Messe Frankfurt Study Probes the New "Individualization"
FRANKFURT, Germany-Shoppers should be viewed in their social contexts, and home textiles should be seen as an expression of their individual identities, according to a Messe Frankfurt study on consumers of the future.
Titled "Individualization and the New Identity Markets," the study is a compilation of surveys and reports from trend firm Zukunftsinstitute and other organizations.
Among the key individualization trends tabbed in the study are "third-place living," in which persons are finding places between home and work as more relevant to their lifestyles. These are places where people can "hang out," enjoy themselves but still feel productive. In another trend, "soft health identity," consumers are designing their homes to have a therapeutic effect, to counter the stresses of everyday life and provide a healthier environment. In "sustainable living," the third trend, the eco-social added value of products is crucial, and home furnishings such as textiles are being designed with a view toward reusing and recycling them when their owners are finished with them.
"Branded workstyles," the fourth trend, involves the redesigning of office spaces to provide greater comfort and foster more communication between co-workers. The fifth trend, "curated guidance," encompasses the replacement of salespeople with "curators"--individuals who put together product displays in the same way that museum curators present works of art or other items of interest.
The report posits that home textiles should be marketed with a view to these trends. Olaf Schmidt, Messe Frankfurt's vice president of textiles and textile technologies, said in the study's forward that individualization has been a growing trend since the middle of the 20th century, and that it poses questions as to what customers of the future will want in the way of products in all categories. "We se these questions as being of exceptional significance to the innovative development of textile home furnishings," Schmidt said.