"Post-Demographic does not sound new to Parisians": Exploring the new landscape and language of French consumerism

The latest posts in our tw:in Twins series – where two star spotters from TrendWatching’s Insight Network explore how one trend in particular is developing in their city or region – cover POST-DEMOGRAPHIC CONSUMERISM. As one of 16 mega-trends – big, slow moving ‘currents’ that remain broadly stable year-on-year, and can be applied across regions, industries and demographics – PDC highlights how consumption patterns are no longer defined by ‘traditional’ demographic segments (age, gender, income, family status etc.). People of all ages, and in many markets, are shaking off conventions, and constructing their own lifestyles and identities more freely than ever.

Here Paulina Mitelsztedt, a Parisian resident, explores how her city has evolved into a POST-DEMOGRAPHIC landscape.

The idea of going ‘post-demographic’ does not sound new to French people. Even less so to Parisians who, historically, used to enjoy a little revolution every now and then.

Yet recently, the change resembles a caffeine-free, all-natural urban blend – suitable for all ages and times of the day.

The ‘bobo’ lifestyle which includes both the perks of being a city dweller (a ‘BOurgeois’) and born to be free ‘BOhemian’ was initially identified in 2000… by a New Yorker. Since then, even if “Les Bobos” themselves often get the bad rep, it is hard to deny that the ‘bobo’ highly post-demographic lifestyle is becoming a very Parisian way to be, and that brands are picking on that trend.

‘Born to be free’ has been translated closely enough by a Parisian “perfumerie” chain Marionnaud as ‘Born to be me’. In their latest campaign Marionnaud repositioned itself to serve the unique beauty of every woman. Instead of achieving a cliché ‘cover girl’, look Marionnaud promises help in establishing an individual ‘Beauty Code’ followed by a personalised choice of cosmetics.


Even mass promotions no longer guillotine the prices in the same way for everyone, like it were 1789. Mikado, a confectionary brand that make chocolate sticks, first launched in France and recently prepared a promotion where the type of discount depended on (self-declared) personality type. For example, a person admitting they are lazy will get 15 euros off their next Uber drive.

However, “Where is my chauffeur?” is not a phrase a Parisian would now often say. It is bicycles that display best the individualism, love of nature and being “eco-responsable”, as well as active lifestyle. Coco Chanel didn’t see it coming, but bikes – especially the city rental bikes Vélib’s (“vélo”- bike, “lib(re)” – free) – are now the new black of the “classy green”. In Givenchy’s latest “Gentlemen Only” perfume ad, Simon Baker glides through the streets of Parison a bike. (Personally, I can only confirm noticing men and women trying to carelessly squash a jacket and a bag into Vélib’s front basket, presumably wondering whether Hermès bags fly easily on a curb ;).

As Vélib now have two children sizes (known as P’tit Vélib’  and Lil’ Vélib’), Parisian fashion is also becoming somehow more light-hearted. An institution in kids clothing, Petit Bateau, recently issued a campaign entitled “For Serious Kids”. Previously, the brand calculated adults age in hundreds of months in their campaign “Forever Never Old” (“Jamais Vieux pour Toujours”). Also emerging are smaller designer brands like Maïanka, who offer clothes for “kids” (yes, its now a French word) of all ages, blending art, design and playful patterns.


To further mix classiness and classical, playfulness and playing, Paris’s biggest modern art and community centre, Centre Pompidou, has recently organised Yog’art, – yoga for parents and kids class. It is run in partnership with Nature et Découvertes, a nature and outdoors chain store, and advertised as a quite literal warm up before setting off to admire some Chagalls and Philharmonie de Paris, who are organising a concert with music from Pixar films.

On the same note, Gaîté Lyrique concert hall and digital arts space brings the thrill of tech discovery to seniors organising “Game Older” workshops showing how to play games on PS3, XBox, PC and iPad.


Similarly, almost child-like amazement has both kids and kidults rush every year to a chosen Parisian park to watch the night skies and camp with Michel et Augustin, a Parisian cookie brand (yes “cookies” is also now a French word, s’il vous plaît).

So, as Marie-Antoinette would put it, if you want to lead a Parisian post-demographic lifestyle, you should have a cake. Or better, a macaron. It’s chic, tiny or big, full of flavour and in different varieties… and naturally gluten free!


tw:in is a global network of marketing and business-savvy spotters. Think you’ve got what it takes to become part of the trend revolution? Apply to join today.

How are brands in Sao Paolo are trying make it easier for regular consumers, despite the serious socio-political strain?

In difficult times, it isn’t just brands that are forced to innovate in order to survive. And, using our trend ENTREPRENEURIA – showing how businesses that dive into and fuel this endless rush toward entrepreneurialism will attract love and attention from all consumers, not just those they help – we can articulate a new wave of consumerism currently rushing through Brazil.

In this latest offering of our tw:in Twins blog series – where two members of our on-the-ground Insight Network from around the world discuss how a specific trend is manifesting itself in their city or region – we have Aline Martns, a self-confessed trend-enthusiast, exploring ENTREPRENEURIA and the innovation ecosystem around Sao Paolo.

