This insightful interview with trend forecaster, Cecile Poignant, identifies some important trends that are changing the way we live as families and households and how we will use our homes in the future.
As a trend forecaster, Cécile Poignant passionately studies the evolution of socio-cultural trends, identifying weak signals that announce major future trends in order to anticipate new consumer behaviors and help brands to create their future.
Through the years, she has consulted with international brands like l’Oréal Paris, Richemont, Nissan, Philips, her strategic studies inform their product development, market research and innovation.
A sought-after speaker for her keen insights, Cécile speaks at numerous international conferences on various subjects and leads workshops with experienced professionals such as Procter and Gamble, Pernod Ricard. She also teaches Trend Forecasting and Innovation at Parsons Paris, IFM Paris and The American University of Paris.
Interview by Emma Hedges
TM: How do you think that family life will be different in the future?
CP: It will be very different because more people are going to be living in big cities. Also people are getting healthier and living longer, so there’ll be more older people, and more solo people because the whole idea of the traditional family is a thing of the past.
There is a greater awareness that we need to reinvent the way we live and be more conscious of the things we buy, the food we eat. We are also not going to travel the same way, we are not going to use the car the same way.There is a greater awareness that we need to reinvent the way we live and be more conscious of the things we buy, the food we eat – Cecile Poignant, Trend Forecaster @cecilepoignant Click To Tweet
TM: How do you think this will change the way people live in their homes?
CP: The way we’re going to live in the future will be very different. For instance, there’ll be a fixation on energy – how much energy we use and how not to waste it.
The fact that square metres in every big city are getting more expensive has meant that we have a lot of co-working spaces, and co-living spaces are on the horizon. So it might mean you have your own private bedroom and bathroom but you are going to share your kitchen and living room with others.
In the Netherlands we’re seeing households develop that are mixing people of different ages , and people who aren’t working any more are living with young students.
We’re going to have to find ways of doing things that have a lower impact on the planet – buying local food and developing urban farming on rooftops, balconies and terraces.
I recently read something that I thought was very wise – someone said ‘I don’t want to eat vegetables that have travelled more than me!’ We’ll all start to be more aware that things like avocados might taste great, but aren’t good for the planet.
I guess we’ll also be more conscious of water – finding a way to master our consumption. We’re going to have more carbon-neutral kitchens – trying not to use too much energy, and at the same time trying to produce it.We’re going to have more carbon-neutral kitchens – trying not to use too much energy, and at the same time trying to produce it – Cecile Poignant, Trend Forecaster @cecilepoignant Click To Tweet
TM: How will the carbon-neutral kitchen be different from the kitchens we have today?
CP: We’re going to have to be more aware of what we waste, so it means cooking things from scratch. Finding a new way to have energy could mean using fewer devices for things you could do by hand, without using a machine and water.
Maybe using more dry food that you can store without energy. It’ll mean trying to maximise when you use your oven… not cooking one thing when the oven is hot, but using it for several things.
It’s about taking more control of what you eat and the way you cook it, which is very linked to the whole idea of wellness. I think this kind of holistic approach is going to be in the way people are going to eat, how they are going to prepare food and who they’re going to share it with.
TM: How are people going to spend their leisure time at home in future?
CP: Young people are going to be less focused on owning a house because this whole generation has grown up with the idea you don’t need to own things to use them – they don’t have records, they just listen to music on Spotify; they don’t have DVDs, they just watch movies on Netflix; and they don’t have a car, they just rent it when they need it – and it’s the same with bicycles.
They are used to being nomads and travelling from place to place – maybe spending two years in one city and then moving to another continent. So I think socialising for them is different to how it was for, say, my parents’ generation where they used to have a home – a living room, a dining room – and they would invite people there… Socialisation is still going to be important but not in the same way. Maybe it will be in a co-living space with semi-public spaces where they can bring food and share dinner with other people, or maybe they’ll just go outside.
There will be a need to have public spaces and private spaces – you can have your own private bedroom, your own private bathroom, but then you can share a living room or dining room or kitchen.
Kids today spend a lot of time on their beds – they watch TV, they work, they engage with friends, they read and they eat on their beds. It’s a bit like when you’re in a hotel – if you have a laptop you put it on your knees when you’re on the bed.
Maybe what we thought was the designation of a room is not relevant any more – is the bedroom only the place where we sleep? Now it’s the place where you do a lot of things.Cecile Poignant, Trend-Forecaster
I guess we need to find a balance between private spaces and public spaces. In Switzerland, in a building people might share the same washing machine and dryers. On the basement floor you have things that are for everyone – you don’t need to have your own washing machine privately in your own kitchen.
TM: Are there any other major trends coming through that you think are going to be influential?
CP: I think people are following up on Marie Kondo’s idea of decluttering your home and getting rid of the things you don’t need, and they’re starting to understand that consumption might not be an answer to everything.
To throw away less we need to use less – use less energy and be more conscious of consumption – to go back to nature in a way.
As well as the idea of less, is the idea of being ‘slow’ – this is very important. People want to make things themselves, they want to take their time, they want to have things that are local. Maybe that means they are going to go on holiday somewhere that isn’t so far from their home – maybe taking a train instead of the plane for sustainable reasons, but also because it is a bit slower.
The whole idea of ‘slow’ and ‘less’ is important.
TM: Do you think there is a backlash there against the speed with which we have everything available to us now?
CP: Yes – we’re now used to having everything everywhere, all the time. So it is a bit difficult to go back to an idea that in the future we are not going to have everything, everywhere at any time. We need to find a way to see that not as something that is a punishment, or bad, or not interesting.
I think when we see the success, for instance, of mindfulness, people doing meditation and trying to appreciate the present moment, we’ll see the whole idea of ‘speed’ that we used to think was better because it was faster, smarter and so on, as something that might not be that good.
Before, the idea of wellness was about taking care of your body… but now it is not just your body – it’s also your soul and being aware of your mental health.
When we speak about food, we now start to speak about the food that is good for the brain, and we start to see something like sugar as how we used to see tobacco 10 or 15 years ago – as an addiction problem.
All that is really shifting to a more holistic view.As well as the idea of less, is the idea of being ‘slow’ – this is very important. People want to make things themselves, they want to take their time, they want to have things that are local – Cecile Poignant, Trend Forecaster… Click To Tweet