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Here's a secret about the art of trend spotting: every trend spurs an anti-trend, so if you want be ahead of the masses, just take any emerging trend and investigate what counter-behavioral effects it may have on consumers. For example, if there's an emerging MASS CLASS, then basically a MASSCLUSIVITY trend can't be too far away!
So, practicing what we preach, how about a pretty obvious alternative to our HYPERTASKING trend: the need -- in between HYPERTASKING -- for simplicity, order and more quality time?
We have dubbed this phenomenon DAILY LUBRICANTS: the fast growing class of products and services that cater to consumers' need for simplicity, and that literally lubricate daily life. Time for some inspirational examples of DAILY LUBRICANTS...
• Champion of organized life, US coast-to-coast The Container Store recently opened up a mega-store in the HYPERTASKING capital of the world (that would be New York City), bringing storage solutions to time and space starved Manhattanites. This move more or less completed the chain's quest to become the number one player in this market. However, still no stores abroad... Which smart global entrepreneur is going to take The Container Store's philosophy to DAILY LUBRICANTS-starved busy bees in the EU, Japan, Singapore or Australia?
Tagline translation: "Saturday-Plus Subscription Plan: daily on the Net, on your door mat on Saturdays!"
• Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant recently introduced a clever Saturday-Plus subscription. 'Plus' subscribers receive the paper version of the daily on Saturdays, while on weekdays they have access to the (full) digital version. Which mirrors the lifestyle of more and more readers: no time to read the paper version from Monday to Friday, combined with little desire to leave the home early Saturday mornings to get the still-popular paper weekend edition. Very astute, not just from a publishing approach, but from a behavioral, process and service angle as well.
• Domestic help is not exactly a new service, but take a look at this well-presented 'Lifestyle Management' company from the UK, called Urban Angels. It helps customers juggle the 9-5 with home and family commitments, bringing balance back to their lives efficiently and discretely. Rates are GBP 20 per hour (or part thereof), a block of 5 hrs costs GBP 90 per month, while a block of 10 hrs goes for GBP 170 per month. And no, they're not based in London, but in Liverpool. No doubt professional services like this will continue to trickle down from large metropolitan areas to smaller cities and towns, truly bringing luxury DAILY LUBRICANTS to the masses. (Editor's note, August 2007: Urban Angels has ceased to be. However, plenty of domestic concierge services are flourishing in this space.)
• For consumers who don't have access to a company like Urban Angels, 'simplicity' magazines may be an alternative. Already a massive hit in the US, Real Simple magazine delivers its 1.5 million affluent readers (median age 40, median household income USD 90,000) tips and tricks on which products to buy to make their busy lives easier. In the magazine's own words: "While balancing professional, family and community priorities, our readers also recognize the importance of taking care of themselves." And to go full circle: Real Simple is the sole magazine for sale in all The Container Store outlets, appearing at each checkout counter. A simple yet smart partnership in the world of DAILY LUBRICANTS!
Like its twin-trend -- and sometimes anti-trend -- HYPERTASKING, DAILY LUBRICANTSrepresents a trend that has been building for a while now. TRENDWATCHING.COM expects it to reach global mass-status soon, opening up much larger markets not only for clever, new, simplicity-oriented products and services, but also for simplifying the way consumers actually use products and services (see the Volkskrant example); buy them (time to give your website a DAILY LUBRICANTS make-over); or interact with them! More to follow in upcoming issues of the newsletter, and yes, we'll keep it simple. >> Email this trend to a friend.
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