São Paulo is the biggest city at South America, with almost 12 million people living here. There’s a mixture of different local culture and some foreign people, making it a wonderful place to observe how entrepreneurial spirit and the innovation wave are helping the local economy culture grow – letting it become a great tool for local changes. But how is ENTREPRENEURIA happening in São Paulo?

In the face of our strong political-economic crises – an unexpected situation that has increased many problems – perhaps the biggest issue is the huge number of rising unemployment.  To help us understand how Brazilian people are trying to solve this negative scenario, I’ve visited an entrepreneurship event here in São Paulo called “Festival Path”. It is designed o try to find some new keys and cool ideas, which could show us some insights and could help see good changes, providing new chances for people across the country


Based in São Paulo and running since 2012, Festival Path is an innovation and creativity festival created by “O Panda Criativo” – made for everyone that wants a new way to think and act. There was 150 speeches, 26 shows, a Film Festival, parties, special happy hours, networking and so many interesting people in just one place!

I had the opportunity to enjoy this cool festival, and it was an amazing weekend, with great opportunities to look forward, and to see what is happening with creative innovations and in the ENTREPRENUERIA scene as a whole. It allowed me to see how an entrepreneurial movement is making the issues easier for people in a middle of a bad economic time.

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 13.20.49

Below, I’ve spotted some cool examples of crowdfunding, local economy and a few innovations that show ways to build, create new ways of employment and new consumerism awareness.

Gabriela Agustini, owner of Olabi Makerspace, a lab space (for creation, innovation, using 3D impression, biohacking, products development, crafts, and creation of softwares or hardwares) based in Rio de Janeiro, showed us the rise of this kind of Hackers Labs or Lab Spaces around the world and here in Brazil.

Since last year, the city of São Paulo earned 12 “lab space” called “Fab Lab Livre SP” and most of them are located in suburban areas.

The mayor of São Paulo´s city, Fernando Haddad said in an interview for the mayor´s site:

“We are installing in São Paulo, the largest network of public production laboratories in the country. We want to change the minds of young people, so that they can innovate and realize the production otherwise. Here you can make a game up to the prototype of a chair or lamp.”

These fab labs could be amazing places to innovate, especially for the suburban areas – it’s a great way to change the story of people’s lives. It’s a chance for innovations finds their creator’s hands!


Otherwise, a new kind of entrepreneurialism is rising strongly, with great ideas regarding the local sharing-economy movement: collaborative spaces. Here in São Paulo, last year, we’ve gained a cool co-working space called House of All: not just co-working but ‘co-passioning’ spaces where we can share food (House of Foods), fashion (House of Bubbles), work spaces (House of Work) and learning (House of Learning).  It is proof that we’re changing our consumerism mindset to a sharing and sustainable economy.

There are also other collaborative projects, like Endossa’s Store – a collaborative store based here in São Paulo since 2008 that may be the pioneer of its kind. These projects are helping to spread the collaborative wave through other Brazilians cities. Now, Belo Horizonte is now able to surf the local sharing economy with Mooca.co and Beagá cool. Slowly, this movement is moving into more of Brazil´s cities and allowing us to change the way that we use, buy and consume.


As a spotter and consumer insight lover, I believe that these simple actions show how they could help to create new ways of consumerism and to free access up to new technologies. They open our view to new possibilities. As soon as possible, these simple examples could help to find a way to decrease our problems with the economic situation – who knows? 

tw:in is a global network of marketing and business-savvy spotters. Think you’ve got what it takes to become part of the trend revolution? Apply to join today.

An epic week for LIVE: from Bangkok to Prague

The last week in May was a truly epic one for TrendWatching LIVE with ten keynotes and workshops – sessions that take our content from the digital into the physical realms.

Our speakers were on the road and in the air, stepping onto stages at a range of events from conferences such as The Next Web to strategic leadership sessions for our clients, in Bangkok, Prague, London, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Northamptonshire.

Here’s a rundown:

Coventry Building Society | Northamptonshire
Henry Mason, Managing Director

As part of their Beyond 2020 Leadership Session, Henry led a Trend Workshop for the senior team at Coventry Building Society, the third largest in the UK and one of our Premium clients. Henry delivered a presentation to get everyone up-to-speed on the trends and innovations that matter for finance to 2020 (and beyond!). As well as this, he ran an interactive workshop session using the Consumer Trend Radar – one of our key Apply tools – which prioritises trends and maps them to key areas of business in order to actively solve business challenges, and create a bespoke roadmap. It took place at a spa hotel steeped in history – Fawsley Hall which dates from the 1400s. 

Questex Asia Hotel Management Thailand Summit | Bangkok
Acacia Leroy, Asia Pacific Trend Strategist

Over in APAC, Acacia was at a summit from media provider Questex for ~150 hoteliers managing properties in Thailand and around the region to discuss key operational, branding and financial issues. She gave the opening keynote on innovations and trends shaping consumer expectations in the hospitality industry.  


Tata Consultancy Services UK Innovation Forum London
David Mattin, Head of Trends & Insights

TCS is one of the world’s top four IT services company, and their annual UK Innovation Forum brings together business and technology decision makers. This year’s theme was Innovating for a Hyper-Connected World, and explored how this requires re-imagining leadership, culture and partnerships. David delivered a keynote on the consumer trends set to reshape this landscape, with a focus on the electronics, retail, e-commerce and banking sectors.

