Mintel has released its key predictions for consumers in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.
The global provider of market research focuses on trends and insights that impact businesses to prepare retailers for coming changes, and predict in 2015 consumers will turn to smart, synced devices and enhanced online shopping experiences.
Jane Barnett, Mintel, senior trends and innovation consultant, says smart devices, including wearables, have already been adopted to a certain degree but this will grow significantly, with a greater range of options available.
"The world of synced devices will mainstream, as trusted companies move into the market and join the convenience-driven, data-collection revolution," Mintel says.
Barnett says, “Smart devices - from watches to ceiling fans - appeal to consumers because they save time, money, promise convenience, control, knowledge and self-analysis.”
Recognising this, major players are joining the start-ups and small businesses who are offering smart devices, particularly in the home. In turn this is raising consumer confidence, Barnett says.
For instance, with the likes of Nike, Jawbone and Fitbit aiding in development of devices and apps, it is becoming easier for consumers to sync their mobile devices with health monitoring tools and home appliances.
New product launches next year will include tablets, smartwatches and smart TVs but will also move further than health and home economics.
Products that focus on aesthetics and ambience will interest consumers, says Barnett, such as ‘scent messaging’ devices that, in theory, allow consumers to remotely fragrance their home or send a smell as a form of communication.
Not only what consumers buy but how they shop will continue to change, with the on-demand, instant gratification of the digital age moving to retail, says Barnett.
“The internet has disrupted traditional approaches to shopping, setting up an expectation not just of convenience, but of immediacy,” she says.
The increase in mobile phone subscriptions has led to an increase in mobile shopping, with more people between the ages of 15 and 65 buying goods online with their smartphone or tablet, she says.
Barnett says Mintel is seeing traditional retailers meld with digital as more locations offer in store pick up for online orders.
More delivery apps and high quality vending options will be available in 2015 in a variety of product categories, she says, providing consumers with the option of shopping online but seeing a product or trying on clothing before buying.
Barnett says Mintel predicts consumers will also want more customised, on-demand access in banking, healthcare and other services. "It won’t be enough to have Google and Wikipedia answer your 3am questions, people will expect to have an expert just a video call away,” she says.
Furthermore, she says 3D printers will provide more accessibility, enabling consumers to print a product that solves a problem, shortening the design and deliver cycle.
“At the heart of this trend is that our on-demand, instant gratification culture is spreading,” says Barnett.