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Welcome to the August 2004 issue, containing our new CURATED CONSUMPTION and 5 STAR LIVING trends, and a pretty insightful (if not unsettling) update on our MASS CLASS trend. Can you afford NOT to know about these massive shifts in consumer behavior and preferences?!

* Get Ready for 2005!!

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Our next edition is due 31 August 2004. Hopefully, we'll soon meet up in person, too!

On the one hand, spoilt-for-choice, switched-on, wired-to-the-teeth consumers are more demanding, knowledgeable and in control than ever, wallowing in conspicuous consumption and unrivalled choice, and making or breaking new products and services the moment they hit the shelves.

On the other hand, that same avalanche of choice, the abundance of high quality MASS CLASS goods, the mind boggling number of variations, brands, flavors, and God knows what, is driving those very same, often time-starved consumers into the arms of a new breed of 'curators' and editors, who pre-select for them what to buy, what to experience, what to what to wear, what to read, what to drink and so on. (Curator n. He or she who manages or oversees a museum collection or a library.)

So make way for the emerging trend of CURATED CONSUMPTION: millions of consumers following and obeying the new curators of style, of taste, of eruditeness, in an ever growing number of B2C industries (Martha and home decorating was really just the beginning ;-). And it's not just one way: in this uber-connected world, the new curators enjoy unprecedented access to broadcasting and publishing channels to reach their audience, from their own blogs to niche TV channels.

CURATED CONSUMPTION is behind magazines morphing into catalogues, which then morph into eclectic stores, it's behind DJs, restaurant critics, opinionated bloggers, and rap stars giving consumers access to their playlists, their cribs, their top 10 lists. And let's not forget celeb designers cooperating with retail chains, hand-picking NO FRILLS CHIC collections; Amazon reviewers; gay lifestyle gurus; and self-help TV personalities. The new Gods of CURATED CONSUMPTION are amongst us! ;-)

It also explains why shops increasingly look like museums, art galleries, and antique stores: consumers these days may end up in someone's loft, apartment or office when looking for something with a seal of approval, but also something with soul, with character, with stories attached to an edited-down, manageable number of choices. Which is of course why CURATED CONSUMPTION fits so well with other current key business and marketing concepts like 'story telling', 'character', 'authenticity' and 'discovery'.

Some wise words from Ron Pompei, founder of PompeiAD, who inspired TRENDWATCHING.COM to start tracking this trend: "We're reaching out to the members of the creative class, the fastest-growing segment of our society. They value authenticity and self-expression. They invest in things that speak to them emotionally, that have a story behind them. At the same time, though, they still want a brand to edit and curate the world for them, as long as they believe they have the freedom to choose." (Source: Interior Design.)

All in all, consumers are looking for the new masters of consumption and lifestyle, and they're finding them in more (unexpected) places than ever before.

Microzine. As you may recall, our other newsletter -- Springwise New Business Ideas -- reported on Microzine back in November 2003, when the "monthly men's style magazine meets an in-store shopping experience" had yet to open its Islington, London doors. Half a year later, Microzine is in business, fast becoming a poster child for CURATED CONSUMPTION. The store's philosophy is summed up by its owner, Christoper Lee: "Everyone's got the same product, and consumers are fed up. They want something exciting and they want it edited down." Which means objects for sale in this living room style store now come with a story attached, explaining why it deserves to be bought. Next time you're in London, make this store a starting point for your CURATED CONSUMPTION research!

For more CURATED CONSUMPTION retail examples, TRENDWATCHING.COM recommends Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, French lifestyle phenomenon Colette, and Italian Corso Como (a Milan based 13,000-square-foot complex, which includes the Galleria Carla Sozzani (a photography and design gallery), a bookstore (design books from all over the world), a boutique for men's and women's clothing and accessories, hard-to-find imports, and must-have luxury goods).

Magazines have of course always been curators and editors of news and topics considered worth knowing about, but even here things are changing rapidly. So-called magalogues (combinations of shopping catalogues and magazines) like Lucky (for women), Cargo (for men) or Daily Candy (for urbanites) only focus on what to buy, what to purchase, what to experience. Oh, and keep an eye out for Condé Nast, who plan to publish a new magalogue called Shelter, dedicated to the Home Haven phenomenon, due to be out in the spring of 2005.

