FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Are You Insperienced?

Trendwatching.com, which is always way out in front of consumer and marketing trends, has spotted yet another emerging trend that is already affecting consuming habits. Called Insperience, this phenomenon reflects the desire of consumers to create upscale "experiences" in their homes. Examples of insperiences are home-based theatres, gyms, and offices, as well as the current trend toward commercial-grade kitchen appliances.

Trendwatching believes that people exposed to luxury accomodations when they go out will want those same amenities in their homes. They note the continued "cocooning" movement that began in the '80s and that accellerated after 9/11. Telecommuting is also a factor. Furthermore, the price of such items is rapidly falling, so one no longer has to be wealthy to afford stylish, well-designed things (a separate phenomenon, familiar to anyone who shops at Target, that Trendwatching calls Mass Class.)

A case in point occurred with me a week ago, when I received as a gift a new coffee maker. My old faithful Mr. Coffee had finally reached the end of its useful life at age 15, and as a replacement I received yet another Mr. Coffee. It has the same basic features -- it makes coffee, with an automatic start delay and all that -- but the styling is radically different. Unlike the old coffee makers of white or beige plastic, this model is decked out in black, chrome and stainless steel. The reason for this was immediately clear: it's designed to evoke the coffee machines at Starbuck's and other fashionable cafes. So I can sit in my kitchen and pretend I paid $4 for the cup of coffee I just made for a few pennies! And as a confirmed Starbuck's fan, I appreciate that. Now, if I could just get a wireless hotspot in my kitchen, I'd be set...