Clerkenwell Design Week | London
Henry Mason, Managing Director & David Mattin, Head of Trends & Insights

With our HQ based in the heart of Clerkenwell, we are no strangers to the excellent annual festival that is Clerkenwell Design Week. It’s a time of year where the area turns a vibrant magenta pink with all the signage, and hums to life with a distinctly village feel, as local studios and businesses throw open their doors and put on dos, from architects to expensive furniture purveyors, to crafters. We were delighted to be part of this year’s programme, hosting not one but two talks. The first was from Henry, at our HQ on the Top 5 Consumer Trends for 2016. The second was from David, at The Gallery on our methodology, as encapsulated in our new book Trend-Driven Innovation.


Event 360 | London
Cath Carver, LIVE Director

I took a turn on stage for The Future of Event Tech panel at Event 360 – a Haymarket events event from their Event Magazine and C&IT publications for industry pros, from organisers to experiential agencies to support/tech/venue service providers. Other sessions included brandSLAMS (case studies from the likes of Airbnb), huddles (breakouts including Save the Children’s Forced to Flee interactive 3D audio experience), an inspiration hub and speed-dating supplier meetings.

It was great to share our trends in this LIVE-tech regard. For instance, VIRTUAL ACTUALIZATION: our take on VR which sees it being increasingly used to provide powerful experiences for personal growth: helping make people smarter and learn valuable new skills, or become more ethical and increase empathy and commonality. A fascinating innovation example of this is Space VR, the world’s 1st VR satellite which has the goal of giving everyone the opportunity to experience the Overview Effect – looking back at Earth from space – which tends to prompt a renewed appreciation of the unity and fragility of our home planet.

Also interesting is the mapping of VR experiences to the physical world, such as The Void, a new ‘hyper-reality’ theme park. We discussed how events can stand out by using this new tech superpower to forge new frontiers in personal development.

Event 360

Penta Investments | Prague
Henry Mason, Managing Director

Henry delivered a keynote focusing on investment and finance consumer trends for senior investment professionals (partners, directors, managers) and portfolio CEOs for the Central European investment group’s annual gathering. We were touched to hear that three CEOs had requested that we come and speak to their teams :)

Geovation Hub London
Victoria Loomes, Senior Trend Analyst

As part of our ongoing collaboration with the Ordnance Survey’s new Geovation Hub, which supports businesses keen to access and experiment with geolocation data and technology, we host monthly Trend Café events exploring relevant trends for the community.

The Next WebAmsterdam
David Mattin, Head of Trends & Insights

Back for a second TNW – one of the biggest and best tech conferences – David kicked off day 1 for a packed audience with a keynote entitled Turn Overwhelm Into Opportunity. He sharing the powerful truth at the heart of TrendWatching’s methodology and our new book Trend-Driven Innovation: why watching innovations is the secret to actionable foresight on where your customers are heading next. The Next Web is a pretty monumental fixture on the tech scene calendar, combining a conference x festival x party vibe. It took place in Westergasfabriek – an old industrial gas works that was converted into an events space (a location we considered for our own Amsterdam Trend Event). David followed his keynote with a book signing. Check out the keynote vid!

Campus Party | Utrecht
Victoria Foster, Head of TW:IN (TrendWatching’s Insight Network)

Victoria delivered a keynote on trends impacting digital entertainment as part of a jam-packed 5 day, 24h hyper-fest of innovation, creativity, science and digital entertainment for the young and the bright technophiles: geeks, programmers, developers, designers, entrepreneurs, hackers and gamers. There was all sorts of tech to be experienced / experimented with / built / coded, including more VR headsets than you can shake a stick at, hackathons and drone racing! It was also a giant sleepover where 100s of students spent the festival camped out in one person tents, with Victoria receiving probably the most unusual speaker thank you gift yet… a tent :) 

TW in Utrecht!

With so much LIVE action inspiring clients and conferences, we’re also hugely excited about our own series of Trend Events coming up from late October to the end of November in Singapore, Sydney, Chicago, London and Amsterdam. Hope to see you there, for some extra special LIVE action and surprises ;)


TrendWatching’s content and tools give business professionals in 180+ countries the actionable foresight and inspiration to create successful trend-driven innovations.

In 2015, we gave 79 Trend Presentations, ran 32 Innovation Workshops, and led 5 Trend Safaris, visiting 32 countries on 6 continents! Our LIVE engagements deliver inspiring and powerfully engaging sessions to get people up-to-speed with the most crucial consumer trends for their audience, packed with global and cross-industry innovation examples to expand horizons and help people apply trends successfully. Find out more at trendwatching.com/live

From visa issues to visual aides: TW on the road to Tokyo!

Life at TrendWatching’s APAC office, as it seems to be every time we report back to the TW:Blog, has been crazy hectic over the last month!

