Smarter, smaller & slower in 2010

Smarter, smaller & slower in 2010






From shopping to travelling, from fashion to technology, a long 18-month slog through the global recession that began in 2007 will inform everything we do in the new year.

2010 will be the year of value seekers, of cautious spenders and of the work-life balance.

We gaze into a crystal ball to look at what living trends the year has in store for us.

LOYALTY
And as budgets shrink, consumers of all kinds, whether travellers or shoppers will continue to patronise brands that give back. The last year has seen more people than ever cash in on points and miles they have collected from the likes of Shopper’s Stop or Jet Airways and the trend will continue in 2010, as consumers seek out familiar establishments where they are remembered and which offer value additions.

SMALL CARS
The tiny Nano was the biggest car story of 2009 and the small car will continue to grab headlines throughout next year. The Auto Expo in January promises plenty of launches, including the Beat from General Motors, Ford’s Figo and Volkswagen’s Polo. Japanese manufacturers Toyota and Honda will roll out concept versions of their cars, to hit shop floors by 2011 and 2012 respectively. Also set to launch next year are small hatchback cars from Renault and Nissan. The trend towards small is another effect of the global downturn, with consumers preferring to spend less on items with high depreciation rates such as cars.

BLEISURE TRAVEL
The great travel story of 2010 will be a repeat of the great travel story of 2008. Bleisure, as the Future Laboratory defined it, is about the blurring of business and leisure. And while that increasingly affects all areas of our lives, it is on the travel front that we will see the biggest impact of this trend next year.
Business executives, men and women alike, will be travelling less next year, partly because of corporate budgets that have been wrung dry and partly because internet conferencing really has changed the way we meet and greet our clients.
With fewer trips, when executives do travel, they’re more likely to extend their holidays with a few leisure days, often inviting a friend or family member to join them.

TELECOMMUTING
With increased mobility of the sort we saw in 2009, with the Blackberry becoming ubiquitous, staying in touch with the office is easier than ever. And that means working from home or coffee shops or pubs is finally a bigger possibility than ever. Employees have always liked the sound of that, but the moment managers realise the cost benefits of having employees only come in periodically — saving the rent of a larger office and taking a smaller one instead, for example — telecommuting will take off like never before. And 2010 looks quite like the year that will happen.

GRANNY’S STUFF
With everything falling apart around us, there’s been a yearning for the familiar, for the things that root us. Antiques and heirlooms are going to be more popular than ever this year, but only so long as they have a tangible connection with our own lives. No more commissioning an interior designer to go to one of the pricey shops off MG Road and the city’s cantonment area to furnish your apartment with something that looks old; if it doesn’t have a personal connection, we’re not going to want it.
Expect ancient, classic silk saris to make a comeback, too.

LUXURY
Paradoxically, as more brands discover profits falling in established markets, they will look to India and China to drive new growth. Expect to see more international names attempt to break into the country, particularly in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.
And with the recession having taught us the value of a quality product, with fashion trends as good as passé in lean and mean times such as these, we will only purchase products that promise to last. A combination of wider availability and a desire to buy quality will offer some hope for the luxury sector — and ensure we cherish these treats when we do get them!

THE iTABLET
After the iPod, the iPhone and the MacBook, a new Apple product is enough to excite anyone from business owners to tech-savvy consumers, so word of a forthcoming tablet computer in 2010, reportedly called the iTablet, has us all waiting to exhale.
Sized smaller than a laptop but bigger than a mobile phone, the new whotsit promises to take on both the netbook and the e-reader, allowing us to read e-books, get online, play games, watch the telly and more — wirelessly!
Apple is so confident of success it expects to move 1.4 million pieces of the $500-$700 device. But critics aren’t sure its cool factor will override the question of whether or not we actually need such a product.

THE SLOW LIFE
Described as a cultural shift towards slowing down one’s pace of life, the slow movement has been making waves for a few years now, but 2010 could well be the watershed year when the trend reaches its tipping point.
The Slow Food movement, which emphasises the use of locally grown, traditional and often organic produce, has given rise to several gastronomic trends in recent times, and the slow travel movement is being emphasised as we realise the importance of ecotourism and of finding our own way around places, rather than merely relying on someone else’s guidebook suggestions.

