the trend pig

Out of home trends in the leisure sector – a snapshot


In recent years there has been a drop in spending on products and a boom in spending on experiences.

This trend towards spending less on products shows no sign of abating; GFK’s Consumer Confidence Index showed a drop from +4 at the beginning of 2016 to -7 at the end of the year, indicating that people are curbing their spending. This is evidenced by the closure of high street shops; in October 2016 The Guardian reported that 15 close every day. Last year a senior Ikea executive explained this trend, “In the west we have probably hit peak stuff”.

On the other hand numerous studies have identified increased spending on experiences. This includes things like eating out, going to events and traveling. Research conducted by Mustard via online polls shows that this trend is driven by younger consumers; a third of 18-35s have increased their spending on leisure time compared to even 2 years ago.

Dubbed ‘the experience economy’, a key driver is technological advancements. New apps and services are changing the face of the leisure industry, by taking a gap in the market and making innovation possible; for example Airbnb have capitalised on consumer demand for experiencing life in a new place as a local, rather than just observing from afar. Whilst Uber have brought lower prices and improved service to the taxi market via their app.

Another key trend to emerge recently is consumers who are politically active; public relations and strategy firm the Global Strategy Group, found that public awareness of corporate stances on political events was higher than ever before in 2016. Born out of Brexit and the election of Trump, people are taking a stance and fighting for causes they believe in. People have become less shy of voicing their opinions, they are not afraid to say what they think and they are increasingly spending their leisure time doing just that – see Irina’s recent blog post. There is also widespread acknowledgement that businesses have the power to influence positive social change, and a belief that they should be doing this.

Keeping abreast of consumer trends ought to be a key priority for organisations who want to create effective strategies for the future. When thinking about out-of-home leisure in particular, key considerations include; understanding the prevalence of ‘the experience economy’ and how this can be facilitated by technology, and reacting to consumer demand for opportunities to be involved in causes that they are passionate.

To quote Lesley Bielby, chief strategy officer at ad agency Hill Holiday, on understanding the potential and relevance of using politics to engage with consumers within Superbowl ad breaks, “If you’re not culturally relevant, you’re not relevant—period”.

Monitoring, understanding and acting on trends is paramount for organisations to remain relevant.

Want more consumer trends?


Hot off the press! You can now see the latest consumer and market trends and insights from across the web in one place at Trends are grouped by theme, click on each one for a selection of the latest information on each topic.

Currently available:

This is a work in progress so please keep checking back for more.

Wellbeing and Personal Identity


At the end of last month I had the opportunity to attend innovation and research advisory firm Stylus’s Innovation Forum in London on ‘The Business of Wellbeing’.

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that people are placing higher importance on self-improvement and wellbeing; we all know someone who is following a special diet or has recently pushed themselves to complete a physical challenge. And there has recently been a whole raft of TV programmes that aim to give viewers practical tips to improve their diet, such as new show Eating Well With Hemsley + Hemsley; the Hemsley sisters having built up such a huge online following for their healthy recipes that Channel 4 couldn’t resist getting them onboard to host a TV programme!

In fact, a third of people claim to be snacking on healthier food this year compared to a year ago, according to a survey of 2,000 US adults conducted by Mintel. And self-betterment isn’t restricted to health and fitness, “20% of UK consumers said they want more education in their everyday lives” (O2 Business, 2015). And indeed there is social kudos associated with a healthy lifestyle – just think of all those photos of super healthy meals you see on social media.

Some of the insights from the Innovation Forum help to explain this wellbeing epidemic. Stylus talked about how we are living in a VUCA (that’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world and that it is important to have a strong sense of self in order to centre ourselves and contribute towards our wellbeing. Managing our diet, fitness, skills and knowledge are all ways to develop this all important personal identity.

When there is madness all around it is no wonder that “60% of people try to appear in control of their life at all times” (Future Foundation).

Consumer appetite for self-improvement, skills and knowledge is certainly an opportunity for businesses.

How can your business act as an enabler, allowing consumers to be the best they can be and to achieve their goals? Does your marketing play to the wellbeing benefits of your product/service?

Searching for Answers


The internet has led to a democratisation of knowledge, fuelling the innate curiosity of consumers around the globe; just look at the number of ‘How To…’ videos available on YouTube, and Wikipedia has a website WikiHow which is dedicated to ‘trying to help everyone on the planet learn how to do anything’. Answers to life’s questions, no matter how big or small, really can be answered with the help of a smartphone or laptop.

