William Higham makes his 2016 predictions and says that UK consumers will increasingly reject tech in favour of traditional in the year ahead, creating new opportunity for businesses
For Britons, 2016 will increasingly be about balancing the technological with the human. We’ll continue to enjoy technology that gives us greater control over entertainment, purchasing, consumption, our work and personal lives. We’ll use technology to learn (‘braining up’); to sidestep traditional rules and behaviours (‘new order’); to speed up our lives using all the wearables, smart technology and Internet of Things-led services that will be available in the year ahead (‘friction free’).
But 2016 will see a growing reaction against the omnipresence of technology. More and more of us will want to balance our tech use with romance, relaxation, creativity, tradition, sensuality, rawness and honesty (‘human touch’). More and more of us will lose our Fomo (fear of missing out) and gain some Lomo (love of missing out). We’ll find time to switch off gadgets and seek out older, quieter, less urban environments in which to enjoy some ‘me time’. Or take some tech-free ‘we time’ with our closest friends and family. More employers will embrace relaxation, digital detoxing and mindfulness.
The year ahead will see the Slow Living movement go overground, as more young people embrace ‘old fashioned’, ‘inefficient’ ways to do things. Vinyl sales will continue their ascendancy in 2016. The new trend for VHS nights – showing Eighties films on old VHS recorders – will spread beyond the trendy east London pubs where they started in 2015.
Many gen X-ers will become village people – enjoying the traditionalist lifestyles and Olde England attitudes of village life – and good neighbours: feeling a call of duty and encouraging others rather than making fun of them.
Reacting against the logic and ‘perfection’ of technology, some Britons will start championing flaws, randomness and a sense of danger (‘only human’). As with the trends we’ve seen in 2015, each of the above will have implications for business – of which more in 2016’s upcoming columns…
William Higham is founder and chief executive of consumer trends consultancy Next Big Thing