Forecasters have crunched their numbers, scrutinized their focus groups and peered into their crystal balls. The results are lists of trends and megatrends that will shape events in the year to come. Among them are marketing and business trends pertaining to evolving consumer preferences, buying habits and sentiments.
While many of these focus on retail shopping, several should be of interest to interior designers.
Human After All
It’s easy to get caught up in all the media attention on technology. Every day brings some new innovation, social media fad or billion-dollar startup. Technology is all pervasive, touching every aspect of our lives, ensnaring us in the ever-expanding Internet of Things.
Nonetheless, as the market researchers at TrendWatching remind us, technology is only a means to an end. Consumers are overwhelmed with all the new apps and gadgets being thrown at them — many of which are only marginally different from those they already own or are simply time-wasters.
In 2016, experts say, consumers will be applying a litmus test of “beneficial intelligence” — that is, how this technology will help them meet their basic human needs and wants and improve their lives. These questions are also fundamental to interior design, and designers can tap into this trend by demonstrating to clients how their services address their needs and will improve their quality of life.
Ownership and amassing consumer goods no longer interest many of today’s consumers, especially those in their 30s or younger and aging boomers. Instead, consumers are focused on optimizing, conserving and preserving.
Trend watchers at Ford Motor Company point to several areas where consumers are changing their attitudes toward consumption: “Today, better living is not about having more things — it’s about living smarter by pushing to get greater use out of fewer things.”
In addition, their research shows consumers are placing a priority on products and services that can save them time and money, make their life easier, safeguard the planet, and give them “the time and space to breathe, reflect and regroup.” Designers can appeal to consumers’ desire to simplify their lives by demonstrating to clients how they can help them optimize their living space to make it more efficient, functional, sustainable and supportive.
“Your competitors are not who you think they are,” caution the analysts at Global Trends. “Competition is increasingly taking place across industries, not within them. Often, this means opening up firm boundaries to embrace partners … as well as radically reinventing business models.”
Similarly, TrendWatching states businesses need to “shock” consumers into a “radically new appreciation of the value you’re offering” to differentiate themselves from other providers: “Consumers will be more open than ever to innovations that play with — and attempt to disrupt —their thinking around value.”
Among its “10 business trends that will drive success in 2016,” Forbes includes the need to reposition one’s value proposition: “Simply being able to deliver a product or service will continue to put you in the commodity game. Top companies will differentiate based on expertise and skills.”
The recent proliferation of online interior design services reveals the extent to which consumers view them as a commodity to be sought at the lowest price. Designers need to develop radically new ways of presenting their services to foreground their expertise and re-establish their value in the marketplace. Surprise clients with a different approach to how they see and think about what design can do for them.
By most industry projections, demand for design and remodeling services should continue in 2016. Designers who adjust their value propositions and marketing strategies to appeal to changing consumer attitudes and lifestyle pressures will have a better chance of attracting clients and edging out competitors.
About the Author
Michael J. Berens is a freelance researcher and writer with more than 30 years of experience in association communication and management. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was provide by Multibriefs.