…Or can they? There is a lot of ‘psuedo-science’; these new claims, positions and ideas are constantly being challenged, questioned and scrutinised. Take for example the recent ‘news’ that may have made its way to you virally “Cheers to that! Drinking wine before bed can boost weight loss” (The Sun). Within hours the findings of the study by the University of Washington were being disputed and counter headlines emerged such as “How a glass of wine before bed wreaks havoc with your sleep” (Daily Mail). Maybe you also saw recent headlines stating that eating red meat is associated with increased risk of bowel cancer – followed by articles questioning whether this is actually the case.   

So, maybe it isn’t surprising that, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, two thirds of countries can be considered “distrusters” – based on the average level of trust in government, business, media and NGOs. And there are mounting levels of distrust of other people too; whilst 40% of baby boomers agree with the statement “generally speaking, most people can be trusted”, this drops to 37% among Gen X and falls off a cliff among Gen Y, 19% of whom agree.

How can we expect to build strong relationships with consumers if they do not trust us?

The good news is that there is a solution to this. Being transparent with consumers can go a long way towards gaining their trust. The devil really is in the detail (sorry for the cliché!); consumers increasingly expect to be given the minutiae and to be allowed to form their own opinions. Detailed information needs to be delivered to consumers in a clear, balanced way.

Is your organisation doing all it can to give your consumers the full story? Are you serving their curiosity? Do your consumers consider you to be trustworthy and accountable?



Yesterday it was announced that youth targeted channel E4 will not broadcast on May 7th, the date of the General Election. Channel 4 hopes that by taking the channel off air for the day young people, who are traditionally amongst the least likely to vote, will instead head to their local polling station to cast their vote.

Rather than its usual line up of mainly US comedies, the channel will simply display footage of “Darren” who is usually responsible for airing programmes, sitting in his control room.

This disruption will undoubtedly be costly to Channel 4 in terms of monetary losses from advertising revenue. But the channel will be hoping to meet the non-commercial objectives of its public service remit. The appropriateness of this stunt for the audience of this particular channel is key to ensuring that this is not seen as a tacky marketing stunt but as a worthwhile thing for a well meaning brand to do.

How can your organisation cause a disruption that could bring about change? Relevancy, timeliness and authenticity are key considerations key in order to remain true to your audience. Beware of gimmicks.

Any Excuse to Celebrate


The Trend Pig looks for patterns in behaviour that can be used to inspire organisations to develop things that people love.

First trend… any excuse to celebrate!

This week tickets went on sale for the London leg of the Holi Festival of Colour, a music festival which also involves throwing coloured paint in the air. Fun festivals such as this one are inspired by the ancient Hindu spring festival of Holi and are exciting people far beyond Asia.

And Holi Festival isn’t the only holiday being observed by increasing numbers each year, a survey by Waitrose shows that 1 in 6 Brits now celebrate the traditional US holiday Thanksgiving.

For many the frivolities of these occasions are separate from any cultural and/or religious connotations that the holidays have in their native countries. In pretty much the same way that non-Christians have been enjoying eating chocolate eggs at Easter for many years.

So why are these holidays being ‘borrowed’ from elsewhere? Because they offer opportunities to get together with family and friends to have a good time, sharing food, drink, music and other experiences provided by the occasion – when you look at it like that why wouldn’t people adopt these fun traditions as their own?! Particularly after years of recession, people want to let their hair down.

Did you notice that Facebook was awash with photos of children wearing (rather impressive) outfits a couple of weeks ago? They were dressing up as their favourite characters from their favourite books to celebrate World Book Day and it clearly captured the hearts of many parents and children. Social media enables interest in events to spread and allows people to easily enjoy them with friends and family.

Marks and & Spencer’s Dine In deals and Dominos Pizza’s Two For Tuesday offer are two examples of businesses who have successfully innovated to respond to this trend. M&S tends to roll out its offer on special occasions, allowing its consumers the luxury of choosing from a menu whilst sticking to a budget. Whilst Dominos Pizza own a day of the week in the eyes of its consumers.

What can your organisation do to help people to enjoy new occasions as much as possible? What information, products and services do they need to be able to do this? Which holidays could be borrowed from other countries and religions next?

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