Chicago research company Mintel has released its 2014 consumer trends report, predicting that the future will be a collection of conflations: thinking globally but acting locally and wanting technological advancements to make life simpler.

Social media and other innovations help eliminate the barriers and boundaries formerly presented by geography. One benefit of newfound global views is that people come to see themselves as citizens of the world. This expansion will help to evolve the definition of “local” beyond one’s immediate surroundings to their now far-away hometown, ancestral roots or simply to a place to which they feel a connection.

The demand for instant gratification will continue to drive consumers, who want faster solutions to their problems, resulting in technology that answers those problems – only to lead to a demand for even faster solutions. Wearable and more accessible technology can provide consumers with solutions to problems they weren’t even aware of having.

In reaction to concerns resulting from hyper-connectivity, consumers will become exceedingly cognizant of the need to unplug, simplify and reconnect with the world around them. Americans will need to know when to unplug, which could lead to reconnecting with tangible and personal surroundings. This creates a need for products, places and people that force consumers to disconnect, such as establishments that ban the use of cell phones or offer an incentive for voluntarily putting them away.

Skittish Americans continue to anticipate and prepare for both the major and the minor events that could interrupt their status quo. More than five years after the Great Recession, emotions are still running high, as 72 percent of U.S. adults don’t like the idea of being in debt.To download a full copy of Mintel’s report, visit

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