Facebook IQ released a report this year called “The 2019 Topics & Trends Report from Facebook IQ” which identifies the developing and hot topics of 2018. The report has been prepared with the help from industry expert firms, The Innovation Group at J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, PFSK, and Stylus. It can help marketers understand and predict where these trends and topics may lead in 2019 and thus identify favorable opportunities. The findings have been segmented into seven categories: Beauty & Fashion, Commerce, Food & Drink, Science & Technology, Travel & Leisure, Entertainment, and Mind & Body.
The company collected data from the population of the United States of America who use the social media services and are above the age of 18. The topics and trends were found after analyzing data from several sources. They included data from their “Hot Topic” and “Topics to Watch” features on Facebook, and then the full set of topics which grew in frequency from the beginning of 2017 till towards the end of 2018. The cooperating industry expert firms also provided their data on the growing trends. Other secondary data sources were also consulted.
The report has been summarized with special focus on the important topics and trends.
Beauty & Fashion
Fashion is becoming more and more expressive of personal styles and values, and certain fashion trends have set off in order to compliment a shift towards people who love to stress the importance of expressionism and eco-friendliness.
K-Beauty has become increasingly popular in the United States in the past year, with several beauty shops even opening entire sections dedicated to the wide portfolio of Korean beauty products. People are becoming more concerned with what ingredients are being used in their beauty and healthcare products. Korean brands are utilizing this opportunity by using new proven active ingredients and then advertising the products via K-Pop videos and also Korean makeover videos both of which have gained major appeal in recent years. During 2018, the K-Beauty products swelled into a $13.1 Bn market.
Prints are back. Wild and extravagance in the world of fashion are starting to replace minimalism that had commanded all design and fashion trends in the last several years. Themes such as “Snakeskin”, “Zebra”, and “Monstera Deliciosa” (a plant) have all seen immense growth in popularity last year. Many restaurants too are switching over to print designs.
Green and Environment-Friendly beauty products are also becoming mainstream in the market, with the survey showing that almost 48% of women using facial skin care now look for products that are made from organic or natural ingredients. As people become more concerned about the environment, terms such as “plastic pollution” and “microplastics” have shown up 4 to 7 times more often in online conversations in the US. Brands are now switching over and advertising their use of organic ingredients in the place of these environment pollutants as a result.
According to the report, the new words in shopping are – “reduce, reuse and recycle”, as issues such as global warming and environment & ocean pollutions are being broadcast on the news and people are paying greater attention to them.
Demand for Everyday Eco-Products was on the rise last year as evidenced by the search for reusable metal straws amongst American consumers which grew a staggering 205 times as more and more people were looking to replace plastic straws. Homeowners are also beginning to look for more eco-friendly materials for home insulation and bamboo constituent products in place of wood. Corporations too are not far behind, with large companies looking for more eco-friendly ways to create their products. The terms “Bioplastics”, “Carbon Dioxide Removal” and “Straw” increasingly showed up on online conversations last year across all age groups.
Circular Economy, that aims to maximize utility from products and resources by extending their usage, is on the rise in the form of rising interests in durable goods, freeganism (minimal consumption of resources), and sustainable fashion. Consumers are becoming aware of the costs associated with extravagance, waste and small product-use lives. and are demanding more durable products and seeking ways to extend their usage.
Selfie Selling is a terminology described in the report as people who partake in influencer marketing and social shopping through generating online video and picture content. People, especially the Millennial and the Generation Z, are increasingly preferring to view themselves as brands and expressing themselves online. Individuals who have garnered enough fame, often monetize their value by showcasing products in their videos or captures – usually beauty, styling or other brands that they particularly use.
Food & Drink
The population as a whole, especially the middle-aged, are now more health conscious than ever and this reflects in their shifting values.
A penchant for Multicultural or International Comfort Foods is on the rise in America which is home to many diverse cultures. Thanks to increased diversity, globalization and integration of cultures; more and more Americans are adopting recipes from other cultures that are often an exotic twist on classic recipes. Millennials are also cooking more and more. As a result, international cooking equipment sales have also risen in recent years, and multicultural food recipes have found a place in American households, especially those with young children.
Popularizing Soul Foods, as the population edges towards health consciousness, is another noted trend from last year. “Brown Sugar”, “Pork and Beans” and “Soul Food” have seen growth in their presence in online conversations, especially amongst women. People are popularizing paleo diets rich in lean meats and vegetables rather than “Pork and Beans”, alternatives for gluten or “Brown Sugar” and “Soul Foods” that make meals taste as good as classical favorites, but are healthy too.
