Trends – some information sources from the internet

This post is not strictly marketing or strictly libraries but I put this list together for one of my colleagues who asked me about useful websites for information on changing consumer and societal trends. This is based on the sorts of sources I used when I worked at Fonterra.  The Futurist website is always an interesting place to start. Some of the others are useful for mining details from – for instance the Datamonitor reports are hugely expensive, but you can access the tables of contents, and they give an excellent idea of what’s in the report. Some others are a bit crazy, but hey if you are in the business of coming up with new ideas anything is worth considering I think!


 Datamonitor – New Developments in Global Consumer Trends –

They say:   This report based on a vast array of primary and secondary research provides a comprehensive snapshot of global consumer behavior. Structured around Datamonitor’s well-established mega-trends framework, it offers added clarity, new detailed insight, future trend predictions and intuitive recommendations for marketing and product development.

I say: Report from 2007. Very expensive but there is free access to a comprehensive table of contents which lists the trends included in the report.


Datamonitor – Evolution of Global Consumer Trends – Market Analysis Report

They say: There are 10 global consumer mega-trends that will determine successful NPD and marketing strategies in the next 10 years. This report, in presenting new data to reflect consumer values, attitudes and behaviors, offers a more detailed breakdown of how the mega-trends have affected consumer behaviors, how they evolved in recent years and how they are likely to evolve in the future.

I say: Report from 2005 but still relevant as the trends are predicted to cover the next 10 years. Very expensive but there is free access to a comprehensive table of contents which lists the trends included in the report.


Top 10 forecasts for 2009 and beyond from The Futurist

They say: Each year since 1985, the editors of THE FUTURIST have selected the most thought-provoking ideas and forecasts appearing in the magazine to go into our annual Outlook report. Over the years, Outlook has spotlighted the emergence of such epochal developments as the Internet, virtual reality, and the end of the Cold War


 Annual trends

 Trends 2009 from the Hartman Group

They say: At The Hartman Group, leading-edge customized research and consulting blend to understand the complexities of consumer behavior. We pride ourselves on understanding nuance. We dig deep to get at the underlying motivations and behaviors that make a difference to brands, innovation, marketing and business development.

 Business ideas


They say: HartBeat is The Hartman Group’s FREE online newsletter, providing insight, analysis, information and strategy to give business leaders the knowledge and vision to build sustainable brands. 

I say: link provides access to previous issues of the newsletter Consumer trends and insights from around the world


Springwise | New business ideas from around the world says of Springwise: Springwise *A blog-style site devoted to spotting trends as these emerge from around the world. The site allows so-called “spotters” to submit trends, so in some cases the trends presented appear to be part of a company’s marketing campaign. But in many cases the trends are interesting, if not unique, and fun to read.



Research reports from Australian market research company McCrindle Research

I say: Many of these reports focus on generational segmentation e.g. segmenting markets by generations X, Y, Z etc.  See:

Seriously cool: marketing, communication and engaging with diverse generations

From the report: This white paper provides a big-picture analysis of our changing times and generational shifts, and points to some of the drivers of the generational debate. In the process it delivers insights into both marketing strategy and the marketing and communication tactics that will result in deeper engagement with the diverse generations


Trends, Ideas and New Marketing Methods:

They say: “Marketers are always experimenting with new ways to reach and satisfy customers. In this section we provide information on new ideas and methods marketers are using to gain an upper hand on their competition”


Marketing Stories and News for Marketing Trends:


Google directory for business

I say: Try a search from here on trends for more links


New Zealand demographic trends


Mark McCrindle at LIANZA 2008

One of the keynote speakers I was particularly interested in hearing was Mark McCrindle, a market researcher, social trends analyst and futurist from Australia. Mark delivered two sessions – the first a keynote session on “Understanding today’s learners” and a second session on “Engaging with the emerging generations”.

Mark had some amusing examples of how it is possible to get future predictions wrong – including a book he had found on how to survive the 80s, which predicted amongst other things the paperless office and a parking-hassle free future (yeah right!). Most of this session focused on the characteristics of Generation Y (those born between 1980 and 1994) and Generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2009). Mark was careful to point out that the characteristics he was talking about applied to other generations as well – because we are all under the influence of the cultural changes happening. Out of the jargony labels of postlife (we now have tweens, teens, kippers), poststructural (changing working hours, fluid careers), postlinear (basic needs are met, young people are more focused on higher order needs such as self esteem and self actualisation), the one that resonated with me was the postrational label – the need to engage both the head and the heart.

Mark used a quote from Socrates to illustrate his point that generation gaps are global and timeless “Children these days are tyrants, they gobble their food, contradict their parents and tyranise their teachers” – as relevant today as it was in 425 BC. Mark’s message for engaging with the emerging generations was essentially “back to basics” – a need to focus on great communication and focus on the 4 “Is” – Interest, Instruct, Involve and Inspire. He summarised his talk with stressing the importance of the 4 Rs of effective communication – keep it real, be relevant, be responsive (move with the times), relational engagement is the key.

As a marketing student I thought it was great to see someone from this sector delivering sessions at conference. I think librarians are getting a whole lot better at understanding their customers, profiling user groups etc (Auckland City Libraries have just advertised for a Business Intelligence and Planning Manager – wow!), but there is still a way to go. As librarians how much do we use market research and actionable information to drive our decision making about new services, or do we just rely on surveys to tell us how well we’ve done in the past?