plans when appropriate. And while some of thesemay not seem like they have direct marketing connections, they are still important to understand as this ishow consumers will be interacting with brands and each other on a regular basis in the coming years.
1. Augmented reality: really picks up where virtual reality leaves off, but without the bulky glasses,headphones or other haptic feedback devices. This trend seems like it will fall into the categories ofentertainment and information, the latter being used as a mashup of existing information resources toproduce things like three-dimensional maps, store locators, travel guides, etc. On the entertainmentside, opportunity in the gaming, music and video space feels unlimited.
2. P2P Mobile Payment: P2P mobile payment is the next logical evolution of whipping one’s wallet out togive a friend a 10-spot. It cuts down on the need to carry cash or plastic or write one of thoseincreasingly archaic paper checks. It also makes it easier to quickly settle a friendly wager when yourfavorite team loses.
3. 2D Barcodes: are all about information and choice, giving consumers more opportunity to interact witha product, brand or service. This goes hand-in-hand with the App World trend as more and moreconsumers turn to smart mobile devices; their expectation of instantaneous connection, informationand entertainment will continue to expand at an accelerated rate.
4. Social Media Storefronts: with 300 million Facebook users spending a combined 8 billion minutes aday on the site, it makes perfect sense to offer shopping opportunities that don’t require fans to leavethe friendly confines of the Facebook community, while fitting seamlessly into the experience they arealready having. Not to mention they’re already predisposed to the brand, being a “fan” and more likelyto buy.
WHY THESE TRENDS MATTER5. 21st Century Vending Machines: this is clearly about convenience for consumers and new sources
of revenue for brands. With over 17,000 machines, Redbox DVD rentals may be the mostrecognizable of this new generation of vending machine (and possibly the final nail in the coffin oftraditional brick-and-mortar video rental stores). Pizza, shoes, jeans; the vending machine code hasbeen cracked and the sky’s the limit for smart marketers and entrepreneurs to reach customers with24/7 access to the products they want.
6. Crowdsourcing: is about giving the consumer ultimate control. It also plays into individuality as like-minded individuals are likely to be attracted to similar crowdsourcing opportunities, creating anacceptable outcome that feels personalized to each individual. It can be a risky and rewardingproposition for any brand to undertake, but it is a necessity as brands slowly cede control of whothey are to their true brand managers … the customers.
7. Mobile Contactless Payment: this trend has potential to be huge. Contactless payment has beenaround for years, but it has always required an additional fob or device to complete the transaction,thus stymieing its mainstream adaptation. The credit card companies finally adapted the RFIDtechnology to work on actual credit cards and now have figured out how to make it work via NFCchips on mobile devices. Consumers are becoming tethered to their cell phones and mobile devicesalmost like articles of clothing (never going anywhere without them). As smart mobile devicescontinue to become the norm, they are likely to start replacing wallets and money clips like cellphones replaced watches.
8. App World: the current iPhone advertising says it all: “There’s an app for that.” As more and moreconsumers migrate to smartphones, an increased functionality and meaning in day-to-day life will beexpected. Brands will need to adapt to this potential all-in-one device so that they can be front andcenter when needed.
WHY THESE TRENDS MATTER9. Niche User-Generated Humor: humor comes in many forms. What some find funny, others find
offensive. But no matter what the humor niche, there always seems to be an audience. For decadesTV shows have been built around selected comedians and their brand of humor. So why not a 21st
century spin on this concept, featuring user-generated material in the digital space. As long as thereare book deals to sign and TV shows to be made, these types of niche sites will surely proliferate andcontinue to provide a daily chuckle to their users.
10. Goodness: 2010 has got to be better, right? January 1 will mark a turning point for consumers andbrands alike to put the last 24 months of economic turmoil behind them and look to brighter days.Small acts of goodness may be inconsequential on their own, but when multiplied by the power thatwell-known/respected brands can put behind these acts, they may have the power to becomedifference-makers on multiple levels.
A SPECIAL THANKS AND SOME LINK LOVE
For providing insight and inspiring us, many thanks to our
partners at Iconoculture.
And friends at TrendHunter, Trendcentral, Trendwatching,
Springwise, PSFK, BoingBoing, Mobile Marketer, Gizmodo,
If you are interested in learning more about Luckie & Company andhow we think, please visit our Web site, www.luckie.com.
We publish five monthly newsletters. Four “Trend Tracker”newsletters that take a quick look at what’s new and interesting inthe Banking, Snacking, Telecom and Tourism industries and one“Generational News & Views” newsletter that takes a quick topicallook into the lives of Gen Y, Gen X and Baby Boomers.
If you would like a complimentary subscription to any of thesenewsletters, please e-mail [email protected] and mentionyour newsletter of interest in the subject line of your e-mail.