Figure this one out: America's waistlines are getting bigger, but health-club memberships are at an all-time high. And what about this:...
Figure this one out: America’s waistlines are getting bigger, but health-club memberships are at an all-time high.
And what about this: Fast-food restaurants have sprung up all over the country, but there’s a slow-food movement cooking in Italy.
“For every trend there’s a counter-trend,” said Robyn Waters, a former vice president of trend, design and product development for Target.
Even her former employer, which has become known as “the upscale discounter,” is a paradox in itself.
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Waters talked trends to a group of about 50 local businesspeople last week at an author symposium organized by Commerce Lexington and Joseph-Beth Booksellers.
She also signed copies of her latest book, “The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape.”
One of the biggest movements Waters said she sees in the marketplace is the idea of mass customization, products that are sold by the millions but that have a component of individualization.
The Apple iPod, a mass product completely centered around customization to the consumer’s music preferences, is one.
Another is the Mini Cooper, which is typically ordered online by the customer and comes with a multitude of options, asking customers everything “right down to what color LED light would you like in the speedometer,” Waters said.
And Starbucks, where millions of coffees are sold each day, is another: Waters said there are 19,000 different ways to order a drink.
There are products and services that tap into Americans’ desire for “extreme relaxation,” such as a store in Minnesota’s Mall of America where customers can pay for a nap in a themed room.
Waters said figuring out what the next big trend will be isn’t particularly hard.
“Anybody can tell what’s happening next,” she said.
The harder task is figuring out what’s important to customers.
“Trends are signposts pointing to what’s going on in the hearts and minds of consumers,” she said.