GROUP BUYING TO SAVE CASH: More companies are predicted to jump on this bandwagon in 2011, ushering in sales and steals for you—whether you’re looking for a helicopter ride over New York City, a great spa, or tickets to your favorite game. Websites such as Groupon and Living Social have made offering discounts a team effort, where daily deals are redeemable only after a certain number of people buy into them. Even companies such as Wal-Martand Zagat have offered group-buying deals. And more Websites, both with regional and national deals, are gaining traction, including Tippr, Juice in The City, and Crowdsavings.
FITNESS AS A PARTY: Staying fit now seems more like a night out with friends than grueling workouts at a gym. “We’ve moved away from step classes with fairly limited moves, to group fitness classes that draw dance from all around the world—African, South America, Asia,” says Leslie Nolen, president at theRadial Group, a firm that specializes in marketing and strategy for health and wellness businesses. “I think one of the most important developments in fitness is the idea that being active can and should be fun.” From Zumba to Bellyfit to Yoga Booty Ballet to Striptease Aerobics toSamba, incorporating dancing, socializing, sensuality, and creativity makes staying in shape feel like you never left the New Year’s Eve party.
EXOTIC LEISURE TRAVEL: According to a TripAdvisor.com survey, 90% of respondents plan to take two or more leisure trips this year. And 69% of travelers plan to take international trips. Top domestic locations continue to be major cities such as New York, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., and Orlando, according to Travel Leaders Group. Adventure tours and cruises are the popular options this year. The new Disney Dream cruise ship takes its inaugural trip Jan. 26., with the industry’s first watercoaster. And hot international spots off the beaten path include the Philippines (with the pristine beaches of Pamalican Island); Australia (in the aftermath of Oprah’s amazing trip with 300 audience members); and India (with its upcoming Cricket World Cup).
GEOSOCIAL NETWORKING: The idea of people knowing where you are and what you’re doing at all times might seem daunting to some, but this trend is one that’s expected to continue picking up speed since the introduction of Foursquare. Sites such as FastSociety.com and LikeOurselves.com are making it easier for people to link up with friends or meet new people who have similar interests in real-time without much planning or fuss. Phone apps allow you to coordinate meet-ups, find new hotspots of interest, and even make love connections—no phone call, text message, or e-mail invite needed.
ENGAGEMENTCATION: Sounds like quite a spelling bee doozy, but according to American Express Travel, this trend will continue gaining momentum. The usual drop-down-on-one-knee at his or her favorite restaurant for a marriage proposal seems not as alluring as wisking her (or him) away to pop the question.
EXTREME RACING: Fitness buffs are predicting triathlons, ultramarathons, and other types of challenging races will continue an upsweep in popularity. Races such as the Lotoja Classic, a 206-mile bicycle race that starts in Utah and ends in Montana, are prime options for those who want push their mental and physical stamina to the limit this year.
QUICK MOBILE COMMERCE: In 2011, accessibility and convenience are key. Reports of Google’s plans to incorporate NFC technology that enables purchases to be made by waving a device over a receiver at store registers have trend watchers predicting this will become more of the norm this year. Beyond simply purchasing items or redeeming coupons and deals from your phone, buying groceries, clothing and other items becomes a cinch via “bumping,” saving just that much more time in your busy day.
CONVENIENT CUISINE: More convenience stores are ramping up their food offerings, with some expanding their fare with grab-and-go options, including prepared goods, fresh bread and other offerings you probably wouldn’t have found on a typical late-night trip for toiletries. Also, restaurants and chefs have been going the food truck and pop-up route, with more expected this year. So what was once a foodie faux-pas (a la street food) option becomes an on-the-go stop you can’t resist.
TABLET TAKEOVER: Apple sparked major pandemonium with the introduction of the iPad last year, and the tablet sales are expected to rise to $46 billion by 2014. And the price is set to go down by the end of the year, hitting less than $300 by 2015. From Samsung’s Galaxy Tab to other versions popping into the market, these devicesprovide the PC experience in a sleek, lightweight and super-portable package and are set to be a tech necessity.
ALL THAT IS GREEN: More of the population is moving back into major cities, where public transportation is more the norm than getting into the driver’s seat and taking the freeway. Auto companies have taken notice as well with green car technology advances. With moreincentives to conserve the Earth, getting on the road to eco-friendly isn’t such a bad idea in 2011.