Diageo highlights at-home ‘theatre’ and digital technology as key socialising trends for 2017

Diageo has identified a number of emerging socialising trends for the year ahead in its first Future Series report, highlighting in particular the growing importance of entertaining at home.

In the report the drinks giant’s innovation team isolated three main social trends expected to accelerate into the mainstream in 2017 across the globe.

The company described the first trend as ‘Exceptional becomes the rule’, whereby socialising is becoming increasingly spontaneous and experimental. Secondly it points to ‘In with the in crowd’, which means the home is turning into a place to create extraordinary experiences for friends and family; and finally ‘Optimise not compromise’, which Diageo said means consumers want greater control and choice over what goes into their body, without compromising on excitement and experience.

Zoe Lazarus, global future and culture planning director at Diageo, said: “At Diageo, we are passionate about creating drinks of the future and helping people celebrate. We have been innovating for hundreds of years and have a strong history as industry pioneers in identifying and responding to trends.

”Innovation drives our company forward and for us it means staying ahead of trends, continually creating new products, categories and experiences for people to enjoy around the world.

”Our success relies not only on understating our consumers today, but also on tracking and responding to emerging socialising trends and behaviours that will become the mainstream of tomorrow.’’

Trend One: The report highlights the increasingly spontaneous and experimental nature of socialising and in particular how this activity is enhanced and enabled by digital technology. “Fixed arrangements make way for spur-of-the-moment socialising that is dictated by the weather, a whim or what’s triggered an online buzz”, the report said. “Our time is precious and we desire more from our free time and crave unique experiences.” As part of this the report highlighted a growing desire from consumers who want to demonstrate their ability through social media, as well as the increasing role Virtual Reality (VR) might play.

Diageo noted it has already delved into this with an immersive VR adventure that allows whisky fans to discover the flavours of its Singleton single malt Scotch whisky.

Trend Two: the home is set to become even more important in the role of socialising this year, with houses set to become “a destination to host events that previously we would have had to go out to enjoy: our personal theatre, pub and club turned into one”.

Again technology plays a big role here with this trend linked to the huge proliferation of on-demand experiences and services, with more products and events available at the touch of a button.

Tapping into this, Diageo said it recently launched its Johnnie Walker digital mentorship programme. Whisky fans can use their tablet, mobile or Amazon Echo devices to be introduced to the brand’s heritage and blending expertise through a variety of unique experiences in the comfort of their own homes.

Trend Three: According to Diageo’s report, 2017 will be the year of choice. “Leading a balanced lifestyle is becoming increasingly achievable and aspirational. The increasing prevalence of clear nutritional and calorie information on packaging makes it easier to manage our diets.”

Diageo said this year people will continue to opt for products and experiences that say something unique about them, with personalisation being key to this.

The producer said it now offers a wider range of options than ever before with products like Baileys Almande, a dairy and gluten-free version of the original in North America; Guinness Zero, a non-alcoholic variant in Indonesia; or Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling Seltzer, a low-carb, zero-sugar option in the United States.

Diageo worked with a team of cultural ethnographers to help compile the report.

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