Trendwatching offers their latest look at consumer trends that will shape 2007. In it they deal with “status, transparency and consumer power, the online revolution, more adventurous consumption, and a shift from consumption to participation“.
A common theme is the power of the interconnected world which will increasingly provide us with near instant on line reviews of pretty much everything, whether goods or services or experiences. This power of the consumer reviewer will overtake (if it hasn’t already) the power of commercial marketing. The ability to easily trade goods that have reached the limit of novelty or usefulness will mean that people are more prepared to try out new products, knowing that if they don’t like them they can still sell them on to someone who does. And the ‘global brain’ effect will mean that big companies will be anxiously plugging into “all of the world’s intelligence and experience, fully networked, incorporating not only the usual suspects like gurus, professors and scientists, but the experiences and skills of hundreds of millions of smart consumers as well.”
Expect lifestyles to become more transient, as people seek out the latest thing; more participative, as they get involved in developing status skills that garner attention rather than just buying status symbols; more connected, as who you are becomes defined more by who you know than what you own; and more environmentally sensitive as conspicuous consumption gradually develops all the appeal of chain smoking.
I see this as positive for the church – people already seem to be more prepared to give church a try, they want to get involved in practical action (more church led community projects anyone?), community and belonging become more important for people, and an awareness of our shared responsibility for our surroundings reflects the creation ordinance to steward the earth.
There’s loads more in this report than I’ve touched on here. It makes for a fascinating read and, as usual, includes links to sites you may not have heard of… yet.