At this time of year we like to take a look around and survey the trends lists for the coming year.
They provide great ideas for small businesses and entrepreneurs about possible new businesses or products.
Trends inventories also are useful to any company selling to small businesses, helping them understand their small business customers better.
Entrepreneur magazine offers its list of top 8 trends for 2005, compiled by writer Laura Tiffany. It’s very much a U.S. retail, consumer-culture oriented list, and in that sense is fairly limited, but still useful:
- Authenticity - Authenticity has to rank right up there right underneath “blog” as word of the year, in my opinion. In fact, authenticity is one of the hallmarks of blogs. So it’s no wonder this made the list of trends. It seems to have a lot of application in marketing. As writer Laura Tiffany notes in the article: “How can a company tout its authenticity? You can make like Apple Computer, Levi Strauss & Co. and Mercedes-Benz and use real customers in your ads. Brag about your use of local ingredients and materials, traditional and artisanal methods, or environmentally and socially responsible practices.”
- Age 35 – Entrepreneur’s article suggests that 35 is becoming the golden median age in the United States for marketing. The article suggests that aging baby boomers don’t want to give up this age, and younger people see themselves as more mature and aspire to age 35. So if you are looking at the prime age to target, it may no longer be that 18 to 20-something male, but rather the 35 year old wannabe.
- Multitasking and Memory Loss - Are we trying to do so many things at once, that we are shorting out our memories? Don’t laugh. That’s what the article suggests. It goes on to suggest that memory aids will be hot.
- Obesity –
While rising obesity levels are old news, apparently the trail of business niches to serve bigger people is just getting legs. It includes everything from the obvious (plus-size apparel) to the more subtle (plus-size caskets, and higher-capacity scales).
- The Third Place – People are looking for a third place to get away from home and work (the first and second places). Restaurants, coffee shops and other outlets equipped with WiFi are going out of their way to keep patrons around as long as possible. Sounds like just what we don’t need with expanding waistlines — eateries that never want you to leave….
- Snobization - “Middle-class Americans are turning into a bunch of snobs,” according to the article. It refers to everyday items being turned into chic luxury goods, but not necessarily expensive ones. The take-away for small businesses: see if you can transform your products and services from ordinary to premium.
- Uniqueness – This trend is all about our desire for cachet…to be considered out of the ordinary. “In a world of big-box retailers, it’s up to the entrepreneur to fill this need.”
- Life Caching – Saving and cherishing the moments of our lives is what this trend is all about. Future generations will “hoard memory cards full of blog entries, digital photos and the first websites they ever built.”
Editor’s Note: Throughout the next week we will be reviewing trends predictions. We’ll keep a running list of them. We are comparing and contrasting trends predictions from different sources, to give you a well-rounded view of trends to anticipate and capitalize on, in the small business market. See our 2005 Trends index for more.