February 2010 | As we wanted to keep things straightforward and hands-on this month, we’re highlighting “FUNCTIONALL”. Which is all about a new breed of products that are simple, small and/or cheap (with a dash of sustainability), giving them global appeal, from India to Sweden. Now, if that doesn’t warrant a brainstorming session…
FUNCTIONALL |Captures the phenomenon of simple, small and/or cheap products and services designed for low(er)-income consumers in emerging markets, with cross-over appeal to consumers in mature consumer societies. Goods and services especially designed for emerging markets often incorporate one or more of the following characteristics:
Smaller and/or limited number of features, to keep prices low.
Simpler, or easier to use, for inexperienced consumers.
Energy efficient (or not using any traditional energies at all) and/or easy to repair and/or waste-reducing.
Robust, as some of them are used in rugged conditions.
Well-designed (the democratization of design is a global phenomenon).
Aimed at helping owners to generate income, or allow users to create self-sustaining systems.
A few reasons why these products are of interest to consumers in more prosperous economies, too:
Cheap | ‘Cheap’ is king, both because of the recession (reduced spending power), and because of the shift away from ‘bling’ towards frugality and practicality as new status symbols.
Simplicity and convenience | Small/simple (and cheap!) also rules because of transient lifestyles (more experiences in smaller, affordable doses), and the continual need for more convenience and simplicity. Look for numerous FUNCTIONALL innovations to especially do well in prosperous metropolitan areas (URBANY!), where busy, transient lifestyles are the norm.
Design | Aforementioned ‘democratization of design’ means even demanding, experienced consumers will be pleased with products from countries and brands previously not known for high quality and design standards.
Sustainability | Anything using less or no traditional energy, or causing less waste, or boasting longer life expectancy, will go down well with eco-(status) conscious consumers.
Source: www.trendwatching.com. One of the world’s leading trend firms, trendwatching.com sends out its free, monthly Trend Briefings to more than 160,000 subscribers worldwide.