People around the world are trying to find value – in the data that they are being asked to give up and in the products and services they use, companies will win by creating value and a sense of relevance, according to Mark Curtis, founder of design and innovation consultancy Fjord.

This is the key message of a new Fjord Trends 2019 report from Accenture, which looks at the top trends that will shape the next generation of customer experience. (Fjord is a design consultancy firm that is a part of Accenture Interactive and has a Toronto office in the new Accenture innovation hub.)

Curtis states in a video from the report that there is great opportunity for value to be created in the next one to five years if companies can tie the concepts of value and relevance into their products and services.

People are becoming increasingly more selective about the products and services they use, and Fjord predictions for 2019 reflect this movement.

Top seven trends for 2019 according to Fjord:

  1. Silence is golden
  2. People want sustainable products
  3. Data minimalism
  4. Consolidating mobile services
  5. Inclusivity
  6. Seamless digital and physical experiences
  7. Understanding ‘synthetic reality’

The trends are a mix of stepping back from technology and at the same time embracing it to make life and business easier.

Overwhelmed with technology

Fjord’s report found that people are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of technology that touches almost every aspect of our lives.

“We’re seeing a dramatic escalation in the rate at which people disconnect, unsubscribe and opt out to stem out the barrage of content and messages that clutter daily life,” the report stated. “As consumers, we’ve come to realize that it’s no longer simply a lifestyle choice, but a serious mental health issue.”

In this past year, many tech companies created tools focused on mental health. Apple and Google added well-being settings to help people limit screen time as well as better understand how they use their mobile devices. Facebook also introduced tools for people to limit the time they spend on the social media site. And other tech giants like Microsoft created tools that respect a user’s time, attention and privacy.

The report predicts that sometime in the future artificial intelligence will be able to overcome issues surrounding inclusivity but in the meantime, in 2019, more companies will start blending quantitative, and qualitative data, as well as consumer trends, and industry insights to create better, more inclusive experiences for consumers.

Minimizing data

Data itself made headlines in 2018, with data breaches and hacks affecting a number of social media sites and large companies around the world.

“Expectations around how much people’s personal data is worth became falsely inflated, and the mystery surrounding how it’s used became a cause for concern,” Fjord states, “cracks started to appear in the long-held assumption that customers happily share data with the organizations.”

In 2019 Fjord predicts that companies will need to be clear and transparent about data collection and include consumers in the discussion. It suggests helping consumers understand what’s in it for them and assuring them the sharing of their personal information is fair and safe.

Blending physical, digital and staying ahead of the curb

The report also emphasized the need for companies to create more seamless digital and physical experiences.

“Organizations will use their understanding of customers’ online behaviours to reshape offline experiences and vice versa,” the report states, noting companies lick Mastercard and Google that are working together to develop a two-way tracking conversion that connects offline behaviour and digital marketing.

It also touched on the need for organizations to create easier ways for consumers to access certain services, notably mobility services. “In 2019, organizations must start to consolidate mobility services within a single, coherent ecosystem built on real-time needs.”

Finally, it encourages companies to understand the risk but also embrace ‘synthetic realities’, or artificial intelligence, and augmented and virtual reality, as its better known.

Companies “should hone new strategies to capitalize on their creative potential and manage the risk of unwittingly being featured in a synthetic reality created by someone else.”

As Curtis nicely summed up in the video, “the opportunities for design to really revolution a number of areas are greater now then I’ve seen them for many years we are on the cusp of almost a creativity revolution and going to see play out in next 2-3 years.”

The report concludes that success in 2019 “will lie in providing value relevant not only to individuals but also to the world. Value creation will not come from simply growing bigger, but by being better. In busy lives and on a crowded planet, only the relevant will remain.”

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