P&G Workshop


Well, 17-18 May saw us in Tokyo for a 1.5-days workshop for P&G. Due to some visa complications, I could only fly out of Singapore on the (late!) evening of the 16th. I got out of Tokyo customs at 5:50am on Tuesday 17th, caught the 6:15am bus to the city, trudged my way through the pouring rain to our hotel for a quick shower, and then braved the Tokyo rush hour trains with Jo (TW:APAC’s Client Service Director) to get to our workshop venue by 9am. Just arriving on time felt like such an accomplishment!

An ideation session in progress!

The workshop was for the fabric care team (they take care of brands like Downy and Lenor). Our workshop participants flew from all corners of the globe – Kobe, Cincinnati, Geneva, Singapore – to attend the three-day session of insights, inspiration and ideas for the future of fabric care.  

They loved the Trend Presentation, and by the second day they were so full of ideas they were extremely eager to go on and create their ideas. The ideas were all super cool, and the whole workshop gave Jo and I a great deal to think about for our future workshops – we’re already brimming with innovative new things we can do to spice up our workshop offerings!

In Tokyo we also had time to meet Kei and Kuni, our local partners from Biotope  – they were really cool people, and we had a chance to talk trends as well as potential future partnerships. Amidst all the excitement, however, we forgot to take any photos! So you’ll have to take our word for it when we say it was an enjoyable meet-up for all involved :)

One thing they did inform us, though, was that LinkedIn isn’t that popular within Japanese business culture. We connected on Facebook instead – and thankfully our profile pictures on Facebook weren’t too incriminating ;)


Based in APAC and think your organization could benefit from a presentation, workshop or talk from one of our team? Head over to our LIVE page. 

Making space for NEW NORMAL in a crowded city

Sabrina Faramarzi is a London-based Futures Researcher and member of our on-the-ground Insight Network, tw:inFor our tw:in Twins blog series, which sees two spotters from around the world are paired together to discuss a specific trend within their city or region, she explores how spacial constraints are creating a change to the city’s ENTREPRENEURIA mindset, and the rise of NEW NORMAL is leading to innovative approaches combining living and working.

The lobby of the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch has become an emblem of the armies of freelancers in London. Open for free use for anyone with a MacBook and a frown (with intervals of furious typing of course), the rise of this way of working is beginning to become the norm for many people in London. And it’s not all laptops and long tables.

01_Ace Hotel Lobby

Hipster hotel lobbies and cafe culture may have facilitated these armies of freelancers and independent creatives in London, but it isn’t just limited to that. London is a crowded city, and with its population set to pass the 10million mark between 2017 and 2018, space is, and will remain, an increasingly important issue. Combine London’s spiralling home rental costs with a rise in self-employment and innovative solutions are needed to tackle the issue of space in both work spaces and living spaces.

British property developer The Collective has been working on finding a solution for this since 2010. These co-living and co-working spaces currently have 1500 rooms across London in Acton, Camden, Hyde Park, King’s Cross and Notting Hill, and are set to add another 3500 in the next 3 years in order to serve these flexible workers (see their grand plan below). The idea for The Collective was built around an inherent desire for quality accommodation that allowed young people to work, live and play and switch seamlessly through these modes. Its format minimises interruptions to working lives such as an all-in-one bill that includes rent, bills, water, electricity, council tax, superfast wi-fi and access to communal facilities such as the gym.


One of the attractions to the flexible working lifestyle is being location independent, and The Collective aren’t the only property developers understanding the importance of this. Elephant Park is a mixed-use development in South London and its latest phase, West Grove, is set to open in 2025 that integrates a co-working community hub, lounge areas, and even allotment gardens.

On the smaller scale (or for those just beginning to ease themselves into this lifestyle), there is now a members-only coffee shop, recently opened at co-working space Net.Works. Called SL28, it hails itself as London’s first ever coffee shop in a members-only format. With membership at just £10 a month, it includes exclusive access to its coffee lounge and hot-desking workspace and unlimited coffee at a flat rate of £5 a day, all with an aim to provide a relaxed atmosphere where people can work and network.

03_SL28 cafe

And if that is still too crowded, New-York based company Bar Works (who specialise in creating co-working spaces), are planning to reinvent London’s public red telephone boxes into micro-offices, calling the scheme Pod Works. Able to use for one hour at a time, these transient mini-workstations will include a 25-inch monitor, wi-fi, power outlets, a printer and scanner and complimentary tea and coffee, all at a membership rate of £19.99 a month.

04_red telephone boxes

Although I believe the manifestation of NEW NORMAL lies in a facilitation of spaces for these flexible workers on a physical level, it is about location independence. A sense of being nomadic in a large city where it can sometimes take you an hour to get from east to west, having workspaces as flexible as your schedule, clients and location is key.

But at the basic, fundamental human need, it is also about community. Flexible workers need to network with other people, especially in a city so diverse in its culture, skills and sectors. We need spaces where we can all learn tips and tricks from one another and progress the economic dynamism of London in the future. It’s about building communities that innovate – not just having a spot for your MacBook and your frown at the Ace Hotel.

tw:in is a global network of marketing and business-savvy spotters. Think you’ve got what it takes to become part of the trend revolution? Apply to join today.

5 things that'll help you supercharge your innovation strategy (from the people that know best!)

