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Life and Style > Predictions February 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Lifestyle.

Pets are the new family fixture > As the family unit changes shape, with more couples opting not to have children and many more people living alone, pets have become a family fixture – and in some cases, are even referred to as the owner’s “children”. Three quarters of dog owners do literally consider their pets to be family members.

Home is the new office > Homes are becoming more adaptable to different needs and life purposes. And as more people work from home, the office is an increasingly important component. It’s the most popular room being requested in new home designs.

Sleep is the new sex > We have talked in the media that “sleep is the new sex”. Sleep has become the ultimate luxury, a fantasy and a secret indulgence. Human beings can survive longer without food than without sleep, but in our frenetic 24/7 lives, most of us are surviving on less sleep than we need. And when we want to sleep, we can’t: more than half of us have trouble sleeping at least one night a week.

Smaller, greener, more efficient homes > Out with the McMansion and the sprawl of square footage and in with the efficient home that maximises space and resources.

Smaller cars > Along with smaller homes, we’ll have smaller cars parked in the driveway – if there’s a driveway at all. The benefits are the same: they’re more efficient, benefiting both the owner and the environment.

Deliveries on demand > We can buy our groceries online now, but who wants to wait until tomorrow for that double chocolate chip ice cream when we have a craving right now? Watch for the next wave of cybershopping to include local dimensions that promise delivery within a relatively immediate time frame so that the accommodation of urgency is part of the shopper’s pleasure.

Personalised diets > We’re seeing a backlash against Atkins as people re-embrace healthy carbs and start to query any diet that suggests butter, cream and unlimited red meat are the smart way to eat. Beyond that, there’s a growing belief that there’s no such thing as a diet that’s right for everyone. Personalisation – whether based on lifestyle, ethnicity, blood type or something else – will become an important component of diet programmes.

Gastroporn > It’s one of the ironies of modern life that cooking shows and books are so hugely popular when much of the time we eat on the move or settle down in front of the TV with a microwaved frozen dinner. The preparing, cooking, tasting and eating of food have become voyeuristic pleasures separated from physical reality and carried out by experts who go through the moves with practised ease. Not unlike pornography.

Single drink bars > These bars will pop up to promote various brands, serving only one spirit and organised around the experience of that drink and its mixers. They’ll be short-lived but have serious talkability while they’re on the scene.

New delicacies > Foods unfamiliar to everyday shoppers, like jicama from Mexico and Japanese sushi rice, will be front and centre in the gourmet groceries that spring up in newly developed urban areas. Here, trendy shoppers are also likely to visit tasting bars and attend cooking classes. The continent most likely to emerge as hot in such shops? Asia. Watch also for African specialities like injera, the soft Ethiopian bread that also serves as an eating utensil.

Media grazing > A little bit of this, a little bit of that. Think of tomorrow’s media consumption as a meal at a tapas bar: a dozen small servings of magazines, TV, and internet sources, a jug of sangria and some play-by-play dialogue with companions.

“Zoning out” and “me time” as entertainment > With leisure time becoming so precious, zoning out has become a desired form of entertainment all of its own. Much of today’s youth participate in “binge chilling”. Entertainment now has as much to do with being switched off as it has with being switched on. Women, especially those in their 20s and 30s, consider their “me time” quite sacred.

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