This woman gets paid to know what you’re going to buy next
Adi Yoffe began a trend-forecasting company that spots changes in consumer behavior, and what's popular on the market, before consumers know themselves. (AFP/File)
Adi Yoffe has made a career of predicting the future.
She is not a psychic, she has no connection to the spiritual world, and she is not a medium. She is a forecasting expert who tries to spot the far-reaching trends that will shape consumer behavior. And some of Israel’s biggest companies are her clients.
“When people talk about trends, they talk about it as a change in behavior, not a product or feature,” she said.
Yaffe, who worked in marketing before deciding to start trend-forecasting company Spotrend, said the practice involves mapping out data points and understanding cultural, sociological and anthropological events to help separate the signals from the noise.
“You have to catch it early, not when it’s already in the newspaper and has a store in the mall,” she said.
Whether it starts by noticing an abundance of beards or an uptick in vegan options, her job is to discover what’s going on. Each year, she publishes a report outlining what’s going to be important in the coming years.
Last year, the central theme was minimal consumption, Yaffe said. People want to have everything at the minimum, just enough; it should take the minimum amount of time, cost the minimum amount of money and impose a minimum of inconvenience.
Catering to that expectation, which is perhaps spurred by ever-quicker and more-convenient technology, will help companies get ahead, she said, citing Uber’s on-demand cabs that require no payment or Amazon toying with speedy delivery by drone.
This year, the ephemeral is in, Yaffe said.
“Everything is temporary. Nothing is permanent,” she said, such as Car2Go, AirBNB and temporary workplaces. In an age where people move around a lot, will hold a dozen jobs in their lifetime and perhaps not even stay married to the same person forever, getting the benefits of permanence with the convenience of being able to upgrade draws people.
“You realize that it’s much deeper than consumption,” Yaffe said, adding that trends with roots in politics, demographics, media and other social factors pop up in every aspect of modern life.
“If you ask people why they do certain things, they won’t always give you the reasons a professional would give you because they’re not even aware of it,” she said.
By Niv Elis
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