Tag: 2021

Top product trends to watch in 2021

Can you believe it’s February? So much has happened this year already; an attempted coup in the US Capitol, a new US president, the Covid vaccine rollout… 2021 has started with a bang and shows no signs of slowing down.

If we think back to this time last year, we had no idea what was in store for us. By February 2020, most of us were starting to become aware of a Coronavirus “issue” in China, although some of us had never heard of Wuhan before – remember that blissful time? We’re unlikely to forget it now.

Any plans that brands had for 2020 quickly went out of the window.

As I explained in my video on post-Covid marketing trends some companies have been able to thrive in the pandemic – they diversified their proposition and were quick to adapt to rapidly changing situations.

But when it comes to product design and development, the process is typically much longer than marketing. Product development cannot be done overnight; the process has many stages that take time. Changes can be made at any point, of course, but they can have huge repercussions on the rest of the development process, and the budget of course.

So, while it looks like 2021 will be similar to 2020 in many ways – it’s unlikely many of us will be travelling much this year, and working from home will continue for lots of us – what product design trends will emerge this year?

The annual Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas every January is a good marker for the type of tech products that’ll be launched that year. In 2021 the conference was held virtually, but there were still plenty of product trends that emerged.

Smart money on Smart products

Smart products have been around for a few years and many homes have at least one, typically a smart speaker or video doorbell. And although we’re used to the term “smart home”, the reality is that most of these products don’t learn our habits, they are simply connected via the internet and are controlled by our devices.

But this will change over the coming years; home products will start to learn our habits and adapt their behaviour using Artificial Intelligence (AI). Some are already doing this, such as the Nest thermostat, but we will see more AI driven technology with products being able to think, learn and make decisions.

These products are already being developed. The Nobi smart lamp has been designed to offer extra care to vulnerable and elderly users – it can detect irregular motions, such as falls, to alert carers. And the Toto wellness concept toilet will analyse waste product and offer personal health recommendations – so in the future both our GP and toilet will be telling us to eat more fibre!

Cleaning up

If the past year has taught us anything it’s how easily germs can spread. The demand for cleaning products has grown considerably, often surpassing supply (remember when hand sanitiser was selling for £120 on Amazon?). And as more workplaces and public spaces reopen, new cleaning and safety measures will be implemented to prevent the spread of the virus. So, it’s likely we’ll see a trend for hygiene and cleaning in new product design.

Take this self-cleaning bedsheet from Nordifakt, for example. Made from 100% organic cotton treated with Polygiene, a silver chloride treatment that acts as a natural disinfectant, the bedsheet breaks down germs, Volatile Organic Compounds and mould to stay clean and smelling fresh with no need for washing. And when you consider that after one week the average bedsheet has 17,442 more bacteria than a toilet seat, a self-cleaning sheet certainly has some appeal.

It’s likely that touch free products will also grow in popularity, Kohler has developed a number of touchless bathroom fixtures including a toilet and tap, and we designed a concept bathroom tap that is both touch-free and has a timer to tell the user when they have washed their hands for the recommended 20 seconds.

Let the good tech roll

It’s a bit of a Marmite development but like it or not, rollable/foldable technology is here. For the most part, the tech has been developed into mobile phones, but it is being rolled out (pardon the pun) to laptops and even space-saving rollable TVs, if you have a spare £63,000 that is.

Foldable phones were debuted at CES 2019, but the technology has been 10 years in the making. The initial launches from Samsung and Motorola have been struck with a few design glitches, but the companies seem determined to make flexible displays the next big thing.

(Anyone remember when curved TVs were the next big thing?)

So, is it just a gimmick or will we all have folding phones in our pockets in five years? (Couldn’t we just go back to flip phones?)

There are some advantages to folding tech; the ability to run multiple apps simultaneously, a more immersive experience when consuming media, and of course the obvious space-saving convenience.

Cornelius Creative Managing Director Simon says: “

“The advent of flexible screen technology removes some of the boundaries of traditional screened devices. For a designer, having the freedom to design a product without the limitations of a fixed sized display screen opens up a whole plethora of new and interesting shapes. The next stage is for spray on or mouldable screen technology, which opens up opportunities to apply screens onto organic forms.”

