7 trends shaping business and society in 2018 according to Facebook IQ

Facebook IQ, the research arm of the social media giant, has released its first Annual Topics & Trends Report. Using Facebook’s conversation data from its two billion users, the report reveals the trends taking shape across business models, social norms and digital experiences.

1. Choice simplified

“Category disrupters that specialise in only a few products or designs – in some cases even just one – are thriving,” the social media giant says.

The report highlights Casper, a company shipping mattresses in a box. The one-size-fits-all model is spreading to many categories, including toothbrushes, meal replacements and even water filters. As consumers have become overwhelmed by limitless options online inducing decision fatigue, companies are achieving success by taking the pain out of consumers’ choices, Facebook IQ says.

2. Make it about me

“Personalised subscription-based business models are also on the rise. Monthly, weekly, even sometimes daily, people receive boxes of makeup, clothes and meal kits curated for them.”

Subscription models have taken off partly due to people’s wish to simplify decisions, but also because they cleverly play on the brain’s propensity to take pleasure from anticipation. A potential key to making the model work at scale will be personalisation of the product, according to Facebook IQ. “People might delight in not knowing what’s in the box – but they want to know they’ll like it,” the report states. Personalisation relies on businesses collecting data on the products shoppers browse, keep and return so that deliveries can be improved.

3. The rise of cryptocurrency

“Formerly in the domain of the dark web, digital currency made headlines in 2017 – and now appears poised for the mainstream,” Facebook IQ speculates. There was 146.9x growth in Facebook conversations about blockchain between January 2016 and October 2017, and 13.9x growth in conversations about cryptocurrency.

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) may legitimise cryptocurrency in the mainstream, the report states. In an ICO, investors can exchange digital “tokens” for services and products. However, the lack of regulation of the industry has so far limited its appeal to mainstream investors, it notes.

Read more from Ivan Ah Sam on the AICD Boardroom Report.

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