Keeping up on consumer trends for 2014

In my last post, I wrote about three business trends that you should think about when doing your 2014 planning for your small business. There is, of course, another important bit of trend watching that you need to do – keeping tabs on trends in consumer behavior. Here is a roundup of interesting predictions from across the Internet on consumer trends we can expect to see in the coming year. I recommend reading them all – even those that don’t apply directly to your particular industry – because what’s happening in one field next year could very well have implications for your area of business sooner rather than later.

“7 Consumer Trends to Run With in 2014” from – These are very broad-based trends that might have implications for almost any business. There is real food for thought here on a wide range of issues. I especially like that they provide interesting examples of each trend in action.

“Reinventing Aging: Boomers Continue to Redefine What It Means to Be ‘Old’” – This is based on research done by Moen, the plumbing fixture company. What they have to say about trends among baby boomers has implications for many, many industries and present numerous small business opportunities, especially in the service sector. We boomers are driving trends such as glamping (camping out in real style) and experiential vacations. Our desire to remain in our homes instead of moving to retirement communities will also affect product design in the coming decade.

“Study: Consumers to dine out less often in 2014” from the National Restaurant News – Yes, dining out will be down next year, but not for the first reason that might pop into your mind. Instead of budget concerns being the chief driver, consumers report that the top reason they plan to eat out less is because they want to eat healthier. This desire to eat healthier is also driving people to change overall eating habits, such as eating less red meat. If your business has anything to do with food, you need to keep on top of such changes.

“Top 10 Food Trend Predictions for 2014” from supermarket guru Phil Lempert – I’ve been reading Lempert’s predictions for years, and he usually is remarkably on target. One of his thoughts about next year that leaps out at me is “Brands reach consumers locally through cause initiatives.” The consumer trend driving this prediction is the fact that growing numbers of consumers appreciate and want to support companies that donate to important social causes. This desire by consumers has broad implications not only for the food industry but for all businesses, and perhaps especially small, local businesses. Supporting local charities is clearly becoming an even more effective way of building customer loyalty.

If you do research specifically on your industry, I’m sure you’ll come up with more interesting consumer trends that you should be aware of as you plan for 2014. In days of yore, you had to pay market research companies big bucks for such helpful information, but now it’s right at your fingertips on the web. Happy researching!

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