Meeting personal values

Consumer habits are changing and with this shift is a desire to support products and brands that align with our personal values. The rise of ethical consumption and conscious consumerism is having a direct impact on product design, with more consumers choosing to buy products with no negative consequences on people, planet or animals:

“Carbon offsets are no longer enough; consumers will consider the impact of product disposal when making purchase decisions. Brands will respond with products and processes that reduce and remove more greenhouse gas than their companies emit.”

Mintel 2021 Global Consumer Trends

And it’s not just intent, consumers are staying true to their word. Hotwire reported in 2019 that 47% of internet users had moved away from buying products from brands that violated their personal values, a claim that is also backed up by Harvard Business Review.

“From product, packaging, experience, service and sustainability, designers must strive to meet the demands of the increasingly discerning consumer.”

Design Week, Jan 2021

Manufacturers need to consider sustainability in product development to evolve beyond recyclable packaging to encompass all aspects of design, production and manufacturing, and is respectful of the choice of mindful purchasers. For example, Whole Earth suggests alternative uses for their 1kg peanut butter tub once it’s finished, from storing bird seed to taking bagels to work.

Consumers are also increasingly demanding brands recognise inequalities and injustices around the globe and use their platform to take a stand, whether it’s against exploiting workers or speaking out against systemic racism by supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

Each year during Pride there are floods of companies that jump on the LGBTQ+ bandwagon; launching rainbow-themed products and changing their logo, but consumers have cottoned on to the lack of substance and are now choosing companies that actually support LGBTQ+ charities through the sale of such products.

So, there you have our top product design trend predictions for 2021. Do you agree? Or do you think other trends will emerge this year? Leave your thoughts below!

We’re looking forward to developing and launching lots of new products this year, if you’re looking for help with product design and marketing, speak to our team today.

Photo credit: Unsplash

Key Product Marketing Trends for 2021 (after Covid-19)

We recently published our latest video detailing our predictions for product marketing trends after the Coronavirus pandemic is over (if that day will ever come!)

You can watch the video below, or alternatively scroll down for a transcript. What do you think businesses will need to focus on to survive in a post-Covid world? Have you started to implement any of these marketing suggestions already?

Video transcription

Do you want to know the key marketing trends for 2021 and beyond? Want to know what’s likely to happen after COVID? I’ll be taking you through our top five marketing trends. So keep watching. Hi, I’m Lucy from Cornelius Creative. We’re a product design and marketing consultancy based in the south east of the UK. We help businesses and people like you to create and market amazing products. We post videos regularly on product design, marketing, and 3d printing too. So if that’s the sort of thing that you’re interested in, we’d love to have you as a subscriber. In today’s video, I’m going to be taking you through the top five marketing trends that we predict will happen after COVID. So we’re just over six months into the pandemic and it looks like Coronavirus is going to be with us for a while. It’s affected all businesses. Some have been completely unable to trade, whereas others have seen a massive boost in sales. It’s changed the way that we search and buy products. And it’s changed the type of products that we’re buying too. Now while no one has a crystal ball and knows for definite what’s going to happen in the future, we can look at what’s happened so far and make predictions. So without further ado, let’s get into our five key predictions for what’s likely to happen after the coronavirus pandemic.

1.) Invest in an online purchasing journey.

