By THE NATION
When it comes to predicting the key trends, one would always look back into the past in order to see things that had never previously been done, or things that had been done, but not to the full potential. Knowing how to pick them out is the key factor in helping us predict what will be the big things to follow in 2016.
Taking this approach, there are three things marketers should keep a keen eye out for in the year ahead. These trends may be sparked from the global standpoint, but they will nonetheless have an impact on the Thai business scene.
The first notable trend for next year is the return of the virtual-reality (VR) concept. This idea and technology have been endlessly developed by many companies in the past decade, and the tech is believed to be the most futuristic that most people can relate to.
Now, after years of being in a cycle of death and rebirth, VR has once again been picked up by big-name tech companies in the hope of making it a new norm for entertainment.
Next year will mark the launch of many VR products. Sony Entertainment will be launching its virtual-reality headset called the Playstation VR, which will focus on gaming.
Samsung, meanwhile, is working with another VR tech company called Oculus to develop and push through a VR headset that Samsung claims will have an affordable price tag.
To turn the moves from these giants into reality, and not something done in vain, support from two sides is needed: consumers and developers.
On the developer side, app developers are now moving toward creating support for this comeback of VR technology, integrating it into people’s lives.
On the consumer side, rest assured that consumers will be looking forward to VR technology.
From IPG Mediabrands’ “Wave” global study, 57 per cent of global consumers and 64 per cent of Thai consumers believe that VR technology will bring out new and entertainment-related aspects of life in the future.
The second trend to watch for is the return of wearable technology. Again, this tech has hit both ups and downs since a few years back.
Many tech brands have tried their best to initiate the power of wearable. However, the turning point for this technology was when Apple launched its long-hyped smart watch this year.
It would not be totally fair to say that Apple is the only one responsible for reigniting this trend. However, suffice to say that the launch has put the category on higher alert than before, causing many brands to be more aggressive in coming out with better and smarter wearable to fend of this threat from Apple.
To make this wearable trend even more popular, brands from other categories are also jumping in. Renowned Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer will also be launching its very own luxury smart watch, expanding the reach of this technology to go beyond solely tech users.
Thais are more than happy to conform to this trend. From the aforementioned “Wave” study, 58 per cent of Thais believe that wearable tech is a good technology for the future, while 59 per cent also believe it will be the main way to track human well-being in the future.
The last trend to literally keep an eye on is the expanding power of YouTube. Since its official Thailand launch last year, YouTube has gained more and more significance in Thais’ daily media consumption patterns.
Marketers and advertisers have been allocating a higher portion of their budget to buying media on video-content websites. From this shift, it is undisputable that YouTube is the biggest player in the video-hosting business in Thailand.
Even more interestingly, important data from ComScore, an American Internet analytics company, is showing this rise of YouTube as a local phenomenon. For example, the latest season of the hit musical show, “The Voice Thailand”, has given YouTube a third-place ranking in terms of digital viewership, right behind channels 3 and 7.
Topping things off with the recently 4G licence auction in Thailand, mobile connectivity will be stronger and more accessible than ever, shifting more eyeballs from Thai consumers to YouTube.
From now on, YouTube will be the new and fierce contender to local television operators.
Finally, while there is no guarantee that all these trends will fully materialise next year, they are great indicators of what to keep your eye on, nonetheless. After all, it would not hurt to be a pioneer of the future.
Article by Maas Virajoti, Group Head, Strategy & Innovation, IPG Mediabrands Thailand.