Life moves pretty fast

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Mackie Mayor

“Life moves pretty fast,” said the eponymous hero of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. “If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

As we start a new year it feels like the right time to pause and look back at some of the trends I wrote about last year, before leaning forwards into the decade ahead.

One major theme has been the rise of food halls and street food markets. Typically offering a diverse range of food and drink offerings in a lively space with communal seating, the best of these offer the excitement of discovering something new combined with the dependability of a favoured restaurant – but without the dated rituals of traditional dining.

This year I was lucky enough to visit some fantastic – and very different – examples, including Mackie Mayor in Manchester, HWKRMRKT in Gateshead, Digbeth Dining Club in Birmingham, Borough Market in London, Riga Central Market in Latvia, and North 3rd Street Market in Williamsburg, New York. It is impossible to pick a favourite.

Another major emerging trend is the growth of direct to consumer brands. This new wave of companies is bypassing traditional retailers, cutting out the middlemen, and aiming to reach and convert prospective customers as they browse Instagram and other social media platforms with cannily targeted and crafted ads.

Some of these brands have done incredibly well, including Warby Parker (eyewear), Casper (mattresses) and Glossier (beauty). Others have struggled to cut through the noise.

A related trend is the rise of subscription services. Beauty Pie, Friction Free Shave and our very own client, Dorothy’s Teas, offer high quality products through your letterbox every month, providing convenience at an enticing price point.

Add Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify to the mix and it seems everyone is subscribing to something.

A final trend of note is the growing importance of niche customers.

Products and services that appeal to one or more minority groups often find they can carve out a significant market share by addressing dietary requirements, ethical concerns, social movements or other issues.

Dorothy’s Teas

A version of this article was published as part of a weekly column on marketing, design, trends and strategy in the Lancaster Guardian, Blackpool Gazette and Lancashire Post. See our recent projects.

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