What Will Happen in 2017? The Ultimate Prediction Roundup

The expert predictions for the year ahead and trends to know in marketing, tech, retail, food, and more…

Predicting the trends for the year to come has become a new year tradition across industries. We've combed through all the forecasts to create the ultimate roundup of expert opinions on what brands need to know in 2017: 

TECH

2016 was the year that augmented reality surprised everyone—outshining virtual reality’s arise. In the year to come, some experts expect that trend to continue, and for AR/mixed reality to be more important that VR to consumers and brands. Pokémon Go is credited for bringing augmented reality to the masses, but those in the interactive kids’ product field see Pokémon as just “a teaser” for what’s to come: “Smart” AR characters that react to their surroundings, AR children’s books and games, and educational tools. Content and monetization are the main focus of the industry, but the CEO of Legacy Games predicts, “You will see AR experiences when you go to Disneyland...You will see it implemented in amusement parks, museums and more.” But VR is a big part of Business Insider’s predictions for 2017—they expect the technology to make an impact in events like sports and concerts, as well as therapy this year. They also see the chatbot trend—which we’ve covered all year—becoming a “huge” part of running a business.

MARKETING

According to agency Brand Union, in 2017 brands will try to be as unbranded as possible. This insight is based on the emerging trend of candid photography, honest copywriting, and transparent business strategy currently being used by brands like Casper, Thinx, and Urban Outfitters. They predict that more companies will be adopting the “meticulously un-designed” look next year, striving to appear “flawed, unpredictable, naïve, even strange,”…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“Most of the role models and leaders in my life have been Gen Xers so far."

–Male, 16, WI

Instagram has reached 700 million active users, and its growth has been speeding up. The app hit the new user mark just four months after reaching 600 million, and the introduction of Instagram stories in August may be a major contributor to its accelerated growth. The feature has a reported 200 million daily active users compared to Snapchat’s 161 million. Overall, Instagram now has twice the user base of Twitter and is quickly approaching the coveted 1 billion user mark that Facebook, WhatsApp, and Messenger have reached. (TechCrunch)

Millennials are using social media and YouTube to decide what to buy. A U.K. study found 32% of 18-24-year-olds are using social media to research their purchase decisions before checking out, and 25% are using video platforms like YouTube. There are also signs they’d like to search for products on social media: 25% of U.K. 18-24-year-olds reported the desire to search media based on their lifestyle and 23% would like search to understand their current mood. These findings, paired with the detailed targeting available to advertisers, are changing the consumer journey from search query to cart. (AdvertisingWeek)

Millennials are keeping 70% of their money in cash, reluctant to invest in anything, from stocks to their own retirement plans—according to new BlackRock research. Clearly impacted by the Great Recession, Millennials are most likely to agree, "What you might earn investing isn't worth the risk of losing your money," and a third say “they learned what not to do with their money” from watching their parents. They also tend to undervalue the potential returns of investments by millions of dollars, which is not good news for their futures—at their current rate, most Millennials will have less than $1 million saved for retirement. (TheStreet)

Influencer marketing is proving its worth. Though marketers have worried about determining ROI with the approach, one report is claiming it’s more effective than advertising alone, showing a direct lift in results rates of up to 30%. Across 450 influencers and 11 campaigns, the expansive research compared results from consumers exposed to ads featuring influencers versus control groups, overwhelmingly showing increased action when an influencer was involved. Good news for marketers, who spent $570 million on influencer marketing on Instagram alone last year. (Adweek)

The Amazon Echo can now help pick your outfit—and tell you when you don’t look good. LED lights and a depth-sensing camera will let the new Echo Look take pictures of any look, and “Style Check” software “combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists” to evaluate which outfit is best, and lets you compare pictures of multiple outfits, from multiple angles. Amazon’s already extensive product recommendations could feasibly be a part of this product’s future—and, if all goes well, a drone will ship the recommended new clothes to your door. (Quartz)

“I want to work for myself so that I can have more flexibility and be my own boss. I have an online business.”
—Female, 16, FL

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