Gen Y is creating its own service economy.

The 12 Trends That Will Rule Products In 2013

Think 2013 will spell the end of good old analog and human interaction? Eh, not so fast according to a group of agency experts.

Written by: Chris Butler

Near the end of 2012, a group of us at Ziba got together to review what we’d learned over the course of the year. Working with dozens of clients who serve customers around the world, we designers spend a lot of time observing people as they interact with technology, services, and experiences, noticing how they seek solutions to everyday problems and make decisions. In the process, certain patterns emerge so forcefully that they’re practically unavoidable.

Meeting over three sessions spread out over a week, 23 Zibites (designers, researchers, and creative directors) discussed the patterns we’d seen, and distilled them down to the 12 insights we thought were most current and useful, to us and to our clients. Each one is presented here, as a brief essay that suggests how it will affect business practices in 2013, and as an illustration created by one of Ziba’s designers.


Gen Y is creating its own service economy.

An entire generation of young people has access to something unprecedented in history: a complete ecosystem of services provided by people their own age. When a startup run by three recent college grads can take on a century-old multinational, it transforms markets. Sometimes this means an age group split, like AirBnb vs. VRBO, or Etsy vs. eBay. And sometimes it means a Gen Y company like Facebook can leverage its enthusiastic peer group, and then grow to rule the world.

Take younger competitors seriously, and learn from them. Gen Y is defined by optimism, social engagement, and digital fluency, and these are attributes that can attract older customers as well. The key is to act as an enabler, not a controller: Give them a flexible platform and they’ll not only give you their business, they’ll bring Mom and Dad along too.



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