Get a sneak peek at how TW:Premium – our end-to-end innovation platform – helps over 1200+ of the world’s most future-focused organizations in over 60 countries supercharge their innovation efforts – featuring case studies from Rabobank, Mattel, Johnson & Johnson and more!

We’re well aware that the world of trends can be a minefield, and knowing which ones to work with, how best to adapt and apply them and mastering the art of moving from ideation to application is no easy feat. But as readers of our Free Publications and clients of TW:Premium tell us time and time again, with access to the right content and tools, zeroing in on the trends that will truly make an impact on your customers and your bottom line IS do-able. We all need a little help every now and again :)

On Wednesday, June 8th at 8 AM PDT // 11 AM EDT // 4 PM BST // 5 PM CEST I’ll be hosting a webinar to showcase some of the most powerful features of TW:Premium, our online intelligence platform. In anticipation of the big day, here’s a snapshot of how current TW:Premium clients are working with trends to launch winning, customer-facing innovations that truly resonate.

1.Win new business and bring in more leads using trend content

Aside from adding value to client relationships and internal brainstorming, TW:Premium client and full-service creative agency 88 Brand Partners in Chicago uses the tool as ”a key driver to our agency’s lead generation program, allowing us to communicate to 4,500 new business prospects each month in core growth areas.


“We identify a few relevant trends and build upon them by finding industry and region-specific examples. We then take a look at work for current clients, see if any of our work supports specific trends and package this information in a brief, digestible email, linking back to our blog.” Read more.

88 Brand Partners - Blog

2. Put your personal stamp on your own trend presentation in record time

TrendWatching acts as the secret weapon behind many an internal trend report, as is the case with Mandy van Tilborg, Innovation Manager at Rabobank in The Netherlands who says, “I find that the searchable Innovations Database has many innovation examples per trend that I can easily download to create my own PPT decks for presentations and workshops. I’ve also used the content to create our own internal trend report.”

Elena M. Garvey, a Strategy Director at American Express in New York also benefits from the time-saving elements of TW:Premium: “I love that you put the articles into PPT templates and that I can come away with a ready-to-go presentation. This makes my life so much easier.”

Rabobank _ Amex - presentation

3. Create new and unexpected products, campaigns, or experiences by broadening your daily perspective

Many of our clients are experts within their industry, and we wouldn’t have it any other way :) TW:Premium’s perspective-broadening reports and tools come to the rescue when clients are looking for opportunities to innovate in new spaces, whether that’s a new region, a new industry, or both.

Take it from Judy Blessing, a Market Research Manager from Visteon in Germany, explaining how TW:Premium “allows us to look beyond our industry and seek inspiration from other industries that we don’t normally come across in our everyday working lives. Trends are usually interlinked as they focus on core elements of consumer behavior. In a busy role like mine, having an information source I can call on, with everything already put together, saves time and provides inspiration that we can use immediately!” Read more.


4. Kickstart your internal brainstorms with our guided tools in the Apply Toolkit

One thing we can all agree on, however, is that simply telling you about trends is useless unless you apply them back to your business. This is why TW:Premium doesn’t simply provide reports – instead, you can access a full suite of collaborative brainstorming tools to bring into your next pitch, innovation day, or to email colleagues with a helpful PPT template.

Rosana Neves, R&D Manager from Johnson & Johnson in Brazil uses the Apply Toolkit “to inspire people” by scheduling “monthly brainstorming sessions to come up with new products.” Jo Willemyns, a Corporate Brand Manager, at Colruyt in Belgium uses TW:Premium in workshops and shares that “the information flow is of really high quality and the toolkits make it easy for us to apply the inspiration and share it within our organization. Well done!”


5. Prove to your clients and colleagues that getting a grasp on the world of trends can be EASY with TW:Premium

If we can help you realize just how straight-forward trend-lead thinking and concepting actually can be, we consider it a job well done.

Not yet convinced? Take it from Lucélia Oshiro Hashimoto from Natura in Brazil who finds the tool “interesting, concise and easy-to–use”, or Richard El Hachem, Head of Knowledge & Intelligence at Memac Ogilvy sharing how easy it is to “find simple ideas that are real game changers.”

Our client Johanna Stein, Snr Manager of Consumer Insights at Mattel cements this, saying that “the site and services are put together in an interesting, inspiring and easy-to-access format. I love the tone of voice, the clear overview and the vast amount of trends and cases available. Definitely the best trend resource out there currently.”


Want to learn more and get a deeper look at how TW:Premium can help YOU solve your biggest business challenges and supercharge your innovation efforts? Join our webinar on Wednesday, June 8th at 8 AM PDT // 11 AM EDT // 4 PM BST // 5 PM CEST – sign up here!

See TW:Premium in action!

If you have any pressing questions on TW:Premium, you can reach me directly here


TW:Premium is the world’s #1 trend intelligence platform used by 1200+ organizations in 60+ countries. Current clients include: Coca Cola, Deloitte, Disney, Google, Microsoft, TBWA, Telefonica, Mindshare, Mediacom and many others.


It’s a wrap! Mimosas, trend-bites and the full low-down on our two Clerkenwell Design Week events.

