Trends: In these uncertain times why your customer wants to feel protected

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Illustration of new game trends for William Higham's column

The consumer’s need for security and harmony in uncertain times creates new growth opportunities and trends for businesses, writes Will Higham

Some fashion trends are down to the whim of a designer; others are grounded in the reality of shifting consumer attitudes. Two of the strongest trends this season are both consumer led: camouflage and khaki. Common during periods of uncertainty, demand for military stylings typically reflects a subconscious desire among clothes shoppers for security. And that is clearly the case here – protection looks set to be a key trend for 2017.

With the UK’s economic, social and political future so unsure, most consumers will have entered the new year feeling uncertain or anxious, and will welcome anything that makes them feel better. Writing this column with snow falling outside, it’s hard not to see an analogy with Game Of Thrones. Many Britons are worried that, economically, “winter is coming”. And, like GoT’s characters, they will seek ways to protect their family, friends and themselves.

Consequently, we’ll see higher demand for services that offer a sense of security, and campaigns that show a brand helping customers protect loved ones. 

There are opportunities aplenty. The beauty sector, for instance, was quick to adjust and is now focusing on skin products that offer protection from the outside world – in particular pollution
and the high-energy visible light of personal technology.

Scandinavian games developer Toca Boca, which built its reputation around security, is creating an ad-safe children’s entertainment site and free mobile phone games. It was recently bought by toy giant Spinster and is about to launch an ad-free children’s television channel.

Ben & Jerry’s too have used the trend to their advantage. Like Britain, Brazil is divided politically, having last year impeached its president. In a bid to restore harmony, the ice cream makers’
Sao Paolo branches created a ‘safe space’ for debate in stores, where those with opposing views could resolve differences over a few scoops of salted caramel.

Britain’s uncertain economy may be a worry for business, but its impact provides a real opportunity for companies to guard their profit share by protecting customers.

Will Higham is a popular speaker and founder of strategic consultancy Next Big Thing

@nextbigthingco

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About author

William Higham

William Higham

William Higham is the founder and CEO of consumer trends consultancy Next Big Thing.

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