In December last year, TrendWatching released 5 Trends for 2018, their annual trend prediction report. One in particular stood out to me as an interesting consideration for all brands to turn their attention to. It’s called Assisted Development, which means:

“Post-demographic consumers are crafting new narratives of adulthood. In 2018, they’ll look to brands to help.”

Post-demographic consumerism was first identified by TrendWatching back in 2014 and is defined as follows: “People – of all ages and in all markets – are constructing their own identities more freely than ever. As a result, consumption patterns are no longer defined by ‘traditional’ demographic segments such as age, gender, location, income, family status and more.”

Side note! It should be obvious to all retailers by now that using pure demographic definers as a means to identify target segments is a thing of the past – psychographic attitudes and behavioural patterns is where all focus should be. So if you didn’t know before, now you do. You’re welcome! Anyway…

Other than consumers’ changing nature, the definition of adulthood is also being redefined all over the world. TrendWatching pulls out a good example of this; Japanese beauty brand SK-II’s The Expiry Date campaign. In the campaign launched mid 2017, SK-II showed support for Asian women experiencing high pressure of getting married before 30. They did so by sparking global conversations around the subject to change people’s views on these women.

Tasty One Top cooking appliance

Many Millennials, mainly Gen Y and Z, are now coming into early adulthood and are freaking out (I know I am anyway) about becoming grown-ups and all that comes with it. We don’t learn about life skills in the same way anymore, and the types of skills needed are not always those generations before us are able to teach. This is where retailers should step in and think of ways to accommodate for these changing needs. We want to learn new things and skills as young adults, but it has to be easy otherwise we lose interest.

Some retailers are already leading the way in Assisted Development. A great example is BuzzFeed’s Tasty One Top smart cooking appliance. You download the Tasty App – an App with thousands of amazing looking, step-by-step recipes, choose your meal and then the App (via Bluetooth) will adjust the settings on the One Top and make sure the temperature is always right. It will also tell you when to flip your steak or add the vegetables. Crazy, right?

They have found a way to make cooking easier and less boring, and as a bonus this will definitely lower the amount of kitchen accidents for amateur cooks like me (*watches TV for 2 minutes and before you know it there’s boiling water all over the kitchen*).

So if you’re a retailer reading this, you should start thinking about how you can make life easier and less scary for us young adults! 😉

Author Julie Schilvold

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