In a world where the needs and desires of consumers can make or break companies, trend analysis has become increasingly important for brands in their quest for developing both successful campaigns and products.

Portada interviewed Henry Mason (pictured), Head of Research and Analysis at global firm trendwatching, who pointed out that brands targeting Latino consumers should not devote themselves to looking for trends that only affect the Hispanic segment, but rather "look outward, seeking to offer [this market] the best there is before others do."

According to Mason, "today there are more similarities than differences between consumers [from all over the world]. Good products, services or campaigns should be of interest to everyone, regardless of demographics, even if the minor details are different."

Cross-border products

When asked about the importance of the Hispanic market and its future, Mason acknowledged that rather than seeking opportunities that may only matter to a single demographic, brands today have the opportunity to cross borders (including regionally) with products that may be of interest to more people. 

According to Mason, "people will continue to seek products and services that meet their needs and reaffirm their identity, and Latinos will be no exception.  Does that mean there will specific opportunities for Latino products and brands?  Of course.  But there will also be opportunities for brands and products that cross borders and are of interest to everyone.  An example is Nestlé, which recently launched three Hispanic drinks: the Aguas Frescas line, with its Jamaica, Tamarindo and Horchata flavors.  The line is obviously designed to attract Latinos, but there are many non-Hispanic consumers who will want to try these drinks."

Gl obal consumer trends for 2012

According to Mason, "in business, everything begins and ends with the consumer, so every businessperson needs to understand and keep in mind the changes in consumer needs and desires." 

What consumer trends can we expect in the near future? In their study " 12 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2012," trendwatching points to several global trends that will provide opportunities for all types of businesses. Here are three trends that may have or are already having a direct impact on Latin America:

Red Carpet – All kinds of companies will be offering special services targeted to Chinese consumers.  One example is Hilton Hotels’ "Hilton Huanying" program, which offers personalized assistance to Chinese customers.  An important fact: the Chinese made 30 million intercontinental trips in the first half of 2011, while Americans made 37 million trips in all of 2010.  Interestingly, trendwatching also noted a similar trend among Brazilian citizens.

Personal Health – More consumers will be taking advantage of new technologies and apps to monitor their own health.  Last November, we reported in this column about how Nike started an ongoing relationship with its consumers based on its running app.  An important fact: Apple's App Store now offers 9,000 health apps (1,500 cardio apps, 1,300 diet apps, 1000+ stress and relaxation apps, and 650+ women's health apps). By mid-2012, the number of apps is expected to top 13,000.  As for spending, Technavio has predicted that by 2014 the market for health apps will reach $4.1 billion (up from 1.7 billion in 2010).

Discounts with Style . Getting the best deals is becoming a source of pride and status for consumers.  This trend will be enhanced by new technologies that offer innovative ways to obtain good deals.  For example: Daltan, a Brazilian concern that sells second-hand Honda cars, allows users to bid on prices.  This trend is also being seen on coupon sites such as Cuponzote – profiled in this column last month – which is ready to go out and conquer South America from its base in Monterrey.

Click here for trendwatching’s complete study.

Henry Mason is Head of Research and Analysis at trendwatching. Mason studied Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham, and has worked at KPMG, providing assistance in strategy and finance to companies such as HSBC, RBS and Mitsubishi.

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