Product opportunities for businesses in home cited

Trend forecaster WGSN has identified product opportunities for businesses in the home as it further evolves into a multipurpose place to live, work, rest, and play amid uncertainty in pandemic times.

“Higher living costs, recessionary markets, and the impact of global warming will all see us continue to do more –and expect more– from the spaces we live in,” WGSN president and chief executive officer Carla Buzasi said.

In a white paper, WGSN said rising living costs and fuel disruptions led people to prioritize energy efficiency at home.

“As fuel insecurity, economic uncertainty and climate unpredictability continue, businesses that can help people become more self-reliant will have a clear appeal,” it said.

“This could be as simple as offering kits for growing food at home, or it could take the form of emergency packs and go-to bags, ‘prepare-wear’ apparel for changeable conditions, or generators and apps that can detect storms and store power in case of outages or labor strikes,” the report added.

The WGSN said smart tech is becoming proactive and it has the potential to transform every element of the home, whether it be through alarm systems that can distinguish homeowners from intruders; gardening systems that can monitor the weather to allocate water more efficiently; or mattresses that can track one’s sleep to offer better and more responsive support.

“We could also see smart innovations scaled up to a macro level (such as street lights activated by smartphones) as governments upgrade infrastructure to accommodate megacities,” it said.

UBS has predicted that Asia’s smart city market could reach $800 billion by 2025.

“Beyond enhancing comfort, convenience and safety, smart innovations will also change how we relate to tech as it becomes integrated into everyday life, whether through personal robots or more intelligent, conversational, human-like digital assistants,” it added.

To create more sustainable products, the WGSN said one of the biggest shifts happening now is a focus on not only doing less harm to the planet, but doing more good.

“For brands, it will be important to tell the story of how you are actively helping people and the planet, and offer products and services that will appeal to more resourceful lifestyles amid financial uncertainty, such as compost kits, mending and making services to extend a product’s lifespan, and smarter storage innovations to prevent food waste,” it said.

The report also underscored the rise of clean eating, clean beauty, and clean packaging or no packaging at all.

It said even traditional cleaning products are being repositioned as a form of self-care, with simpler branding and wellness-focused formulations.

“We have become more discerning about what we surround ourselves with, and whether it serves us and the planet for the long term, so brands will need to be crystal clear about the cleanliness of their ingredients, materials and processes in order to win consumer trust in 2025,” the white paper added.

The WGSN said there are also product opportunities across industries in hybrid homes as people will be replacing makeshift home offices with more long-term and comfortable set-ups; and amid an economic downturn, more of them will be planning their next move or taking up side hustles from the kitchen table.

“In 2025, there will be a clear path to purchase for products and services that can help people at home stay focused, prepare quick meals, keep fit, look their best in Zoom meetings, and switch between work and non-work modes,” it said.

The report added there are also opportunities throughout the home to enhance healing and wellbeing –from anxiety-reducing food and drink to calming bathing rituals.

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