And what about CURATED CONSUMPTION and the Experience Economy? With so many experiences to be had these days, who's going to authoratively curate them? Expect more books and websites like Patricia Schultz's 1,000 Places To See Before You Die, a New York Times bestseller. And count on Oprah and other life coaches to become ever greater curators of experience must-haves.

The list of new curators and editors goes on and on: bloggers slash cool hunters like Josh Rubin, who gets up to 100,000 visitors a month checking out his carefully curated collection of cool; the Queer Eye team, who, on a global scale, now dictate the 'style' in lifestyle, the rap stars initiating entire new interior design trends by showing off their tasteful selection of furniture, cars and electronics on MTV Cribs (in fact, the 'Bling Bling' factor is becoming such a massive CURATED CONSUMPTION force that it warrants its own trend description; we dubbed it BLING POWER, and it will be featured in the September or October newsletter!).

No, the idea of curators dictating consumers' moves and grooves isn't spanking new. However, the rapidly increasing range and depth of curators across many industries IS. And with mega trends like ONLINE OXYGEN, GENERATION C, and MASS CLASS all nearing tipping point, CURATED CONSUMPTION is firmly positioned to move from niche to mass appeal, with needy audiences, networks and armies of experts now available on a grand scale.

Which means you, as an exec, a marketer, a business professional, need to figure out who out there, amidst the ever growing SEA OF SAMENESS, is telling your (potential) customers what to buy, what to experience, what to drink. Or, if you're an intermediary, how YOU can become the leading curator or editor in your sector, paying much more attention to selection, to story telling, to hiring experts who pre-select your offerings based on taste and experience.

Mind you: CURATED CONSUMPTION is NOT the same as straightforward ('paid for') product endorsement or the use of amateur influentials: there's more than a strong whiff of independence and expertise to CURATED CONSUMPTION, making this a more serious, and potentially much bigger ballgame. There's also a strong link with one of our other trends, TWINSUMER. So start researching, brain storming, and forging partnerships with Master Curators, even if it's on a micro level. Forget listening, it's time you tell your customers what to do! >> Email this trend to a friend.


Boys who like to shop


Mega trends spawn niche trends. Consider our 'big' MASSCLUSIVITY trend: in the endless quest for bringing exclusivity to attention-starved masses, new spin-off trends will continue to pop up in this space.

Case in point: our new 5 STAR LIVING trend, which is all about the phenomenon of five star hotels joining forces with real estate developers, from London to Las Vegas. The hotels offer services that were previously for guests only to owners of luxury residential properties located next to or even on top of sumptuous hotels. Think exclusive access to the spa, bellboys walking the dog, guaranteed reservations in Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurants, or 24/7 room service instead of Domino's. Great for busy double income couples or wealthy followers of Carpe Diem. Which means 5 STAR LIVING is not a desperate attempt, like gated communities, to just detach oneself from 'normal' life: we're talking status and of the luxury kind here! As always, TRENDWATCHING.COM has rounded up some of the most current examples from around the world:

The Residences (apparently the name of choice for 5 STAR LIVING concepts!) is a condominium hotel enclave built on the MGM GRAND grounds in Las Vegas. Suites come with the pleasures of being an owner and a pampered hotel guest: from spa facilities to restaurants, and from the enormous casino to the Studio 54 night club. Real estate developer Turnberry Associates is behind this latest example of 5 star hotel living; other projects include their Vegas Turnberry Place (a fourth residential tower is going up soon, with serviced apartments priced from USD 450,000 to 5.9 million), and Miami's Fontainebleau II and the Turnberry Ocean Colony.

The new W Scottsdale Hotel and Residences (Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide) in Arizona will include 25 to 30 luxury condominiums. Scheduled to open in 2007, the W Residences will offer owners a combination of one and two bedroom condominiums with the benefits of being attached to a W Hotel including all the amenities enjoyed by hotel guests. Highlights include in-home catering, botanical service, limo service and special W Resident Rates and VIP service in all W hotels worldwide. W Hotels is also developing Residences at the W Fort Lauderdale (2007) and W Dallas (2006).

