Industry Views - December 2012

Future Changes Affecting
Products & Lifestyles

A report titled “Individuation and the New Markets of Individuality,” recently produced by Heimtextil/ Messe Frankfurt, aims, according to Olaf Schmidt, vice-president textiles & textile technologies, Messe Frankfurt, “to identify future scenarios for living and working and to point up trends which can assist in the formulation of strategies for the production, advertising and marketing of home textiles.”

In addition to conducting trend research, the report was prepared by surveying German consumers online to assess changing lifestyle attitudes. Although the European mindset differs from that in the U.S., some trends do migrate across the pond, especially ones based on societal or enviromental changes with global consequences. The study identified five key trends:

• Third Place Living: home-base in future is anywhere
“Third places” are those somewhere between the home and the workplace. In today’s mobile society, one can do anything from anywhere. Designs created by architects, interior designers and planners of public, commercial and private spaces are facing new requirements to satisfy these new needs of end-users.

• Soft Health Identity: home as instrument of therapy
In an aging society, individuals are not only concerned about curing illnesses but about preventing them. Remedial medicine is giving way to a self-reliant attitude to life. The question as to how healthy our homes are becomes part of an overall picture for each consumer, industry, trade and design.

• Living Sustainability: awareness and responsibility
The awareness of the interdependence of the earth’s eco-systems is becoming a central issue for society. Sustainability has become part of creating stylistic identity. In the coming years, the focus will be on finding concepts which will make it possible for both individuals and companies to make improvements by reducing consumption, while not adversely affecting functionality.

• Branded Workstyles: tomorrow’s world of work
In future, work will mean performing tasks that are demanding, require a solid knowledge base and are difficult to standardize. In place of the desk and computer, the workplace of the future will be about space and communications. The firmly integrated framework will give way to a fluid process of diverging spatial concepts.

• Curated Anything: ways to avoid excessive demands
An individualized economic system promises each of us our own unique and personalized products. The path that leads there is, however, excessively demanding. In future, it will be crucial for wholesalers and retailers to get the pre-selection right and do so as efficiently as possible, in order to offer products that suit the stylistic requirements of a particular peer group.

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