This is now the fourth and last part of a (loose) summary of Microtrends: Surprising Tales of the Way We Live Today by Mark J. Penn and E. Kinney Zalesne.
For parts 1 to 3 of the summary see the posts of 3rd, 4th, and 5th July, 2008.
I’ll take „Technology“ microtrends to finish this up, because it shows very nicely the dynamics of trends, countertrends and potential.
a) The Social Geeks: the „old“ geek was an introvert, the new one’s an extrovert. Although the adult US population is about 49 percent „extraverted“ nearly 60 percent of the most enthusiastic tech users are extraverted with the most active and engaging lifestyles. The „reluctant users“, those who buy and use technology only when they have to turn out to be the introverts.
b) The Tech Fatales: Women outspend men on technology 3 to 2. Women influence almost 57 percent of technology purchases, especially girls – they have become heavy users. But in stores, the transition is slow. Almost 75 percent of women say they’re still ignored, patronized, or offended by the sales people in electronic stores. Or better treated if they’re accompanied by a man. The question „What do women want?“ may be the most important question for technology designers.
c) The New Luddites: According to a Pew Internet study in 2003, something like 70 million people of America’s 300 million are „Tech-Nos“ who decline to use the Internet for fear of invasion of privacy, don’t use gadgets and gizmos or don’t date people who use a BlackBerry.
Profile: young, urban and employed.
d) Car-Buying Soccer Moms: Women car buyers are the dominant force. However, the feel of car-buying is still so masculine that 70 percent of women say, they’re intimidated by automobile showrooms. Pink roadsters with matching rain bonnets some 50 years ago were the wrong product but the right idea. Women’s top five brands are Pontiac, Hyundai, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Suzuki. Men’s top five brands are Dodge. Lincoln, Jaguar, Porsche, and Infiniti. The first car to be designed and marketed exclusively by women was a 2004 Volvo. Low maintenance was a high priority, oil change would be needed only every 31,000 miles, there was no hood, only engine access for mechanics, no gas cap, just a roller ball valve opening for the nozzle, the engine was low-emission, a gas-electric hybrid, environmentally friendly. The Volvo president said: „We learned that if you meet women’s expectations, you exceed those for men“. Women care about affordability, practicality, and safety.Maybe the car industry should focus a little more on women’s needs?
At the moment we an observe growing fragmentation of society, more weight for individual choices and minority rights. The difference to some decades earlier is not that there are so many more factions in society (there has always been segmentation) but the fact that the division is along lines of personal choice rather than circumstance (eg. race or fortune). But fragmentation is not isolation. There’s a lot of community out there. For example, 1 million people who want home-schooling for their kids can find like-minded allies and share resources on the Internet.
The democracies of the future may find it harder to maintain stable coalitions. Issue and lifestyle coalitions will most likely replace the identity politics of the past. Microtargeting will become the dominant means of advertising. The societal atoms microtrends appear to be driving change in almost every area of everyday life.
The 75 trends are representative of thousand new ones out there, there are new trends ocurring each day.
The Website of Mictrotrendslists the latest trends, contests, votes for mictrotrends, and more.