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December 18, 2008

Now, I’m no Nostradamus, but. . .

As 2008 transitions into 2009, America, too, is transitioning. In 2009, we will see a new president tried, we will watch as a recessionary economy (hopefully) rises, and we will retain our optimism that gas prices will continue to fall. Here is my unscientific forecast of trends for 2009.

Getting hands dirty and needle-pricked.
People have always touted the benefits of handmade items. Even if a creation is askew in shape and looks nothing like what the mind’s eye envisioned, the flaws give handmade items their charm. And did I mention, ignoring the cost of materials, items made with your own hands are free? How economical! While wearing a scarf made by some Fifth Avenue designer may give you style points, wearing a scarf you made will give you delight and make all your friends introduce you as their “ridiculously talented friend.” Magazines such as ReadyMade or blogs such as Design*Sponge’s DIY section, can put you on the path to creative genius.

Benjamin may look nice on that hundred-dollar bill, but he isn’t buying your product.
If there’s one good realization to come out of this economic crisis, it’s that companies know they can’t make money in the long-run when they alienate and manipulate consumers. Expect more customer rewards, coupons, requests for surveys, followed up by gifts for completing those surveys. This is not a change rising from a sudden desire for corporate goodwill, but rather an act of necessary desperation during a time when companies go from Fortune 500 to bankrupt between the ringings of the Wall Street bell. There are several websites, such as Retail Me Not, that provide coupon codes for virtually all virtual stores.

The future, and your surroundings, will be bright.
The general consensus is that the economy has hit bottom and cannot get much worse. Paradoxically, this makes many people hopeful. America’s economy is on clear foundations, and practically anything will be positive growth. Expect to see brighter colors in design reflecting optimistic attitudes. But don’t think the muted earthy tones will be buried. Despite the near over-saturation of eco-driven sentiment, the polar ice caps are not growing, and touting environmental friendliness will still be a strong selling point.

All the tea in China, and Uganda, and Bangladesh.
One thing you may not know is that I work at Starbucks. Over my nine months there, I’ve made many observations, most of which aren’t pertinent to this blog. But one thing is certain: the popularity of tea is on the rise. Not only does tea have health benefits and come in about as many flavors as you have days in your life, but it’s cheap. I could go into all the ways to gussy up a cup of tea, but I will leave the experts at the Tazo tea website to do that.

Those are my hypotheses for trends of 2009. What are your predictions?


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Philip Jackson

That part about the customers being given rewards, it is the typical step for most businesses whenever they feel they're in a slump. During the time you've posted this, the economic crisis was still there, so I guess it's pretty understandable that they're using those methods to gather more of their potential customers by using rewards, loyalty programs, etc.

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