Life is a beach in Miami, from Canyon Ranch Living, a residential community located on over 750 feet of oceanfront in Miami Beach (five-star residential services include an acclaimed oceanfront restaurant and a full-service, 60,000 square foot spa and fitness Center) to the impressive Tower Residences, situated above the new Four Seasons Hotel Miami. Last but not least, Mr. 'You're Fired' Trump is behind the Trump Grande Ocean Resort and Residences, located at the midpoint of the Miami Beach - Ft. Lauderdale corridor.

In New York, the spanking new, USD 1 billion Timer Warner Tower complex offers an urban version of 5 STAR LIVING in cooperation with the Mandarin Oriental. Views of Central Park included. The Ritz-Carlton (Battery Park) can claim to be one of the first to do this in New York, though: 'The Residences' offers spacious condominiums that come with a a dedicated concierge, gourmet dining, butler service, and (in their own words) 'the prestige of living at the Ritz-Carlton.'

In London, Hyatt Hotels is cooperating with the new and exclusive The Knightsbrigde development. 205 future owners can count on Hyatt personnel to walk their dogs and more. Life can be sweet! UK-based Marriott fans head for 47 Park Street, the first European property operating under Marriott's Grand Residence Club brand ("all the advantages of a second home with the amenities and personal service of a luxury resort").

  Germany will soon see its first 5 STAR LIVING when aforementioned Ritz-Carlton 'The Residences' comes to Berlin, as part of the Beisheim Center. Owners will enjoy privileges like dinners at home (event and party service; the sous-chef of the Ritz-Carlton will cook in your own apartment), 24-hour room service, nanny, babysitting, room cleaning, shoeshine service, laundry service, dry cleaning, fitness center, indoor pool, golf course recommendations, saunas, massages, physiotherapy, and more.

Hotels and apartment buildings around the world, unite! What better way to literally upgrade daily life than by injecting 5 star service into mundane activities and chores?

Yes, TRENDWATCHING.COM understands that not all future residences will have access to their own 60,000 square foot health spas, but the 5 STAR LIVING trend will undoubtedly trickle down to the MASS CLASS in a less excessive version. In fact, there are millions of 'normal' consumers out there, struggling with busy jobs, families and life in general, who are dying to get their hands on even 3 STAR LIVING! So: who'll become the trendsetter in providing 3 star services on a neighborhood or even street/block level?

However, as always, there's more to 5 STAR LIVING than real estate and hospitality! TRENDWATCHING.COM believes the 5 STAR LIVING trend should inspire any marketer or exec interested in turning existing assets into profitable and imaginative new MASSCLUVITY services. Which, again, doesn't always mean catering to the absurdly rich; one of the reasons for TRENDWATCHING.COM to often focus on the luxury sector is because most consumer goods and services that we now consider to be commonplace, were initially introduced by pioneers of luxury and lifestyle. Oh well, incorporating this trend into your marketing strategy at least provides a good excuse for sampling some of the properties above! >> Email this trend to a friend.





All trends in TRENDWATCHING.COM's database are relentlessly and continuously tracked, enabling us to present you with new, related business ideas and concepts at all times.

"Hundreds of millions of global consumers are now unified in their quest for the best deals on offer on a global scale in virtually each B2C category."

MASS CLASS is taking on the world. From saturated consumer societies in Canada and Norway to the rampant boom markets in China and India, hundreds of millions of consumers now ALL sip Starbucks lattes, blabber away on Nokia phones and dress up in Zara and H&M. Whether you make USD 60K in Oslo or USD 3K a year in Shanghai, branded, high quality products and services at affordable prices now define the minimum standards for MASS CLASS living, making it a very competitive market out there, for established and new brands alike.

Having mapped the purchasing power of billions of consumers in BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) nations and beyond, TRENDWATCHING.COM in its seminars has started to turn its attention to the three must-have consumption trophies that will afford emerging MASS CLASS consumers access to Middle Class Walhalla: a comfortable home, (multiple) holidays, and a nice set of wheels. In this edition we'll focus on the latter. Make way for the MASS CLASS CAR.

The MASS CLASS CAR is not new: Latin Americans had their Volkswagen Beetle (affectionately called ''el huevito'', the little egg, or "el vocho"), Indian consumers have their Maruti 800 (selling for as little as USD 4,860), and in the 1990s, Fiat of Italy flooded the developing world with its Fiat Palio, the company's 'world car', aimed at emerging countries such as Brazil, Argentina, India, China and Turkey. Today the Fiat Palio is marketed in forty countries, and produced in nine plants. (Source: Wikipedia.) However, with especially India and China rising and shining, a slew of new initiatives promises to rejuvenate the MASS CLASS CAR trend.

