Six major trends for 2014

Jo Bowman

Watching for early signs of emerging trends can lead brands to future success, even in tough economic times and fiercely-competitive markets.

"Trends are signals; a manifestation of something that has unlocked or newly serviced an existing need, desire, want or value," Henry Mason, global head of research and managing partner of trendwatching.com, told The International Shopper Insights in Action Event, held in Prague in November 2013.

Manufacturers and retailers, he reported, are launching more goods and services than ever before, while consumer expectations have never been higher. To deliver satisfaction, brands must rethink exactly who they are competing with, and which benchmarks they are actually measured against.

"A consumer getting into a BMW doesn't compare their entertainment system to a Mercedes-Benz; they compare it to their iPhone," he said. "And it's the same for the person getting into a Fiat or a Hyundai. They have the highest expectations."

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