Future consumer trends include emphasis on human services and artisan goods

Chicago -- Automation and mass production will continue to make life easier in the years ahead, but consumers and companies will react by valuing – and promoting – human services and artisan goods. That’s one of the key trends research firm Mintel predicts will be impacting consumer behavior in the next five to 10 years.

As part of its lunch of Mintel Futures, a new program designed to forecast long-term industry trends, Mintel identified six key trends affecting the global consumer market in the near future:

1. Human: Today's consumers are chiefly experiencing automatic service in the form of storefront retail technologies, such as self-checkout terminals and mobile self-scanners, and many are warming to the concept. But moving forward automation is going to be about cutting to the chase and skipping past laborious processes to allow consumers to get to the experience or the product more quickly.  

"For companies this means offering a choice between human expertise and automated fast-tracking in service, and adding customer customization and artisan suppliers to the product supply line,” said Richard Cope, director of insight and trends at Mintel.

2. Generation Next: A poor economy is challenging teenagers' ability to rebel, to progress and to stay healthy, but they are also better connected than their parents and growing up  in an era where sustainability and gender equality are higher on the agenda. This means teens need – and expect – more from companies, according to Mintel.
 
“To capitalize on the potential of this next generation of key consumers, companies must acknowledge that teens are growing up in the midst of debates surrounding sustainability, ethical sourcing and gender equality and may need to be more transparent, more ethical and more progressive to win their favor and custom," said Cope.

3. Old Gold: Whether retired, working or in need of care, the elderly are the key consumer demographic.

4. East Meets West: Asia can become the key cultural, as well as commercial, influence.

5. Access Anything Anywhere: Our smartphones and tablets won't just change the way we communicate, they will change the way we live.

6. Brand Intervention: The state will force corporatio