Welcome to the year of facial hair, reclaimed food and ‘celery stalkers’

Buckle your seat belts, marketers, and have your moustache comb firmly on hand, because 2013 is set to bring more facial hair, smaller houses and the rise of ‘celery stalkers’ – but more on them later.

One of the world’s leading trendspotters, Marian Salzman, employs a process of pattern recognition that has launched or popularised concepts such a ‘metrosexual’ and ‘singleton’. Salzman, who is CEO of Havas PR North America, is releasing a new book detailing more than 150 predictions of what is set to be hot and trendy, called, What’s Next? What to Expect in 2013.

So what else does this year have in store? Vacations will be swapped for wellness holidays to get plastic surgery, attend fertility clinics or receive dental care. We’ll see a rise in ‘copreneurship’ – couples who go into business together and people are going to delay entering the workforce and will opt to stay in school, take non-paying internships and use ‘life as their classroom’.

Economics is also set to go a bit alternative, with Salzman predicting bartering will become more popular as well as new trends like ‘freecycling’ (giving away unwanted clothes to prevent them ending up in landfill) and ‘freeganism’ (reclaiming and eating discarded food). Money is also going to be far less important as we move through the rest of the year – people will just want enough to be comfortable.

One of the biggest, and less bizarre, trends that Salzman predicts is that we will all simply start slowing down and rethinking quality of life with interests predicted to grow in trends like slow cooking and eating, slow courtships, and slow travel.

“We’ve become used to faster internet, faster service and faster results, not least because waiting for anything now feels like a waste of precious time,” says Salzman.

She also says we are filling in the time that is being spared by all of our time saving devices and we need to break the cycle.

“In the time that’s saved, we get extra capacity to pack in a few more compelling, engaging, must-do activities, especially with mobile devices that deliver on-the-go ways to fill that time: social media, email, news, games, movies and video clips. It all seems perfectly normal and logical and important until something happens to break the pattern, change the pace and create a different perspective: a vacation, illness, unemployment or maybe a life-changing insight from a book or a movie, or a global economic crisis.

“Now that normal life packs every moment with calls on attention, distraction and fast-paced entertainment, the quest in 2013 and beyond is for unstressed, unpressured, uncluttered space and time to relax and breathe,” says Salzman.

Dr Brigid van Wanrooy, a workplace researcher at Sydney University, says this trend to slow down has come just in time for Australians.

“I’m all for ‘slow’. Taking the time to engage in the things that should be important, things that, for many, our working hours cut into. We’ve got some of the longest working hours among full-time employees in OECD countries and we’ve accumulated 128 million days of untaken leave.

“Whether as a society we can adopt a slow approach to life remains to be seen but any brand that can help us do so could be riding a trend to their benefit,” van Wanrooy says.

A new ‘trigger word’ will also make an appearance in the fashion and style industries. ‘Native’ is predicted to appear a lot more across lifestyle brands, with a push towards consumers wanting to get in touch with their roots and people wanting to go back to an authentic look (this is where the facial hair comes in) and natural clothes made by artisans from people’s hometown.

“It’s no coincidence that ‘native’ is now becoming a trigger word in fashion and style. As modern life accelerates into a future that gets more virtual with every passing year, consumers are increasingly experiencing a sense of rootlessness. As growing numbers of us move jobs, cities and even countries, fewer people feel that they belong in any particular place. We ask, ‘Where are you from?’ and mostly hear a life itinerary: ‘I was born in A, but we moved to B and I went to highschool in C and college in D, then I got a job in E’,” says  Salzman.

As for those celery stalkers, be prepared. Salzman predicts the rise of people who pounce on food conversations to move closer to other people in virtual conversations. So stay alert foodies. You have been warned.