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trendwatching 2010-02 FUNCTIONALL

trendwatching 2010-02 FUNCTIONALL

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Published by Lilit Boninsegni

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Published by: Lilit Boninsegni on Jul 26, 2010
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February 2010
| As we wanted to keep things straightforward and hands-on this month, we'rehighlighting "FUNCTIONALL". Which is all about a new breed of products that are simple, smalland/or cheap (with a dash of sustainability), giving them global appeal, from India to Sweden. Now,if that doesn't warrant a brainstorming session...
Captures the phenomenon of simple, small and/or cheap products and serv-ices designed for low(er)-income consumers in emerging markets, with cross-over appeal toconsumers in mature consumer societies.
Goods and services especially designed for emerging markets often incorporate one or more of thefollowing characteristics:Smaller and/or limited number of features, to keep prices low.Simpler, or easier to use, for inexperienced consumers.Energy efficient (or not using any traditional energies at all) and/or easy to repair and/orwaste-reducing.Robust, as some of them are used in rugged conditions.Well-designed (the democratization of design
a global phenomenon).Aimed at helping owners to generate income, or allow users to create self-sustaining sys-tems.
trendwatching.com, independent and opinionated, is one of the world
s leading consumertrends firm, relying on a global network of hundreds of spotters. Our trends, examples andinsights are delivered to 160,000 business professionals in more than 180 countries.More information at www.trendwatching.com
 A few reasons why these products are of interest to consumers inmore prosperous economies, too:
Cheap |
‘Cheap’ is king, both because of the recession(reduced spending power), and because of the shiftaway from ‘bling’ towards frugality and practicality asnew status symbols.
Simplicity and convenience |
Small/simple (and cheap!)also rules because of transient lifestyles (more experi-ences in smaller, affordable doses), and the continualneed for more convenience and simplicity. Look for nu-merous FUNCTIONALL innovations to especially do wellin prosperous metropolitan areas ( 
 ), wherebusy, transient lifestyles are the norm.
| Aforementioned 'democratization of design'means even demanding, experienced consumers will bepleased with products from countries and brands previ-ously not known for high quality and design standards.
Sustainability |
Anything using less or no traditional en-ergy, or causing less waste, or boasting longer life ex-pectancy, will go down well with eco-(status) consciousconsumers.
Truly all
FUNCTIONALL is not only about all consumers, it’s also about all
. Count on brands from established consumer societies
brands from emerging nations to come up with numerousFUNCTIONALL innovations. From Tata to Nokia.Here's aselection of themany FUNCTIONALL spottings currentlycoming our way: some of them already popular around the world,others just waiting to make the cross-over from 'emerging' to 'all'.
ComputingThe Classmate PC
, is a low-cost netbook that is sold throughout theworld, often rebranded and sold through local vendors.The third generation of the device was unveiled in June2009, with the aim of meeting ongoing educationalneeds around the world.The
Africa is a 7-inch mini laptop, designedfor developing countries, that sells for USD 99. Thecompany buys excess inventory and discounted com-ponents to keep the price down, which means that onlyminimum specifications are promised on the site.In December 2009,
One Laptop per Child
unveiled de-signs for the XO 3. The computer, which is basically asingle sheet of flexible plastic, featuring touch screentechnology, is due to be released in 2012. Costs shouldremain under USD 100, making it affordable for poor andrich consumers alike.
Food & BeverageNestlé's Maggi
brand of instant noodles was first intro-duced in emerging markets such as India and Pakistan.The brand has since expanded to mature consumer so-cieties, starting with Australia and New Zealand in 2008,where it is marketed as cheap health food.
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Diary giant Danone‘s joint venture with
Bangladesh'sGrameen Bank
, aims to provide nutritious dairy prod-ucts to deprived populations within Bangladesh by  building as many as 50 local micro plants by 2016. Dan-one's experiences in Bangladesh led to the 2008 launchin France of
, a low-cost yogurt line.
Real estate
In April 2009,
Tata Housing
announced plans to build1,300 small apartments outside Mumbai, selling them foras little as USD 7,800. The floor area of the miniatureapartments will be between 218 and 373 square feet.When the scheme was opened to booking in Mumbai inMay 2009, more than 7,000 customers queued to paythe initial booking fee.One to watch if you're into micro-housing (or micro-lodging), not just in developing nations: think 'SingleNation', sustainability, insane real-estate prices, TRAN-SUMERS, the global love affair with travel, and so on.See also the below:
Hospitality The Indian Hotels Company 
has built 21
Ginger Hotels
 across India, with plans to build 50 more within the nextthree to four years. The hotels aim to provide basic con-venience to travelers at very affordable rates, with roomscosting between Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,999.
Tune Hotels
keeps costs down by using a self-serviceonline booking system, minimizing staff and employing apay-as-you-use system for various amenities such asair-conditioning. The chain currently operates five hotelsacross Malaysia and Indonesia, but aims to expand to150 hotels around the world by 2012.In Q2 of this year,
 Air Arabia
plans to open a 300 roombudget hotel at Sharjah International Airport. The hotelwill cater to business travelers and individual guestspassing through the UAE, offering amenitiessuch as agym, pool, wifi, and meeting rooms.
The Grameen Foundation helps the world’s poorest (es-pecially women) improve their lives and escape povertythrough access to microfinance in 23 countries world-wide. Yet it also has a subsidiary in the
United States
Project Enterprise
. Since 2008 Grameen hascollected 1,700 borrowers in New York City, and lastJune (2009) it opened a second branch in Omaha, Ne-braska. (Source: Time Magazine)A similar initiative, online micro-lending platform Kiva,has also expanded operations into the 'developed'world: it has partnered with
, a microfi-nance institution lending in 48 states across the US, and
Opportunity Fund
, a community development financialinstitution based inSan Jose,CA..
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