YOUR MONEY: Donna Guzik on 2011 consumer trends
Trends tell us a lot about our collective way of thinking, including the way you and I make decisions about what to spend money on.
That's something Trendwatching.com looks at every year. Money columnist Donna Guzik sums up some of the company's top 11 consumer trends for 2011, which include:
-- "pricing pandemonium": you've probably heard of these coupon sites like Groupon.com - where you only have a limited time to buy something at a discount, but only if a certain number of people sign up for it - known as group buying
-- "member sales", an online version of the Costco idea , in which you become a member of a site and get alerted to deals for very specific products or services - like Jetsetter.com - that offers higher end travel deals. It's more targeted that just a coupon site.
- "flash sales" either on group sites or member sites where something may alert you on twitter about a sale that might be happening just for the next few hours somewhere
- growth in health oriented technology like apps that track sleep habits, calories, etc., or motion-sensing games like X-Box Kinect
- "ownerlessness", about access to products and services without ownership, i.e Zipcar -- you don't want the expense of owning a car, or renting one - this essentially lets you share a car with other members The same is being done in many cities with bicycles, and expanding with consumers renting lodging to other consumers like on sites like airbnb.com. On the west coast, sites like gottapark.com help people will rent out their parking spaces
-- "going green" is replaced by "eco superior". Consumers are starting to question the value and efficiency of going green - there's a bit of a backlash on products that just claim to be green. So eco-superior is about buying products that are not only eco-friendly, but superior to a polluting similar product in every possible way - superior design/quality, increased durability and efficiency, like the Stealth toilet.
-- a social networking based model that creates "social-lites" and "twin-sumers" Twin-sumers are people with similar patterns, likes and dislikes while social-lites like discovery, and what are called curators - meaning they will actively broadcast, compile, comment and share recommendations on products/services/experiences.
For more, check out the Trendwatching website.