|Prof. Kim Ran-do talks about the top 10 trends of 2019 during his lecture in Seoul on Tuesday. Courtesy of CICI|
By Dong Sun-hwa
Knowing of the trends in advance is a key to getting ahead in life. And if you want a clue for what this year has in store, ask Seoul National University's Prof. Kim Ran-do, Korea's best-known consumer behavior scholar.
Kim's answer for the top 10 trends of 2019 would be "PIGGY DREAM." You may guess as much, this year being the lucky Year of the Golden Pig. If you draw a blank after that, you should listen to his lecture or buttonhole him if you can.
I did both at an event hosted by the Korea CQ Forum of the Corea Image Communication Institute (CICI), a global culture promotion advocacy.
"P" stands for "Play the concept," Kim said, explaining that each of 10 letters in PIGGY DREAM stands for one trend in a phrase or sentence, while the all-captialized phrase is his way of paying respect to the lucky animal of the Korean Zodiac.
"Consumers these days value 'concept.' A legion of people unanimously picked the concept as a driving factor behind consumption these days," he said. "For instance, a travel agency's 'gourmet trip' program to France with a prominent chef does not head for the Eiffel Tower but only explores foods in the country. Still, it has been hot among tourists, showing how a distinctive concept can attract people."
Smartphone has brought about such a change, according to Kim. He said people took endless photos of themselves nowadays and uploaded them on social media instead of meeting face to face. Hence, experience itself has gained more power.
"I" refers to "Invite the 'cell market.'" Kim coined the term "cell market," in which consumers sell goods by themselves. As the number of such people has been growing, Kim compared this new market to the cell, the basic unit of life.
"G" is "Going new-tro," a word he coined himself as a modified version of "retro."
"Sporting goods company Fila has 'revived' last year thanks to 1980s style 'old-fashioned' apparel," Kim said. "People did not live through the old days, but they are still fond of these items, so 'new-tro,' rather than 'retro,' is better terminology."
|Professor Kim Ran-do makes a point. Courtesy of CICI|
"G" means "Green survival." Unlike eco-friendly consumption, "green survival" is something compulsory.
"Due to several environmental problems such as fine dust, people have become more environment-conscious and the number of campaigns promoting environmental protection has been rising too," he said.
"Y" is an abbreviation of "You are my proxy emotion."
"The ongoing entertainment shows are packed with panelists who show reactions and leave comments, indirectly expressing the feelings of the viewers," Kim said. Emoticons on KaKao Talk, a popular messenger app, play a similar role by replacing lengthy words, according to Kim.
"People these days resort to 'proxy' to express themselves owing to smartphones and their parents," he said. "The young generation has used short texts to interact with people around since they were young, so many of them find having conversations challenging. Parents, who help their children reach goals and want them to stay away from negative experiences, are responsible as well for weakening their abilities to overcome hardship and freely express themselves."
"D" is a short form of "Data intelligence." Kim stressed that both data and artificial intelligence were crucial, but humans still played a significant role in interpreting collected data.
"R" means "Rebirth of space." Kim said Korea's shopping zones had evolved.
"The first floor of department stores usually sells luxury goods or cosmetics, but now restaurants and shops for daily supplies are taking over the zone," he said. "This is to give an inimitable 'experience' to consumers that online shops cannot provide."
"E" stands for "Emerging 'millennial family.'" According to Kim, Korean families these days pursue "optimum happiness." Mothers, for instance, still want to feed their children well, but they do so in a more simplified way thanks to home meal replacements and other available services that cut labor time. Citing robotic vacuum cleaner as an example, Kim explained that although many housewives did not entirely trust the product, they still used it to clean the house quickly.
In addition, he said many young people these days received financial aid from their parents, even after starting families themselves.
"In the past, children supported their parents, but now it is vice versa," he said.
He said "A" referred to "As being myself," because an increasing number of people were focusing on themselves and becoming less self-conscious.
"Trends in Korea have rapidly changed because people have been excessively aware of others," Kim said. "But now, Koreans do not imitate the general trend, but look for items that fit them well."
He said "M" was for "Manners maketh the consumer."
"To illustrate, many shops these days put notices asking consumers to treat their workers favorably," he said.
|From top left are Jung Tai-nam, architect; Erwan Vilfeu, President of Zuelligpharma Korea; Sohn Ki-young, Chairman & Chief Executive Office of Enzychem; Jackie Son, Senior Manager at Crown Worldwide; Weon Hee-soo, CEO of Dabuholdings; Han Yun-jung, CEO of Hankook Shinyak; Meng Seo-hyun, President of CNC Company; Ian Jeong, Director of Jeong-Ian Oriental Medicine Clinic; Koo Jin-joo, Plan Korea Advisor; Peteris Vaivars, Latvian Ambassador; Yip Wei Kiat, Singaporean Ambassador; James Park, Director of BIO Plastic Surgery; Shim Jae-Yun, Managing Editor of Korea Times; Jay Kim, President of JC Decaux; Ryu Kwon-ha, President of JoongAng Daily; Vivian Han, CEO of Congdu; Crystal Park, Interpreter; From bottom left are Park So-yoon, Representing Researcher of Lemonade&Co.; Didier Beltoise, President of Cs; Rina Okumura-Vaivara, Spouse of Latvian Ambassador; Valerie Boissonneault, Representative Director of Quebec Government Office in South Korea; Park Hae-won, President of CHA Bio F&C; Choi Jung-wha, President of CICI; Kim Ran-do, Lecturer and Head of Consumer Trends Analysis Center of SNU; Lee Byeong-eon, The Korea Times President; Kim Hye-kyung, Vice Chair of Enzychem; Dong Sun-hwa, The Korea Times reporter. Courtesy of CICI|