Renault X90 (aka Logan)
French car manufacturer Renault is now in full gear, preparing the building of its Logan 'World Car'. The Logan, initially named the X-90, is also known as the 5,000 Euro car (after the planned sales price for the entry-level model in developing markets).

Production will soon start at Renault's Dacia subsidiary in Romania, which previously built the Dacia 1300, a copy of the 35-year-old Renault 12. It recently ceased manufacturing this model, thereby freeing up capacity. Dacia is aiming to build 200,000 cars a year for Eastern Europe, and the Dacia plant will be followed by factories in Iran, Russia, Morocco, Colombia and probably China and India. Renault hopes to sell 700,000 Logans by 2010. (Sources: Financial Times, just-auto.com.)

Chery QQ and Geely Haoqing
China's burgeoning automobile industry is also seeing initiatives for new MASS CLASS CARS, most notably those of Chery and Geely. The two car makers have gained a domestic market share of around 10% by undercutting their larger rivals on price, with vehicles currently priced at around Rmb 40,000 (USD 4,800). This spring saw the introduction of the Chery QQ, a spartan but cute four-door hatchback.

China's only privately owned car manufacturer Geely Group unveiled its new Geely Haoqing last April. Both Chery and Geely are very ambitious and have just announced a push into overseas markets. Geely is planning to step up exports to the Middle East, South America, and in a first for a Chinese carmaker, also to the US with sales targeted at 5,000-6,000 units in 2005. Chery, for its part, is planning to export 10,000 cars this year. Despite lower vehicle quality levels, the carmaker is aiming to grab market share from foreign rivals in overseas markets by selling cars at even lower prices than in China. (Sources: Financial Times, China Daily.)

Indian car giant Tata Motors is hoping to make motoring available to the country's masses with the introduction of a car costing about USD 2,000 (!). The vehicle, which is still at the "ideation" stage, is expected to have a 600cc engine and to be fighting for space on India 's roads within three to five years. India 's cheapest car, the Maruti 800, currently costs about USD 4,860 (200,000 rupees). Among the strategies for producing a car retailing at half that amount is to set up a network of low-cost, low-volume manufacturers around India for component production and assembly, acting under license. The low-cost cars would be aimed at people graduating from two-wheelers to cars. Five million two-wheelers are sold each year in India, while 200,000 Indians made first-time purchases of entry level cars last year. Tata believes that demand for the 'People's Car' could rise to 500,000 within two years, with opportunities in other parts of Asia and Africa. (Sources: Financial Express India, Telegraph.co.uk.)

The above may not make your day if you're an environmentalist, but as we often need to point out: the art of trend watching really is about observing first, then drawing conclusions. It's better to be in the know, good or bad.

Now, chances are you not in automotive at all, in which case you may not care about the Renault X-90 or the Cherry QQ. However, the same MASS CLASS initiatives are building in real easte. In travel. In fashion. In finance. And thus, studying these initiatives, even if they are far removed from your own industry or your geographical location, should get you thinking and, eventually, going. In the end, MASS CLASS CARS are yet another take on SACHET MARKETING techniques of offering your 'emerging' consumers more digestible, affordable, 'light' versions of whatever it is you're selling your 'mature' consumers. Want more examples outside the automotive sector? The September edition of our newsletter will feature an update on the latest and coolest SACHET MARKETING examples from Brazil, India and the Philippines. See how hard we're working to keep you cutting edge? ;-) >> Email this trend to a friend.







Want even more inspiration? Our September 2004 newsletter, which we'll send out on 1 SEPTEMBER 2004, will bring you new trends like STATUS ANXIETY and NEW HOME HAVEN, and updates on our FEEDER BUSINESSES and SACHET MARKETING trends!

In the mean time: DO check out our TREND IMMERSION SEMINARS. We'll be visiting four European and five North American cities from September to November. These full afternoon sessions are exclusive yet affordable, and very, very inspiring (if we say so ourselves)! For more information on our seminars, please click here >>

August 2004


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