by Jennifer Barham
2023 is here and it’s definitely not too early to begin looking at the forecast for the new year’s trends and cycles that might affect or influence your trade show planning.
Everyone eagerly awaits Pantone’s announcement of their yearly color –Digital Lavender for 2023 – and that’s because the color influences fashion, home décor, lifestyle choices, and more. Similarly, other trends impact various areas of business and life.
Here are the predictions for the top trends on the horizon that might, in one way or another, affect your trade show program.
COLOR: The craze in color for the coming year reflects all things natural, and distant from institutional neutrals. Colors found in nature, both bright bolds and subtler hues, are on the palette. Even the color names reflect the nod to the organic: Krylon’s Spanish Moss, Benjamin Moore’s Raspberry Blush, Glidden’s Vining Ivy, BH&G’s Canyon Ridge. Consider a color refresh in your trade show booth to draw attendees' eyes to your brand.
FASHION: The clothing arena continues to harken back to the 80s and 90s. Baggy jeans, supersized blazers, glitter and lame and sequins and fringe and tassels are the order of the day. Neon colors and tie-dye clothing will continue to abound. There looks to also be an upswing in utilitarian details for hands-free living – think cargo pants, jackets and more.
TRAVEL: Recent travel headaches and "___demic" rates notwithstanding, people are feeling safer to travel and venture farther away from home. However, the urge to adventure is curbed slightly by an awareness of ongoing economic uncertainties worldwide. For these reasons, travel is trending away from luxury getaways and exotic locales and toward the great outdoors and less expensive off-the-beaten-path destinations. Small towns, nostalgic havens, and cultural adventures are the at the top of travelers’ lists. Family and multi-generational travel are also expected to continue soaring.
FOOD: The food industry will continue to grow in the direction it’s been headed for many years – non-GMO, healthy, organic. The introduction of plant-based meat and dairy offerings lit a fire that keeps growing. Expect pasta alternatives – chickpea spaghetti and sweet potato penne -- as well as even premium pet foods. And while salsa and soy sauce were once the multi-cultural condiments of choice, many globally-inspired sauces and oils are flooding the shelves now. Another change to keep an eye on is the move toward “slow food” and authenticity over short cuts and quick meals.
HOME DESIGN: Like the color and food trends, home design is seeing a return to the natural. Holistic design and eco-consciousness rule the day in both buildings and furnishings. “Biophilic design” – a concept that encourages connecting homeowners to their environment – is already seen in home décor that is natural, like the use of baskets and jute and plants. Plan for it to keep trending up in the next year. Also expect the return of art deco and vintage and antique furniture – a return to things of days gone by like other trends we’ve watched. One fun trend that’s happening is that patterns have returned. Say “goodbye” to the blank walls and monochromatic furnishings and “hello” to pattern play on wallpapers, couches, curtains, and more.
TECHNOLOGY: I assumed this category would offer many trends for 2023, but it seems that all of the technological trends are really just wrapped up in one: Artificial Intelligence. AI will bring us even smarter devices, datafication, cyber security, and more in 2023 and use of AI within your trade show exhibit will not only be a crowd draw; companies are using interactive options to allow attendees to use their products on the spot, tour facilities, and personalize their experience.
CONSUMER: One mark that the pandemic has left on consumers is a change in priorities. This next year will bring even more reduced discretionary spending (dining out, gym memberships, entertainment out) and more staying at home. Food preparation and dining at home, spending less on clothes and grooming, and cutting back on treats like dining out, and even limiting vacations are all areas that consumers rank as important to them right now.
LIFESTYLE: Lifestyle trends that increased in popularity during the pandemic are again rising in favor. Social activism, self-improvement, being outdoors, and working from home or at home are trending up once more. It seems the pendulum has swung both ways and is now settling in the middle a bit.
HEALTH & WELLNESS: Always a popular and ever-changing category, health and wellness is in for some new trends as well. While there has been a focus on mind over body and alternative medicines for a while, this next year we will begin hearing more about circadian health (based on the body’s rhythms) and whole health communities. And despite the Crossfit craze of the past decades and its continued success, low-intensity workouts are actually catching up to it as people seek a mind/body experience that is more soothing than rigorous. Along those lines, an interest in spiritual wellness is growing and doesn’t look to be slowing anytime soon.
After taking a look at the current and upcoming trends, consider how they might impact your trade show marketing program. Perhaps you need an update in your booth’s colors or furnishings. We can help with that! Perhaps you need to expand the menu at your evening mixer. Perhaps you need to balance your brand messaging to speak to the attendees’ mind, body, and spirit. Contemplate how you might “get current” and let us know how we can help.
Photo by 愚木混株 cdd20