Forget the ‘year of the mobile’ (ugh) and ‘tech trends’ of 2017, 2016 turned out to be the year of the Unicorn.
And thinking we can probably learn a lot more from looking back on the last 12 months then pointless crystal ball staring and obsessing over platforms rather than ideas for 2017, I thought I’d use it to pull together some of the things that took centre stage this year for us to muse over.
This info is based on the global Google trends data for the year.
So, in no particular order, here goes:
In the year of the untruths it’s perhaps fitting to start with microtrend for the ultimate untruth in fashion, furnishing and online expressions that was the unicorn. Catwalks, costumes, cupcakes and memes were covered in them. Statements like ‘I’d rather be a Unicorn’ or ‘I am a Unicorn’ seem to be rapidly replacing the ‘Keep Calm and…’ (Thank God), but still rather annoying.
The ancient Indian religion based in non-violence was trending in 2016. It has sparked another fashion micro-trend in jewellery. Combining a lot of modern millennial ‘light touch spirituality’ concepts like karma, fasting, cosmology and being centred in vegetarianism, it probably has a lot of appeal to todays youth outside of the world of accessories. Interestingly ‘alturism’ has also been a rising search trend. Maybe 2016 wasn’t entirely awful after all eh?
A pretty popular concept already, ‘glamourous camping’ has hit a new peak of popularity this year’. For Ireland in 2016 this was probably epitomised by businessman David McGowan transporting the Russian 767 to its new home in Co Sligo! This trend to ‘unplug away from it all’ with the combination of all the comforts of home and the serious social media kudus for originality on the ever more competitive world of travel on Instagram makes this trend, for me, a long termer. And a great untruth too.
This one needs little explanation. 2016 was brought to us by the letter ‘R’ for referendum. Whether it’s been Brexit, the calls to repeal the 8th at home or more recently the votes in mainland Europe, referendums have been a big theme during the year.
Adhan is the dawn Muslim call to prayer. Whether there was a rise in searches in it due to the rise in popularity of the religion, or just from people wishing to understand it when they heard it or of it is unclear, but it was an emerging trend for 2016 globally none the less.
You only need to walk into your local news agents to see the huge trend in protein and energy based products in 2016. The protein bar was the king of this and despite the price, has flown off shelves for dozens of new brands. It’s partially down to our new adoption that strong and healthy is more important than slim, and our obsessions with big glutes but it’s also part of a larger trend we are seeing towards ‘functional foods’ – particularly in the areas of breakfast and snacking. Big brands, take serious heed. The next ‘stage’ of this is set to be protein products based in plant proteins. With this one, I would wonder if we are ‘untruthing’ ourselves – after all, protein bars are the perfect self-lie to indulge in snacks and treats. They offer a ‘get out of jail free’ card we really wanted at the till for all the choccy and sweets. #gainzzzz
The hipster plant of choice for 2016. And it’s easy to see why. It has the double whammy of a) lending itself’s ‘naturally’ to the industrial chic homeware trend that has become so popular and
b) it requires little or no upkeep and is perfect for small spaces like cramped millennial apartments.
My own Dad has been growing them for decades and will be very please to hear about his accidental coolness.
The SECOND most popular Google search in Ireland, beating Trump, Brexit, and the deaths of Prince and Bowie (we sure get our priorities straight), Pokemon Go was a phenomena of 2016. Looking at the data now though, it seems to have peek-achoed (sorry) and swiftly drifted away. It’s a fascinating example of how ideas and products are more commonly having intense ‘micro moments’ in the lime light. An important warning to prospective tech investors in 2017.
Fitness and nutrition in general continued to develop and grow as important priorities around the world in 2016. Interestingly ‘fun runs’ got a huge influx of interest in 2016. Themed runs in Ireland are a newly emerging trend for us that seem to be getting booked out at the drop of a hat (or flag). To me, this trend says something about a shift in mindset to bringing fitness into the everyday – as part of a lifestyle rather than a one of challenge. A lot of media rhetoric would certainly support the theory. Something for brands to really consider when it comes to activations in 2017.
I’m a big believer that fashion is the ultimate reflection of the cultural zeitgeist and as such, I think we are seeing a lot of ‘post-truth’ micro-trends in it. Just like the unicorn, pineapples don’t make a whole lot of sense to the discerning shopper yet they are appearing on manicures, handbags, sunglasses, clothing, wall paper and particularly as storage in the Penney’s homeware department. You might think the trend is completely fresh and random, but that’s the real post-truth! In reality the tropical fruit has has a centuries long history firmly in the centre of fashion – particularly in festivities and feasts. Whimsical pineapple shapes and interpretations ubiquitous as fun food creations and general table decorations throughout the 1700 and 1800s. When pineapples, at the time, could cost the host thousands. It was a display of both wealth and frivolity – and if we take it to still subtly symbolise that in 2016 culture, it makes perfect sense it is almost an emblem of the blogger #blessed life!
Another frivolous trend with a slightly darker edge – mimosas were the drink of choice that emerged in 2016. The orange and champagne combo, previously reserved for perhaps only New Years Day as a hair of the dog has risen in popularity thanks to the predominant brunch culture. From the sellers prospective it is particularly handy in allowing you to offer ‘cocktails’ without the expensive requirement of a full liquor licence. Why is it a bit of a dark trend? Well, I guess because when you think of it as an avid bruncher, it’s making early day drinking – that was a remnant of crumbling ‘old man’ bars – acceptable again. Call yourself a quirky gastropub, serve us up some eggs Benedict and its a socially acceptable bottoms up all over again! The concept of brunch itself, has continued to grow in popularity during 2016, rather than dissipating.