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A Glimpse Into Potential Futures
Earlier this year, WGSN, a global authority on trend forecasting released a fascinating report on their top projected trends in consumer behaviour and product methodology for 2022. Casting its eye on more futuristic developments, WGSN shone a light on exciting concepts such as flying taxis and direct-to-avatar commerce. WGSN also backed some of the more current flavours including crypto rewards and baijiu – the world’s most consumed spirit – to retain their popularity and grow from strength to strength.
With a rigorous research methodology that allows them to analyse the present landscape, identify signals of change, and forecast the immediate and long-term future of industries, their reports are an invaluable resource to business owners looking to inform their strategy and the layperson burdened with an insatiable curiosity alike. WGSN’s Consultant Director of APAC, Helen Sac, spoke to Top 10 of Asia recently in an insightful interview touching on topics ranging from consumer demand to the values of the forthcoming generation.
1) Of the ten highlighted in WGSN’s report on the top trends for 2022 and beyond, which ones do you think will be most pertinent when it comes to Asia in particular?
Much of APAC leads the way when it comes to digital adoption and living online so it’s no surprise that the most relevant trends for Asia revolve around how we spend our time and the world(s) we immerse ourselves in.
We’re already seeing countless examples of brands and retailers leading and experimenting with meta marketing across Asia. Digital Influencers are becoming the norm alongside brands creating new digital playgrounds for consumers to experience and engage with brands and their products.
Anthropomorphic marketing is second nature to us in Asia, where we are fast to engage with our much-loved mascots. With the incoming mass adoption of this in the West, new developments in this arena will elevate character development and execution in new and exciting, yet to be seen ways. This in turn will open up more opportunities for the market to go deeper into this trend which is here to stay.
2) Can you give us a brief insight into WGSN’s research methodology and what sets it apart from other such predictive methods?
WGSN’s research methodology has grown so much over the 11+ years I’ve been in the industry. The acquisition of new technology and data trackers really sets us apart from our competitors. We’re also truly global, our reach spans 128 countries and with that the eyes and the expertise across the globe. We work with over 250 industry experts globally to map influencers, disruptors and changemakers to deliver clear and specific action points for brands and marketers.
Being physically tapped in and digitally plugged in, we can quite clearly identify the signals of change and evaluate, verify and forecast trends.
3) The pandemic has resulted in a shift in consumer behaviour, which in turn has affected marketing trends. How has this impacted existing marketing strategies and what kind of adjustments could we see being made in this regard?
Fuelled by the pandemic, consumer behaviour in Asia is focused on frictionless commerce and further pursuit of tech-enabled lifestyles. A sense of optimism is surfacing and people are aligning purchases with their values and seeking to deepen their connection with local culture. A recent survey by Charles Schwab reported that 24% of consumers are keen to splurge to “make up for lost time”.
It is now important for retailers to keep up with the always-on consumer who is looking for a hyper-relevant and seamless experience, by tapping into hyperlocal strategies to evolve physical retail to strengthen local ties, support creativity and build human connection.
4) How can marketers better position themselves to keep up with consumer demands that seem to be shifting more often now than ever before?
The marketing industry is rapidly changing amid new consumer priorities and immersive technologies. Immersive storytelling formats, relatable brands with personality and a new commitment to more sustainable media and purpose will define 2022.
With metaverse being the buzzword of the year, marketers have to go beyond simple entrance points to power communities and reward consumers. Marketers need to adapt to the fluid shopping journeys of consumers who expect seamless shopping experiences that adjust to the individual shopper journey, ensuring all customer touchpoints are connected whether in-store, in-app or online.
5) In which direction are consumers gravitating and what might the priorities of the forthcoming generation look like?
Sustainability concerns will begin to dominate marketing as brands and agencies address the climate crisis and consumers will start to demand transparency. Brands will prioritise sustainability across departments, including marketing and media, and marketing will be under the microscope as there will be little tolerance for any empty corporate promises.
Consumers are growing increasingly climate-conscious and they’re leaning on leaders and organisations to pave a clear path; 51% see governments, 43% see businesses and brands and 41% see the ad industry as most accountable for its decarbonisation. Moving forward to 2022 and beyond, brands and agencies must use climate terminology correctly, from carbon neutrality to net zero. There will also be wider industry efforts such as Ad Net Zero, which is a commitment to “reduce the carbon impact of developing, producing and running advertising to real net zero by end of 2030.
6) Which finding in the report are you most personally excited by?
The marketing paradox! This trend will really bring about unique and novel ways to experience products and brands, like a fresh dopamine hit. We are loving all of the stunning, inspiring new activations that are capturing the emotions and imaginations of the post-pandemic consumers.
Marketers are launching entertaining stunts that enable escapism and ignite emotional connection. We’re getting slightly addicted to these big hits and the less creative, poorly planned ones are falling by the wayside, setting the standards for a new generation of marketing fanfare.