Monday, January 7, 2013

2012 Trends Report Card, Part I

Before we issue our annual list of trends and predictions of media and social media issues later this month, here's our annual report card of how we did with our 2012 predictions.  Based on the trends we identified, the biggest stories in 2012 included cord cutting – dropping cable TV service either as a way to save money or to try new watch-anywhere apps such as Hulu Plus and Netflix – as well as cybercrime, 

General Consumer Trends
1.     The desire to be connected 24/7 may change in 2012 & we may be immersed in social media, but we’ll spend less time with actual people. Over the past year, we saw lots of articles that validated these two predictions – that people were, in fact, looking to disconnect from being connected 24/7.  We also saw more reports validating the fact that social media actually makes us less socially inclined in the presence of actual people.  Overall, these two predictions were validated by The New York Times ("The Flight from Conversation," "Making Progress Against Clutter," “Dance the Smartphone Tango Without Me” & “Learning to Let Go: First, Turn Off the Phone”), Wall St. Journal (“Study: Face Time Benefits Preteens”) Boston Globe ("10 places where pleasure is the plug-in and only boats need a port" & "Giving screens -- and ago -- a week off"), The Atlantic Monthly ("Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?"), and other leading media outlets. We got both predictions right.  Grade: A+.

2.     Value will be king in 2012. As consumers look for value by checking deal sites like Groupon, LivingSocial and other sites offering discounts, we said to expect two questions to be asked: “Will Groupon turn out to be a good investment since its Nov. 2011 IPO at $20?” and “How many e-coupon sites do consumers want or need?” The answer to the first question is a resounding no – shares are trading at just $4.79 at the time of writing, which has resulted in a lot of noise about whether founder and CEO Andrew Mason’s future at the company. As to the second question, Motley Fool addressed it in a recent article, Is Groupon Trying to Become the Next Amazon?”, pointing to consumer “deal fatigue.”  We got this right but this topic of value and daily discount sites was not, in our opinion, a top story this year. Grade: B+

3.     Shifting to more efficient light bulbs in 2012 will not cause the end of the world. We said that despite media attention that people would be stockpiling 60-watt incandescent bulbs ahead of a legislative deadline replacing them with more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs or LED fixtures (a bill signed by Pres. Bush), this would be a non-story. We were right. Grade: A.
We'll issue more grades in tomorrow's post.

In the meantime, let us know if you have any questions or comments.

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