SMALL BUSINESSES

Recessions are traditionally a time when big companies implode and this one was no different, whether with firms such as America’s GM, the UK’s RBS or India’s Satyam.
But as economic cycles turn, small businesses are often an engine of growth, their size allowing them to be flexible in their response to changing situations. And with a shift away from traditional sources of finance, start-ups are finding the going easier than ever. No less than Barack Obama is putting his faith in the growth of small businesses, and everyone from the unemployed to the underemployed is looking to the sector to create jobs.

 
  And as budgets shrink, consumers of all kinds, whether travellers or shoppers will continue to patronise brands that give baAnd as budgets shrink, consumers of all kinds, whether travellers or shoppers will continue to patronise brands that give back.
   The Auto Expo in January promises plenty of launches, including the Beat from General Motors, Ford’s Figo and Volkswagen’s Polo.
   
   With increased mobility of the sort we saw in 2009, with the Blackberry becoming ubiquitous, staying in touch with the office is easier than ever.
   Expect to see more international names attempt to break into the country, particularly in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

    Antiques and heirlooms are going to be more popular than ever this year, but only so long as they have a tangible connection with our own lives.
   After the iPod, the iPhone and the MacBook, a new Apple product is enough to excite anyone from business owners to tech-savvy consumers
   Recessions are traditionally a time when big companies implode and this one was no different, whether with firms such as America’s GM, the UK’s RBS or India’s Satyam.
 Anything goes in a year of practical fashion.
In fashion terms, never has the consumer had it so good — and the industry so bad
one, designers have reacted to a dip in spending by grasping desperately at anything that looks like it could work.
The buzzword for the year, then, is eclectic. In other words, anything goes. Especially if it shows a lot of skin, one of the direct results of an increased emphasis on fitness in recent years.

Now is the time to reach into the back of your closet and pull out those treasures you were saving for when the fashion came around again. That time is now.
With lower disposable incomes, nobody expects you to drop your hard-earned cash on a new outfit that you will only wear a few times before giving it away, so expect a series of classic designs to hit stores this year, with the accent firmly on slick tailoring and finely crafted quality products that are built to last.

There’s also a fair hangover from last season, so asymmetrics, rock-and-roll, geometric patterns, minis, jungle themes, anything white and anything 80s will continue to be popular. It continues to be jeans with everything — and distressed denim stays on top of the charts.

And yet, paradoxically — for designers love nothing more than being paradoxical — we can wear our clothes as long as we want, without jettisoning them every few months because neon green or purple is the must-have colour of the moment. Individuality comes to the fore once again.

Which will lead to a proliferation of quick-fix cheap-as-chips fashion fads such as instantly generated statement T-shirts about a specific incident. If it’s cheap and fun and easily shows you’re part of the in crowd, it’ll be a hit.
As long as it’s practical, it’ll do well.

Keith Fernandez


Festivals such as Diwali and Christmas have already gone eco-friendly and next year will see us make greater attempts than ever to embrace the ecological lifestyle and find sustainable solutions to our problems — in part prompted by the growing awareness of the effects of our actions on the planet and recent events such as the Copenhagen summit on climate change.

With the Bharat Stage IV emission norms coming into force this April, a host of new motoring products such as the Palio and the Maruti Eco will roll off assembly lines to cater to us newly aware consumers — and a peek at these will be available to Bangloreans at the March Automotive Expo.

Gadgets that save water will also truly take off this year; according to a JWT end-of-year green trend report released in the US, dry shampoo that can be used between regular washes and waterless washing machines that use just a cup of water and nylon polymer beads are well on the way to mass adoption.

In the final analysis, our desire to go green won’t be entirely altruistic: in fact, if anything, this new-found eco-consciousness will be motivated by a desire to trim any fat from our expenses. This means we will now turn to jewellery made from non-traditional source materials instead of gold and silver; not just because they are sustainable and plentiful, but because the high prices of the precious metals have put the traditional ones out of reach of our grubby little hands!

KJ

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)