Three key trends for 2020 that creative retailers can use in product development

Three key trends for 2020 that creative retailers can use in product development
Joanne Griffin
Joanne GriffinProduct Development & DesignArnold & Bird

Posted: Tue 25th Jun 2019

Want to know what is going to be on trend for 2020? Joanne Griffin, Enterprise Nation member and founder of Arnold & Bird, explains why trends matter, how you can use them and three key trends to incorporate into your business.

Running a business means it can sometimes be difficult to find the time, money and resources to research new ideas.

If you struggle to find the time to plan ahead as orders, customer service and admin get in the way, but you'd like to know what your customers are thinking and doing and how you can create products they'll love, cue three key trends for 2020 and why they're here to stay.

Three key trends for 2020

Planet Earth

Discover the future of how we will be creating products with sustainability at the forefront.

Conscious effects of climate change means the increased usage of natural materials. Consumers are looking for brands to be more ethical and transparent as their personal values develop.

In turn sustainability is not seen as a trend, but as a movement that needs to be acted on.

Time hop

Going back in time to the 80s, 90s & 00s for design references.

Brands are using references that harp back to 'the good old days' of design from the 1970s onwards. Plus 20 years have passed since the noughties so this decade is now considered vintage!

Being in an uncertain political climate it's easy to reminisce; it brings a feeling of safety and happiness. If the news isn't providing positivity then consumers will seek it elsewhere.


Forget green smoothies, this a detox and spiritual awakening in all aspects of your life.

How many times have you hit your screen time limit this week? Despite being addicted, people are craving more time spent together IRL instead of online.

And people aren't trying to 'keep up with the Kardashians' anymore and are now seeking personal connections and authenticity (despite it being an overused word).

We've reached peak 'stuff' so we see a move towards sharing experiences and bespoke designs instead of empty gifts.

Why do trends matter?

Most people associate the words trends mainly with fashion. However, trends affect all retail businesses including food, technology, home accessories and stationery.

It's hard to ignore trends as they make up all the information and images we process on a daily basis. And the word trends sometimes gets a bad rap. Especially when you think of fad trends that become a bit tacky. Hello pugs and unicorns!

So the way I look at trends is that it is all of the visual inspiration we digest on a daily basis. From scrolling on Pinterest and visiting exhibitions to reading magazines and visiting shops.

So even if you think you don't follow trends then inspiration and bigger cultural shifts are influencing the way you develop your product range and appeal to your customers.

How to use trends in your product development

Using the headlines of the three trends above, it's now time to take action throughout your product development and creative research. Make notes, ideas and doodles from your inspiration as and when it comes.

A physical mood board is a great way to get ideas out of your head, be focused and see how ideas fit together. Decide on one theme to focus on and pull together the key ideas and elements you want to work with. Pinterest also works well but do consider making a creative mess from time to time!

Once you have your mood board then make lots of notes with product ideas you can develop and then come back to them a few days later to see what you still like. These are the ideas to move forward with and start prototyping.

And remember for each trend and in turn product idea you come up with, make sure to ask yourself:

  • Do you personally like it?

  • Can you interpret it in a new way?

  • Does this trend fit with my customers' lifestyle?

  • How will this product make my customers feel?

  • Can you develop this trend into a whole new collection, or would it just be one product?

Further research and inspiration

Get more information on the three trends and how they relate to product categories including fashion and jewellery, home and stationery, baby and child, beauty, food and weddings in the 2020 trends guides. Prices start at £35 including an MP3 recording. Use code EN for 20% off here.

Joanne Griffin
Joanne GriffinProduct Development & DesignArnold & Bird
I’m Joanne Griffin, the retail product specialist and designer behind Arnold & Bird.   Wondering what a retail product specialist and designer does? Here’s the lowdown…   I spend my time working collaboratively with homeware and gift brands to bring their creative ideas to life with a commercial edge.   Combining over 13 years of industry knowledge and design skills, I offer bespoke services that cover the full retail spectrum. From range planning and sales analysis to product design and branding, I work from a creative and commercial point of view to help develop brands and ranges that not only look the part but, that are intentionally planned to sell and grow your business too.   I’ll work to breathe new life and inspiration into your retail business and help you to translate and make possible your plans. With an intuitive and inspiring approach, together we’ll define your business needs and move you from creative overwhelm to commercial action.   Every retail business is different and so my services are entirely bespoke and collaborative to create a meaningful experience that works for you and your business goals.

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