The search for healthier alternatives to bread has also spurred several startups to create “Bread 2.0” – healthy, low carb bread. These startups produce bread with “slow carb baking,” or slow natural fermenting, incorporating rice flour and einkorn grains – all of which lower the sugar content and the presence of unhealthy additives. As a result, these particular keywords “Crust (baking)”, “Rice Flour” and “Einkorn Wheat” have all seen a growth in interest in the past year.
Science & Technology
Science has long gifted mankind with valuable innovations that have found their way into various uses in everyday lives. The US population, in general, seek more and more from their technological devices and they want to derive experiential benefits.
More and more people are delving into digital worlds as the video game industry keeps expanding. About 64% of the population in the United States play video games and a popular media channel that live streams professional gaming garners more viewers than the CNN.
People are also showing greater interest in the internet of things and this, according to the report, could beckon a rising demand for more interconnected devices as they turn from niche to necessity in the average household. There is a growing interest amongst mostly male consumers of automotive head-up-displays & remote cameras and female consumers for stationary bicycles that provide exercising lessons too.
Travel & Leisure
Accessible Adventures – hiking, camping, and adventure made easy – are increasingly being sought as more and more people understand the relative economy and natural beauty of the outdoors and are inspired by people posting their adventures online. “Glamping”, “Via Ferrata” and “Zip Wire” have been seen to show up more in people’s conversations. This is a result of businesses offering solutions that make camping and hiking easy to get more people on board – especially people between the ages of 35 to 54. Glamping – adjunction of the words glamour and camping – is like camping but in the presence of added luxuries and amenities. Via Ferrata and Zip Wires aid people in climbing rocks and moving through difficult terrain with relative ease.
People are seeking to take their exercise outdoors in what the report addresses as the urban jungle gym. As the city of New York plans to build more parks for its population, people are turning to outdoor exercise as a cheaper and healthier alternative to going to the gym. As a result, there is renewed interest in parks and playgrounds where several fitness regimens can be carried out. Beach activities such as “Beach Soccer”, “Paddleboarding”, and “Wakesurfing” are some of the things people have looked for when they wanted to spend their bonus incomes.
The entertainment industry is an ever-evolving industry, more and more options and alternatives that people are now being able to choose from. With the advent of these options, the tastes of people are changing and adjusting too.
Can smart speakers provide smarter sound? As smart speakers enter more homes, the question households would likely be asking is, can these new devices provide the same quality as the large clunky hi-fi systems of yesterday? Smart speakers are technologically impressive, and can blare music with just as much clarity as it can tell the weather. But to make this happen, smart wireless speakers must come with high-quality woofers, higher signal-to-noise ratio and capable built-in wireless routers. As a result, there has been a rise in these terms as early adopters of smart speakers look out for these aspects.
As teenagers and Millennials seek newer forms of pastimes, especially online, tech-fueled escapism has taken its roots. The young generation watch hours of footage of online celebrity video gamers and often they watch it live. “Livestreaming” as a result continues to be profitable for celebrities and e-sports media companies alike. The “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR)” is a term denoting the tingling sensation set off by audio-visual triggers, and the young generation are flocking towards video games that create an immersive experience setting off the ASMR response. It has seen a rise in prominence as more and more video games focus on these aspects.
Mind & Body
Productivity and wellness of the mind and body have gained greater importance. As a result, opportunities have opened up for businesses to serve a new category of commerce, as the report reckons.
“It” Ingredients are popular amongst the people who – as opposed to being just healthy – are also invested in their minds and bodies and seek out wellness which goes beyond health. This is when people go the extra mile to carry out routines, diets or supplements that make them shine – both in mind and body. Several tea companies succeeded in serving this growing niche by providing consumers with herbal drinks with special “it” ingredients aimed at giving the consumer glowing skin, great digestion, and shiny hair.
More and more people look for productivity hacks as they try to manage their minds and workflow. Popularity of productivity softwares has seen a 1.5 times growth in the past year, and others are turning to Taoist principles and positive affirmations to help strengthen their motivation and energize their minds. As the work pressure and productivity continue to increase, more and more people will seek out productivity solutions to keep themselves at the top of their game.
Beyond the States
Thanks to globalization and increased social integration amongst social media platforms, the growing trends and topics that have been realized in the United States may also be found elsewhere in various capacities. Many trends also happen to catch on in countries or regions that have yet to experience the trends. Thus, even though the findings provide the growing trends in the United States of America, they can still be insightful for readers globally.
By Khondker Faraz Shafiq
Illustrations & visuals used in it are collected from the original report by Facebook IQ, an official Facebook website about insights and research from Facebook & Instagram, extracted from https://www.facebook.com/business/news/insights/2019-topics-and-trends-report