Top Innovation Trends Our Strategists Predict to Soar
Each new year, there are countless articles written predicting which trends will dominate the next 12 months. While these pieces are always interesting, waiting until the year starts to take shape often provides an even more accurate prognostication of what’s to come. So, now that we’re several months into 2023, I took the opportunity to check in with Seed’s expert strategists to get their thoughts on the top trends they expect to impact the innovation space for the remainder of the year—and beyond.
The Proliferation of Plant-Based Products
Sean Smyth, EVP, Head of Strategy
Whether it’s for health, environmental, ethical or taste/sensory reasons, consumers are looking to add more plant-based options to their lives than ever before. In the past, plant-based products were mostly dedicated to small, fringe brands providing meat and dairy analogs for vegans and vegetarians. But now almost every mainstream brand is at least exploring the plant-based segment and the market is exploding with offerings across nearly every category you can think of, from baby care and supplements to craft supplies and cleaning products. Oh, and these new products definitely don’t just appeal to vegetarians and strict environmentalists anymore. Consumer demand in this space shows no signs of slowing anytime soon, and as long as that is the case, brands will continue to happily step up to seize that demand.
The Acceleration of Investment in Innovation
Troy Geesaman, SVP, Strategy
The current economic climate points to near-term slowing of growth and fiscal contraction. This means consumers will naturally be looking for products and services that help them stretch their budgets and get more for their money. From a business standpoint, while it seems instinctive to hold back on investing in innovation when consumer spending slows, revenues drop, and cutting expenses becomes a paramount consideration, some companies will go on the offensive, strengthening their resolve to find solutions to the challenges of the moment. Like consumers, these businesses will look for ways to maximize the impact of their investments; that means ensuring they get the most out of whatever resources they are able to devote to innovating their offerings and building empathetic connections with their consumers. By doing so, they will help both themselves and their consumers successfully weather the current storms and be ready to rise once they subside.
The Growth of Femtech
Cindi Jones, VP, Strategy
With public awareness and conversation around women’s health becoming more mainstream—along with demand from women for real health and wellness solutions—the Femtech market is poised to continue growing rapidly. In fact, current forecasts predict that the market will reach $103 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of over 8%. And considering that 1.2 billion women globally suffer from the symptoms and effects of menopause and 80% of women globally experience period pain, personalized solutions to menopause and menstruation pain figure to be particularly big focus areas for innovation going forward.
The Widespread Adaptation of Wearable Technology
Michael Anderson, Senior Strategist
Wearable tech has come a long way in recent years and the future remains bright for this innovative industry. Just when it seemed like most people were ditching watches in favor of monitoring time on their cell phones, smartwatches and fitness trackers burst onto the scene in a big way. And they have rapidly advanced from basic step-counting to the point of being able to do everything from monitoring intricate details of your health to making the payment process more seamless than ever. As these devices become more sophisticated with improved features and software, they will become further integrated with the other devices that are central to our lives. This will lead to new innovations and opportunities across a wide range of industries including healthcare, fitness, finance and more.
The Ascension of AI
Maggie Huntwork, Senior Strategist
It seems like everyone is talking about AI these days. This rapidly developing technology has the potential to transform almost every industry and function—including innovation. At its core, AI can quickly collect and analyze huge amounts of data from a wide range of sources to help augment human intelligence. This means it can help marketers and innovators identify white spaces, mine insights, predict trends, and—ultimately—take new offerings to market cheaper, faster and with a greater likelihood to succeed. Moving forward, it will be important for brand leaders and their partners to find how to best leverage AI to drive action that propels their businesses forward.
The Ultra-Personalization of Products
Rachel Fagan, Associate Strategist
In many categories, consumers must wade through a sea of products where benefits and features are nearly indistinguishable between brands. This can cause frustration and take unnecessary time in people’s busy schedules. As a result, consumers will increasingly turn to brands that will “do the work” for them—matching them with the products that deliver precisely what they want and need. As an example, offerings like Coca-Cola’s Freestyle machines enable consumers to customize once-standard products into solutions that are just-right for them. I think we’re going to see plenty of new products that elevate personalization to a whole new level.
Adam Siegel is the Editor of The Accelerator and VP, Creative at Seed Strategy, where he draws upon his diverse experience in advertising, research and innovation to craft breakthrough creative and winning copy.