At the start of the pandemic Primark saw their sales go from £650million in March to £0 in April. And that’s because they don’t have an e-commerce platform on their website. They’ve said for years it doesn’t suit their business model, but they probably didn’t see a global pandemic coming that would stop all of their sales. So whether this will now encourage them to revisit that and add some e-commerce functionality to their website, I don’t know. Obviously when the shops did reopen in June, there were queues around the streets for people desperate to get back into Primark. So it probably didn’t affect their sales for too long, but for the rest of us that don’t have the pulling power of Primark, we need to invest in an online purchasing journey for our customers. If you’re selling products, you need to be selling them online. It’s not enough now to just be in the high street. In the wake of the pandemic, more and more customers are shopping virtually. Online sales have been around for years and businesses that have invested in an online journey for their customers will have seen the payoff during the pandemic as more and more people choose to shop virtually. This means that now more than ever, a seamless online journey for your customers is vital. Brands need to put user experience at the heart of their online marketing activity. It’s not enough for retailers to just highlight their products’ features and benefits. You need to build trust with your customers, some of which may be new to online shopping. So whether that’s using user generated content, such as videos and images, showing your products in use, or displaying reviews and feedback from past customers, both of which will create confidence with your new customer base.

2.) Voice activation will grow and evolve

The way that we use the internet to search for products and services is changing and voice search is becoming much more common, especially amongst the younger generation. 55% of teenagers use voice search on a daily basis, and mobile devices now all come with voice activation inbuilt. But it’s not just mobile devices. There are so many voice activated home devices now available to buy; think of the Amazon Echo or Google Home. People are becoming much more comfortable with using voice search to explore the internet, do shopping and connect with loved ones as well. So businesses that are developing products need to bear this in mind and consider adding smart features like voice activation when they’re developing new products. Think of a fridge that can tell you when your milk is running out or a kettle that can boil itself when asked. These are the sorts of products that are going to be developed over the next few years.

3.) Embrace user generated content

It’s an uncertain world that we’re living in, so customers have reverted to brands that have excellent customer service values. Building trust with your audience is key to gaining their custom and a great way to build trust with your audience is to provide user-generated content. So that could be videos and images of your products being used. Peer generated content is deemed to be 92% more trustworthy than traditional advertising. And it increases the engagement and time spent on your social media platform and website. We share our lives online now more than ever. It helps us to stay connected to our loved ones. And we’re more than happy to provide recommendations for products that we love. Think about how many times you’ve posted about a product that you really love, and you’ve shared it with your loved ones. So businesses can use this to their advantage, whether it’s creating a hashtag for your customers to use, or perhaps running a competition for them to enter if they post a video of your product being used.

4.) Brands will need to learn to become more agile

During the height of the pandemic it seemed like things changed on an almost daily basis. And the brands that were successful were the ones that were able to jump on these changes and use them to their advantage, to create content and campaigns quickly. It meant adapting to a new culture, potentially reducing the amount of approvals that were needed for campaigns, and being able to create content very, very quickly. With a lot of people working from home, it meant hosting meetings via zoom became the norm, which was quite out of the comfort zone for a lot of us. There were many TV adverts that were broadcast at the height of the pandemic and they would have had the slots booked for many months previously. So they would have had to have adapted their content, because perhaps the campaigns that they were running previously weren’t relevant anymore. A lot of these brands utilised user generated content. So people filming themselves from their homes, where everyone was staying at home. And a lot of the themes changed to be around community and looking out for each other, the sort of new priorities that were important to us at the time. One of the adverts that stood out to me was the Tesco ‘little helps’ advert. It was a practical insight into the new user experience of their supermarket. So they actually filmed what it would be like to go around the supermarket at the markings on the floor, the perspex screens at the checkout, sanitising trolleys, perhaps having to queue at busy times. this was a really practical advert for Tesco to run, but it also reassured their customers into what was quite a scary experience for a lot of people.

5.) Diversification could make or break businesses

When the national lockdown hit, many businesses were completely unable to trade. Some businesses were able to move their trading online as I mentioned previously, to weather the storm, but others weren’t able to do that. So they had to diversify their products and services. Dyson, for example, rising to the UK government’s challenge, were able to develop an entirely new ventilator in just 30 days. And countless other brands jumped on the increase in demand for PPE. So whether that was Gap producing face masks or BrewDog producing hand sanitiser. So there you have our predictions for the five key marketing trends post COVID: online purchasing, voice activation, user-generated content, agility, and diversification. I really hope you found this video. Interesting. If you have, please give it a thumbs up and consider subscribing to our channel. We’d love to have you as a viewer. Until next time. See you soon.

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