Phew! Last week was a whirlwind of street feasts, showroom showcases, morning mimosas and much more as we joined in with the Clerkenwell Design Week celebrations to applaud creativity and innovation.

In addition to making the most of the interactive street installations, mingling with neighbours over a few free drinks and peeking around impressive showrooms, agencies and architecture studios, we opened our own doors to host a trend talk of our own and partnered with our lovely neighbours over at The Gallery to spread some trend-driven innovation. We were blown – and very excited – to have 200+ of you attending our talks.  

Didn’t make it (or want a refresher)? Here’s what went down:

First up was our exclusive 5 Trends for 2016 LIVE Download with our Managing Director, Henry Mason hosted at our very own TW HQ in Clerkenwell. Henry provided some serious food for thought as he went headfirst into 5 most critical & game-changing trends defining consumerism in 2016 (and beyond!), and showcased the innovations that are already disrupting (and reshaping) customer expectations worldwide.

5 Consumer Trends for 2016 @ Clerkenwell Design Week 2016! - 3 5 Consumer Trends for 2016 @ Clerkenwell Design Week 2016! - 2 5 Consumer Trends for 2016 @ Clerkenwell Design Week 2016!

While the whole of Clerkenwell emptied out to sample the pop-up food stalls that lined the streets, we relocated to our neighbours at The Gallery for the second of our events: Trend-Driven Innovation: Turn the Overwhelm into Opportunity with our Global Head of Trends & Insights, David Mattin.

David shared the secrets behind the revolutionary Trend-Driven Innovation concept in an action-packed 20 minute talk, completed in time for an animated Q&A with our ever-inquisitive audience. Despite the temptations on offer outside, we were again greeted with another full room – the perfect way to round off a high-energy festival debut for the TW team!

Trend-Driven Innovation @ The Gallery, Clerkenwell Design Week Trend-Driven Innovation @ The Gallery, Clerkenwell Design Week - 2

And of course… we wrapped up the day’s events with some well-deserved drinks on the streets of Clerkenwell. Cheers from team TW!

See you next year!

See you next year!


Love seeing our trends live? Want to dive deeper? There’s a lot more where that came from! Our Trends Live 2016 event series is coming to London, as well as stopping off in Singapore, Sydney, Chicago and Amsterdam too. You can find out more here.


Finding the sweet spot: Innovating in the intersection between humans and technology

As part of Featured Innovators – a series of interviews with some of the most exciting minds from the global trend community – we caught up with Donald Coolidge, the CEO of Elemental Path. The company are behind CogniToys, the internet-connected smart toys which interactively engage and grow with children.

The innovation featured in our 5 Trends for 2016 Global Trend Briefing as part of our BENEFICIAL INTELLIGENCE trend – detailing how rising numbers of consumers expect brands to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to develop truly smart products and services.

Donald Coolidge, Elemental Path's CEO

What are some personal tips you can share with us when it comes to spotting trends?

The key to spotting trends is listening, then sifting through what you hear and figuring out what patterns emerge. For us, capitalizing on the tech toy trend happened naturally. We constantly heard about or met parents who were concerned their kids were spending too much time staring at screens, but were worried about the ramifications of sheltering them from technology all together. They wanted something that struck a middle ground… and that’s how CogniToys came to be!

Where do you usually look for trends?  

The intersection between consumers and technology. I am always looking at the different ways people are using new technology and listening to the things they say they wish their technology could do (but can’t).

What are the globally-impacting trends you’ve found impossible to ignore over the last year or so?

Products or technology that would’ve been a moonshot a decade ago are now not only feasible, but close to market-ready or in market. And speaking of moonshots, there is an unprecedented global commitment to innovation and change. People want to know what they can do to drive technology forward… it’s why Kickstarter has been such a huge part of our story. We had thousands of people from over 50 countries worldwide rally together to support our Dino… in years past, this type of collaboration wouldn’t have been possible.

CogniToys in action

We’ve seen what you’re doing in this area today, how do you plan to adapt your strategy for the the medium to long run?

The concept behind CogniToys stems from a simple truth: kids learn new things every day and as technology advances, parents expect toys that can do the same. CogniToys meet that growing expectation by providing weekly content updates based on anonymized usage metrics as well as feedback we receive directly from our customers. This practice ensures our product stays relevant to those that matter most: kids.

We’ve had parents tell us that Dinos telling bedtime stories help their kids sleep, meditations keep their kids feeling relaxed, and so many more amazing stories.

You’re featured in our briefing covering BENEFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. Why do you feel that this shift is occurring (and that professionals should have it on their radar) today?

People want what they create to be useful and helpful now that technology. Specifically, I think that if you are building something, it should incorporate some sort of social good. A lot of my professional career has involved service including the Marine Corps, non-profits and now building a technology that has the ability to revolutionize the way kids learn and play worldwide.

What was your favorite recent innovation and why?

CogniToys, but I may be a bit biased . I love the Amazon Echo (and have my very own). It’s a great product that combines personality and usefulness… two things I look for in any sort of “personal assistant” technology.

