The 10 Mena Trends for 2015
Developed by J. Walter Thompson MENA’S trends forecasting team Brand Intelligence, the report on the MENA Trends for 2015“outlines 10 of the most compelling macros trends identified today–trends whose impact will be felt in 2015 and beyond as they continue to unfold, the ones shaping societal mood, behaviuors and attitudes.” The report explores where these trends stand now and where they’re headed with insights gleaned from a J. Walter Thompson MEA survey of consumers across six key regional markets and a spectrum of industry experts and innovators. Here’s an executive summary in anticipation of the full report’s release. The trends outlined are:
1. BENEVOLENT BRANDS:
As corporate distrust and contempt levels rise, Arabs are opting for brands and companies that show them empathy, social conscience, generosity–or simply put–a more virtuous side.
2. CARING TECH:
The proliferation of data -as consumers obsessively quantify everything from footsteps to dollars spent -is leaving people paralysed for choice. However, with information architecture becoming all the more sophisticated, brands can now prescribe personally crafted solutions that inform a better, stronger, faster now.
3. GENERATION B-OLD:
As the Middle East population grows older than it’s ever been, the Arab World is on the cusp of a demographic transition. Watch for a proliferation of products and services catering to this tenacious demographic as they strive to live independently in a lifestyle landscape that has changed beyond their recognition.
4. RETAIL RIVALRY:
The crowd economy is gearing up, disrupting retail, as we know it. Betterinformed shoppers and better tech are allowing small businesses to grow in unexpected ways. As everyone (and everything) becomes a retailer and the channel wars kick in, brands must become increasingly imaginative as to where, how and when they sell their goods.
5. MASHING UP TRADITION:
Arab Millennials are ushering in new social norms with an ‘anything goes’ attitude and a new mindset that is open to alternative ideas. People are now mashing-
up long held traditions with a mix of new flavours, creating their own recipe of what feels right to them.
6. BIL 3ARABI:
We’ve entered an era where Arabic has officially regained its ‘cool’ factor. New language systems, words and methods of communication are emerging, as people hunger for content in their mother tongue; visual and aural denotations of cultural relevance that can only be polished off in Arabic -‘Bil 3arabi’.
7. NIFTY NATURALS:
Evermore aware of toxic lifestyles, the ‘worried well’ are turning to natural alternatives as they attempt to preserve (or restore) their health, wellness and balance. As consumers single out ‘Mother Nature’ for ingredients, remedies and superfoods, brands and retailers must rethink their position and ingredient funnels in the new natural marketplace.
8. RISE OF THE INCOGNITO:
Forget FOMO! If there’s anything our increasingly connected world has taught us, it’s that there is an unlimited amount of ‘cool’ or meaningful things we are not doing. And with this realisation–that it’s not really that ‘cool ’if everyone else is already doing it–a growing segment of people are reclaiming their privacy and shrouding themselves in anonymity, reveling in the curiosity they’re evoking by evading the masses.
9. EVERYDAY EXTREME:
Bogged down by mediocrity in a world where everything feels so déjà vu, people are increasingly walking ‘on the wild side’ to jolt the momentum of life. ‘Risky business’ is taking on a positive meaning, as the ‘extreme’ version of anything is now widely assumed to be an improvement on the original, motivating more young Arabs to take on experiences of unconventional, daring and even unknown outcomes to put a ‘kick’ back into everyday life.
10. BUYING BETTERMENT:
Plagued by a constant battle between their consumerist impulses and moral intent, Arabs are trading in ‘mindless indulgences’ for a more considered approach to living. Gravitating towards choices that draw on what’s ‘better for me’ as opposed to what’s ‘gratifying’ and seeking out purchases of a less negative impact or of a more sustainable effect, on both themselves and on their societies.
“Never has it been more important to understand change. The world is evolving at a rapid rate. Consumers are changing their behaviour and adopting services at breakneck speed, creating real challenges for businesses but also exciting opportunities. It’s our aim to identify the changes that matter, the most impactful ones, and help inspire brands to adapt and create future-ready initiatives.”-Mennah Ibrahim, Head of the Brand Intelligence team.