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Transcript of Ericsson ConsumerLab - 10 hot consumer trends 2015 blog posts

  • April 2015

    A collection of posts from the Ericsson Networked Society Blog

    Reflections on 10 Hot Consumer Trends 2015



    Ericsson ConsumerLab has 20 years experience of studying peoples behaviors and values, including the way they act and think about ICT products and services. Ericsson ConsumerLab provides unique insights on market and consumer trends.

    Ericsson ConsumerLab gains its knowledge through a global consumer research program based on interviews with 100,000 individuals each year, in more than 40 countries and 15 megacities statistically representing the views of 1.1 billion people.

    Both quantitative and qualitative methods are used, and hundreds of hours are spent with consumers from different cultures. To be close to the market and consumers, Ericsson ConsumerLab has analysts in all regions where Ericsson is present, developing a thorough global understanding of the ICT market and business models.

    All reports can be found at:

    The voice of the consumer



    > Head of Research at Ericsson ConsumerLab

    > Adjunct professor at the Lund University School of Economics and Management

    > Ph.D. in data modeling from the University of Tsukuba in Japan

    As part of his work in studying global consumer trends and the process of assimilation of ICT into everyday life, Michael Bjrn has been driving Ericsson ConsumerLabs annual 10 Hot Consumer Trends reports since 2011.

    Throughout his career, Michael has also maintained a focus on writing which, among other things, has resulted in academic papers, a book on situational marketing and two novels. He is currently a regular contributor to Tokyo-based monthly music magazine Strange Days as well as Ericssons Networked Society Blog; and it is from the latter that the pages presented here are drawn.


    1. THE STREAMED FUTURE 4 Stream it down, Scotty!

    2. HELPFUL HOMES 5 Why we keep looking at the smart home again and again

    3. MIND SHARING 6 Will you use thoughts to send a smiley in the near future?

    4. SMART CITIZENS 7 Smart is easy, changing perspective is hard!

    5. THE SHARING ECONOMY 8 A Sunday afternoon experiment are you ready for the sharing economy?

    6. THE DIGITAL PURSE 9 Consumers will get to pay with their smartphones in the end

    7. MY INFORMATION 10 When we put our journals online, we become journalists

    8. LONGER LIFE 11 How much would living two years longer matter to you?

    9. DOMESTIC ROBOTS 12 My household appliances run my life

    10. CHILDREN CONNECT EVERYTHING 13 When children connect everything, the screen age comes to an end


    It is said that the pace of change will never be slower than it is right now, and this is certainly my impression after working on Ericsson ConsumerLabs 10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2015.

    Given that most people are creatures of habit, going through daily routines that evolve only gradually, how can consumer trends be pointing to such drastic change?

    The answer is related to the use of smartphones. Once people replace their bedroom alarm clock with a smartphone app, the smartphone literally becomes the first and last thing they use every day. Then, without thinking much about it, people try out new apps and keep the ones they like. This happens at such a rapid pace that they dont even notice that their attitudes and behaviors are changing faster than ever before.

    Trying out a couple of new apps and ultimately keeping one or two of them for daily use doesnt seem like a lot of change but it has a huge impact on society as a whole.

    Do you remember as a child how irritating it was to meet grandparents or relatives at big events and having to suffer the Oh, you have grown so much commentary? When you are the one changing, you dont see it, even if it is so striking to others.

    Now that smartphone users are the ones changing, they can easily accept services and products that quite recently seemed beyond imagination.

    But when we analyze and discuss consumer trends, and try to conclude implications for what the future holds in store, we again experience the shock of perspective compression; we in fact become like your grandparents and relatives at that yearly family get-together who can do nothing but incredulously wonder at how much you have changed.

    Some trends may peak later than others. Mind sharing, for example, is about non-verbal communication and the idea that we could use our thoughts to communicate directly. This is probably still a few years away, although brain-scanning headbands are already on sale for relaxation purposes. In any case, communication services will definitely continue to evolve rapidly.

    Two trends that may also have a few years to go before they peak include: Longer life, which is about how people want to use wearables and cloud services to live healthier and longer lives; and Domestic robots, which predicts an increase in smarter household appliances such as robot vacuum cleaners.

    But others are quite close to becoming a reality, such as The sharing economy, which highlights the ongoing shift from products to services due to the convenience of using things without the hassle of owning them, and to a certain degree, the idea of your phone as The digital purse.

    When doing TV and radio interviews, discussing the trends at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and participating in trend workshops with Ericsson colleagues or with customers, I meet many who want to continue the discussion.

    Is this really what is going to happen? We want to know more

    I took the discussion online with a series of personal consumer trends reflections on the Ericsson Networked Society Blog. These posts are now collected here. Hopefully they will offer you some new perspectives on that moving target we call the future.

    Read more on the 10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2015


    1. The streamed future

    Stream it down, Scotty!

    Of all the Ericsson ConsumerLab 10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2015 and Beyond, the idea of a streamed future may be the easiest to understand at least when taken at face value. It just says that in 2015 more people will watch streamed on-demand video on a weekly basis than broadcast TV.

    Next, we will be talking about how the overall hours we spend watching streamed video will exceed the hours spent watching broadcast TV; at the current pace of change, maybe that will happen around 2020.

    Streaming is overtaking broadcast for the simple reason that consumers see more value in something that is delivered when they want to watch it rather than when the clock hits a certain hour. Simultaneously we are creatures of habit, so although the value of getting something on demand is obvious, the change happens gradually.

    Games will soon be streamed because why would people want to wait another hour for the download to finish if they can start playing already now? Books and magazines will also be streamed not always because the download takes too long to wait for but also because it may be cheaper to pay for just those sections that you read.

    Music will be streamed because oops, that already happened!

    But the streamed future holds things that we today do not consider to be media. In fact, the more our habits shift towards streaming, the greater the demand will be for anything that can be digitized and makes sense to consume on-demand.

    So just reflect on your own day and consider what strict time schedules you could imagine doing without. Although work schedules are more flexible now than ever, surely more will happen in that area? What will your office look like when you start streaming it?

    Education still seems to tick to the beat of a very scheduled clock. But online schools have already started streaming their lectures and student demand could drive this towards mainstream.

    Fitness is another area: Before long, maybe our smartphones and wearables will start streaming bits and pieces of expert systems to aid in quantification or consultation in various situations.

    And how about physical products? It is still early days for 3D printers, but they may eventually make it possible to stream household things like kitchenware, tools and other things made of plastic.

    Imagine that you are having breakfast and manage to fumble your cereal bowl. It drops onto the stone floor at an unfortunate angle and breaks. You are not even dressed, so going out to buy a new one is not even an option. Instead you print a new one. Beam it down Scotty! Oh, I mean stream!

    of us regularly watch streamed video3/4


    2. Helpful homes

    We see that consumers would like home sensors that do things like alerting them to water and electricity issues, providing updates about refrigerator temperature, and delivering alerts when family members come and go.

    Actually, we have done research similar to this in the past as well and to be quite honest, the results were quite similar already a decade ago. You could, in fact, say that this latest round of research did not really lead to any groundbreaking insights. People see a lot of opportunity in making homes a bit more responsive, and they have done so for quite some time.

    So why did we choose to elevate this to top trend status right now?

    The answer is all about the smartphone.

    Smartphones provide a wel