Our free Trend Briefings are published monthly, featuring the latest innovation opportunities and most exciting new trends set to shape the next 12 months (and beyond!). To get them sent straight to your inbox as they are released, you can subscribe here

Our Consumer Trend Canvas in action: Burson-Marsteller ideate 6 African Youth Trends for 2016

In the summer of 2015, we began conversations with Burson-Marsteller regarding their Africa-specific project, known as ‘the A-Generation Study’. The purpose of this project was to unravel 6 emerging trends related to the African youth today.

Being clients of our Premium Service, Burson-Marsteller’s head of their Future Perspective Trend Analysis Group – Elaine Cameron– has long forged a collaborative relationship with analysts at TrendWatching, applying our insights, tools and frameworks to inform a variety of trend-related projects, such as the Indian Youth Study in 2015.

After being presented with the challenge, together we began brainstorming and unpacking potential region-specific trends using the Consumer Trends Canvas. This guidance provided a methodology for Burson-Marsteller teams across the continent to conceive new trends affecting their markets.

From these sessions, the 6 key trends for 2016 – reflecting the new attitudes and changing priorities of African youth – can be seen below:

1. AFRINEWAL: Youthful desire to throw off the past and proudly celebrate African achievement

There is a spirit of renewal in Africa where the possibilities and potential of this new ‘frontier’ outweigh the realities of hardship and struggle.  The younger generations are proudly African, showcasing the best their continent has to offer. They are self-motivated, self-reliant and bold in wanting to make this happen. And they see it as a collaborative effort where people work together and combine efforts to achieve new recognition for Africa, both at home and on the world stage.

2. A-TEAMERS: Rising young stars strive to get ahead, but without leaving others behind

In a world of ‘more’ in Africa (more consumerism; more education; more access and connection through technology; more voices able to be heard), there is a hunger to have and own more. But alongside this aspiration for wealth creation, and the dream of improved well-being and quality of life, there are also social concerns and deep-rooted human connections – above all, a feeling that if you are a high-achieving A-Teamer you should also be raising the rest of your team up behind you.

3. TALENT TAPPERS: Aspirational youth thrive by tapping into a new entrepreneurial ecosystem

Against a canvas of aspirations, an ‘I want’ attitude, a need to prosper and a need for independence, young Africans are relying less on conventional employment opportunities and adopting a more entrepreneurial mind-set to secure their own futures. They are turning away from traditional support systems (families and governments) to rely more on their own abilities. By tapping into the talent and expertise of others in inspiring innovation, providing funding and mentorship they are projecting their own stamp on how they want to succeed.

4. DATASIZEME: Expectation that personal data will be used to enhance brand interactions

A spin-off of greater consumerism across Africa is the growing spirit of ownership that the younger generations are adopting as participants in improving their brand experiences.  ‘I matter’ is the message youth are communicating to brands. In the newly-connected Africa, sharing real time information, opinions and insights has become easy for them. This has fuelled expectations that they will be listened to as individuals and that targeted, tailored offerings will personalise and enhance their brand experiences.

5. PARTICIPLAYERS: Enthusiastic participants in fun, interactive and rewarding activities

Young Africans see themselves not as passive bystanders, but as engaged players in a process, looking for highly interactive brand experiences. In common with youth worldwide, they have limited attention spans and look to engage emotionally in unique and unusual ways. They are looking to build relationships with brands that surprise and delight them, but also create talk-ability, giving them a shared platform to get together and have fun. And they want to be thanked for their participation – placing high value on recognition and reward.

6. MOVEMENT MAKERS: Young Africans demonstrate an emerging spirit of activism

During difficult social and economic times, new questions are being asked about what it means to be African and what is relevant to African youth. The status quo is being challenged with heightened social and economic debate. Even if not overtly activist, young consumers are certainly more actively interrogating and debating a wide variety of issues. They are demanding authenticity, transparency and accountability from their chosen brands and role models.

6 African Youth Trends, using the Consumer Trend Canvas

The A-Generation Study is an interpretation of the young minds that participated in Burson-Marsteller Africa’s workshops in South Africa, Angola, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Morocco and Mauritius and does not hint at any company/individual personally.

Turning the tables on big consumerism: How to provide justice as a service

In an extended edition of our Featured Innovators series, we caught up with Marc Atiyeh, Head of Growth at Paribus – an automated plugin which connects to users’ email, scans their online purchase receipts and files price adjustment claims on their behalf. 

The innovation featured in our 5 Trends for 2016 Global Briefing as part of our BENEFICIAL INTELLIGENCE trend – detailing how rising numbers of consumers expect brands to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to develop truly smart products and services.

Marc Atiyeh, Paribus

What was the inspiration behind Paribus?

We started by making a simple observation: stores are collecting more and more data with each passing day to drive up what consumers pay. Online retailers algorithmically alter the information we see, influence our perceptions, and push us to pay more for less. We wanted to turn the tables and empower consumers with advanced algorithms too. And we wanted to make the shopping experience hassle-free by eliminating the need to price compare.

There are more than 100 million price changes every day across different retailers, and $15 billion per year in unclaimed price match refunds in the US alone, so our goal was really to help consumers redress that. Indeed, now we like to think of ourselves as offering “justice as a service”.

What were the challenges you faced establishing the innovation within the market? Was it difficult to draw consumers’ attention to the issue? And what kind of results have you seen over the past year or so?

