PhotoIt's that time of year. Out with the old, in with the new. For consumers, what does 2017 hold in store?

At this time last year, prognosticators said 2016 would be the year of wearable technology. And it pretty much was. For a while there it seemed everyone was wearing a Fitbit and counting steps.

Now however, as the year draws to a close, wearable technology is out. So, what's in?

Writing in AdWeek, Marian Salzman, CEO of Havas PR North America, predicts 2017 will be marked by consumers' renewed demand for more privacy and simplicity in their lives.

“More than ever, people recognize that everything from personal information to high-level data is an open book for hackers backed by foreign powers and bad actors,” Salzman writes. “Expect the demand for greater privacy to grow, much to the benefit of brands, businesses and even politicians that get it and help facilitate it.”

That could even translate into new Millennial parents getting off the grid and banning mothers and mothers-in-law from posting baby pictures on Facebook.

Craving simplicity more than actually achieving it

Consumers may buy fewer things in 2017 as Millennials' minimalist philosophy gains momentum. Books like Marie Kondo's “Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” may prompt consumers to clean out closets and pare down to life's essentials. On the other hand, Salzman suggests more consumers may crave the idea of simplicity than actually adopt it.

We might be seeing the leading edge of this trend during the holiday shopping season, as some retailers have not been all that enthusiastic about sales so far. Whether that's a product of consumers switching more of their purchases to online retailers like Amazon or spending less money on “things” and more on “experiences” remains to be seen.

Salzman also sees gender roles becoming even more confusing in 2017, as women continue to redefine feminism and men become even more uncertain about what is expected of them. That could well translate into some hilarious men's fashion.

One trend of 2016 – and 2014 and 2015 for that matter – is expected to grow in 2017: consumers will become even more dependent on their smartphones.

Salzman predicts what she calls more e-tail-retail mash-ups. When you walk into a store, don't be surprised if the store has beacons to deliver special deals and promotions straight to your mobile device.


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