Must See: Our 2016 Trends Forecast

By: Jeremy Gutsche - Dec 14, 2015
References: trendreports
Our Top 20 Trends / 2016 Trend Report video is out! Every year, this forecast video is our most popular video, so please check it out. This year's Top 20 Trends were distilled from our favorite 20 out of 500 PRO Trends researched by our Custom Advisory team.

Here's a quick write-up on the 2016 trends, but to order the full report or download a bigger sample, please visit our 2016 Trend Report page.

Top 20 Trends Forecast / 2016 Trend Report

20. Millennial Segmentation
At Trend Hunter, we use the terms, Nouveau Millennials, Mid Millennials and Pro Millennials. Basically, it’s time to stop using one word to refer to a demographic that ranges from 18 - 34, and almost HALF of the US workforce. In 2016, brands will better differentiate between the 18 year old swiping right on Tinder, the 25 year old professional starting to take her LinkedIn page seriously and the 34 year old parent scouting baby blogs to win at instagram.

19. Branded Cognition
Multisensory Automotive Lounges, champagne music pairing apps and fragrant pop-ups all illustrate the latest level of experiential branding, which taps into the subconscious cognition.

18. Appified Retail and The Digitized Queue
From line-skipping to apps to special in-store experiences, retail apps are changing the in-store branding. Waiting in line becomes a thing of the past, and core consumers are now being rewarded with fast-lanes and exclusive in-store extras.

17. Viral Oddity and Intentional Divergence
Vegetable-Flavored Ice Cream, Soda Cheesy Chips and Chicken Cookies all tie into the foodie quest for viral eats. Brands can capitalize on this hunt for all things bizarre by providing oddball special edition of their own products, food or not. The concept is to garner attention for your adventurous ability to reimagine the status quo.

16. Reality Branding and Bodily Esteem
From Model Diversity Docs to Plus-Size Dancer Portraits, the expectation of beauty has officially shifted toward raw authenticity. In the past, showcasing everyday beauty might have help your brand to gain attention, but now, showcasing anything else creates distance between the brand and consumer.

15. Winning at Parenthood
The age of the Pro Millennial parent brings changes the game with a generation motivated by social acceptance. We’re observing an enormous new pressure on being the perfect mom or dad with the perfect kid’s room, baby’s perfect organic food, perfectly prepared lunchbox and generally, the perfect instagram-worthy life.

14. Streamlined Feedback
Shopping Survey Tablets, Responsive Receipts and Customer Gifting apps that enable fast feedback are all examples of ways brands are joining conversations about their products. Sites like Yelp have made feedback unavoidable, but giving consumers the power to give instantaneous feedback gives organizations more control of the conversation.

13. STEMinine Play and The Empowered Girl
Girl-Targeted Science Kits, Princess-Battling Engineering Toys, and tech programs geared toward girls are challenging gender stereotypes and opening the eyes of today’s youth. Parents of "Generation Katniss" teach their daughters how to get ahead in life by focusing more on the under-female-represented areas of science, technology, engineering and math, and less on dolls and domesticity.

12. Reactive Fashion and Techcessories
Robotic Fashion Fabrics, Hi-Tech Workout Gear and Movement-Memorizing Ballet Shows take wearable technology beyond aesthetics -- even beyond connectivity -- and into the realm of responsive gear. Sensing, tracking, and responding to body movements, reactive fashion not only changes the way consumers interact with clothing, but how clothing interacts with them.

11. Socialized Reward
Social Praise Apps and peer-to-peer reward platforms satisfy the Millennial need to connect and interact. Brands Leverage the emotional need peer-to-peer connection by turning the solo activity of gaining brand rewards into a social experience, making for a more intimate, trusting consumer-brand relationship.

10. Resource Sharing and Social Good
Energy-Sharing Networks, Community Service as a way to pay your bills and neighbour-to-neighbour food sharing take the concept of share culture beyond renting, and into the realm of giving. These new concepts tap into the modern consumer’s strong sense of community.

9. Peer-to-Peer Luxury
Digital Laundry Services, Personal Chef Apps and On-Demand Alterations prove that the Uber model can be successful beyond transportation. As the peer-to-peer economy becomes more mainstream, it expands into the realm of the opulent. This provides consumers with temporary luxury experiences that feed both the hunger for convenience, and for status.

8. Recognition Purchasing
From Virtual Drug stores to apps that let you virtually redecorate your home, technology has finally brought the shopping process into the future by going a step beyond online shopping and painting a literal picture of how new products will fit into your life. With Recogition Purchasing, the only thing standing between your brand and the consumer, is the camera on their phone.

7. In-Store VR and Projection
Intangible virtual reality retail spaces, Projected Design Previews and Interactive Store Displays are all examples of ideas that see brick and mortar stores as an opportunity to give consumers an unforgettable experience. Using projected technology to turn shopping from a chore, to a form of entertainment, this whimsical approach to in-store displays makes for a sharable shopping experience.

8. Crowdsourced Reward
Athletic Incentive Programs, Kickstarted Wish-Granting, and Crowdsourced Reward Apps cater not just to a generation obsessed with changing the world, but to one obsessed with all things instantaneous. Crowdfunding has expanded beyond startup ventures and into the realm of social good, allowing consumers to give without receiving -- that is, aside from an online notification and a sense of well being.

5. Momentary Marketing
Secret society party teasers, 12-Hour Stores and Melting Ice Coupons all accommodate the short attention span of the Centennial, our love for all things urgent and the viral nature of surpise when used as a social media tactic.

4. Curated Dining
Executive Meal Subscriptions, Dinner Party Services and SMS Lunch Deliveries provide more than convenient dining; they appeal to the consumer need for curated lifestyles that accommodate their personal brand. Making gourmet meals more accessible, Curated Dining offers fractional extravagance while maintaining the familiarity of ordering in.

3. Retail Community and Experiential Branding
Menswear stores that turn into nightclubs, Car Dealership Spas and Retail Villages all fuel the fire of the ‘Store Wars.’ Retail Community is the concept of connecting to a larger emotional consumer need if belonging by fostering a sense of community, building likeminded peer-to-peer relationships and a creating better sense of a brand’s cultural meaning.

2. Matchmaking Adulthood with Big Data
From quick decision retail apps, to Matchmade employment, Mid-Millennials love customized offerings and gamification. Tinder brought the "swipe right" concept to dating, but the quick decision concept is becoming a new tactic for figuring out your next new product, home and even employment. It may seem simplistic at first, but each quick decision you make provides insight that big data systems can use to better predict what’s right for you.

1. Assisted Entrepreneurship and Automated Creation
Instantaneous web design, App-Developing Apps, Online Business Card Creators
and Collaborative Design Platforms all make it easier to create content and all the materials you need to launch your next new product or business. In an age where you can kickstart your new product before you’ve even made it, it’s never been easier to be an entrepreneur, or for your next competitor to be the Centennial aged kid down the street.