Our first mission was to educate people about those best price policies that most retailers have in place. Most of our early users had actually no idea that those policies even existed and that they are entitled to the difference back should the price of a product they previously purchases drop.

The second challenge was around privacy/security. We had some concerns around users granting access to their inboxes.

One of our key goals is to make a service that’s so easy to use that you never have to think about it (it will work in the background to save you money on all your purchases).

We find that the inbox is best.

Regarding security, to prevent unauthorized access, Paribus employs multi-level security mechanisms including dedicated firewalls, VPN services, intrusion prevention systems and stringent access controls on all information. Data is always transmitted securely via 256 bit SSL (bank-grade encryption). And sensitive information (passwords) are stored using AES-256 encryption — the world’s leading security standard. Paribus does not live in your inbox — mail always remains under the supervision of your inbox provider (Google, Microsoft), and only messages that appear to be transactional related are ever pulled by Paribus. We also regularly work with outside security professionals to ensure highest standards.

When we started, we really didn’t know how this was going to pan out with the stores and how they’d perceive us. But it turns out that if you treat the consumer well, it appears that they come back and shop more and spend more.

Here’s what Nordstrom had to say about treating well consumers:

“Nordstrom (JWN) even sees price-matching as a necessity and not simply a strategic priority, the company’s co-president and director Erik Nordstrom said on that company’s earnings call.

“We do not look to price matching or price promotion in any way as being a big strategic lever and a way of driving our top line. We look at price matching as a customer respect and a customer trust issue: that when a customer comes to us, they know that they’re being treated fairly,” he said. “And we think the clearest way of doing that and what customers expect is not to pay more for a specific item when they’re shopping with us.””

Paribus: A TrendWatching Featured Innovator

So, a couple of observations we saw:

If you, the consumer, get a price protection claim on something that you’ve bought, you are much less likely to return it. And we know that it’s a huge hassle for companies – Nordstrom, for example, had a 30% return rate in 2014. If you tell them that Paribus can reduce your return rate from 30% to 10%, they’ll say “we’ll take that!”. Right now, if you look at the 44 Paribus users that bought one of their products, the return rate is below 3%. We can absolutely make a point that price protection reduces returns.

Something else that we realised is that for a person, or for a cohort of users, that saved or got a price protection plan from a specific store, there was a 200% increase in spending with that particular retailer. So the consumers are much more likely to go back there because they know they are going to be treated well, they felt that they didn’t overspend, they felt that the store wasn’t there just to rip them off – it makes them feel comfortable that the stores themselves are upholding their end of the bargain; they price their goods fairly and, as a buyer you are naturally appreciative of companies that honor these things.

In terms of concrete savings, we’ve saved consumers over $1m over the last 12 months.

We saw that, as well as the 200% increase in spending, for a store that honoured their price protection through Paribus we saw the same increase in NPS (Net Promoter Score – essentially how likely the buyer is to refer or recommend the specific store based on the service they offer) and a 300% increase in the frequency within which they were shopping. We carried out this research using an extremely random sample of our users – so we’re confident that those results are reflective of where we are at the moment.


What’s next for Paribus? Where do you see yourselves heading?

Ultimately, what we’re trying to do is become the consumer’s ‘agent’ in a way – we’re here to ensure that they take advantage of all of those policies that are put in place by retailers and others. We’re one of the very few companies that actually use your data to save you money (as opposed to selling your data). Even if the business or the retailer is making it hard for consumers, we want to be the ones helping out the Average Joe who doesn’t have the time to look into all of this.

What about trends in a broader sense? Are there any that you’ve spotted recently that have resonated with you?

One thing that I’ve noticed is the fact that stores are becoming smarter and smarter, in terms of how they’re setting those prices. In this context, I’m thankful for what Paribus is doing – at the pace we are going, we can make a real impact for consumers. It’s important that technology is being built that works for the buyer and it’s up to companies like us to make sure that this trend of smart people and smart robots are not just spending their time helping to maximise the profits for big retailers like Amazon and Bloomingdales – that’s what we’re trying to do.

However, it’s important to remember that we’re absolutely not going against those stores. As I’ve mentioned, our research shows that we should be allied with them instead of them looking at us like an organization that is attacking their margins. If anything, we’re increasing their top-of-the-funnel revenue.

Finally, before you go: have you got a favourite new business or idea? It could be anything – start-up, app, service…

There are so many people doing cool stuff! One start-up that are doing something that’s very disruptive to their industry is Nootrobox. If you aren’t familiar with nootropics, it’s essentially ‘smart drugs’ that would serve as an alternative to chemically-heavy prescription drugs currently available in the market.


This company is based in San Francisco and is backed by some of Silicon Valley’s smartest investors; they have three or four major products, all of them super-organic, and they’ve gained a lot of press attention in the US recently – from Bloomberg to Showtime TV for their work. They’re going after these huge pharmaceutical companies that get people hooked on amphetamines and offering an alternative to that – even down to natural replacements for caffeine. Certainly one to keep an eye on.

Marc Atiyeh is Director of Growth at Paribus, focusing on the company’s growth efforts from operations, partnerships, and marketing. 

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