At the turn of a new year, hundreds of online articles usually appear signposting us to the things to watch out for in the coming year. Now, normally, I would graze through them, take bits from each and move on. But this year, one piece really caught my eye.

I stumbled across Trend Watch’s ‘Seven consumer trends to run with in 2014’ briefing document, which aimed to catch marketers in that post New Year, well-intentioned spurt of imagination and creativity and provide a bit of food for thought, and a couple of things caught my attention.

‘Crowd shaping’

In 2014, the number of people willing to share their information – profiles, preferences, behaviours -   to shape the goods and services they use aka ‘crowd shaping’ will continue to increase.  This trend is nothing new – social media, ecommerce, GPS services on smartphones (the list goes on) already create vast profiles and data trails for connected consumers to relay everything from their music preferences to their daily movements.

But this year we’re not only going to see the number of technologies users input their data into increase dramatically but the expectation consumers have on brands will also become amplified. What this means is that brands need to be able to adapt their services depending on consumers needs/wants pretty quickly.

An example. CheckinDJ is a crowdsourced jukebox that arranges a venue’s music playlist to match the overall taste of its current visitors. Users register online or via an app and enter their favourite music genres. Once at a participating venue, the user checks-in and the playlist at the venue automatically adjusts to reflect their taste. The number of places currently using the technology is slight, but still, imagine if one day it was completely commonplace (and imagine the arguments if the music taste of a group of people were as vast as they are in our office!)


The consumption of ‘quantified self’ products is also set to increase as smartwatches and other wearable tech products start to enter the market. So far, most of these types of products have been focused around physical health.

However, in the next twelve months we should expect to see innovative products that become an extension an individual’s life, improving their everyday life, helping to track and improve mental wellbeing too.

One such product is Shadow- an app that allows curious users to record, share and analyse dreams. You may ask why one would need such an app, but have a go and it will soon become hard not to use it. Think of all those mornings you wake up after a dream and by the time you’ve had your first cup of tea you can no longer remember it. Well, Shadow can increase the likelihood of dream recall, by gently waking the user up after a dream and prompting them to record it via audio or text. By doing this, users can track their dream and sleep patterns and can begin to make connections between daily life and dream habits.

Over the past year, I’ve already made apps that track my sleep or count my daily calories everyday routine.  I believe that as the year progresses, I won’t be alone in using more and more of these products- Shadow included!

To read the whole list and to see what you need to watch out for in 2014, click here.