Corporate marketers are paid to think five years ahead of the curve.
Like hockey great Wayne Gretzky, who once said that he didn't skate to to where the puck is, but "where it would be", today's marketers have to know where the consumer marketplace is going, not where it is right now.
Forrester Research is trying to help. I've talked with and interviewed Forrester analysist many times over the years. I believe that, of all the technology market resarch and industry analysis firms, Forrester is at the top of the list.
So when the company delivers a major report on the major consumer technology markets over the next five years, it's a good idea to sit up and take notice.
In the report, titled “The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2007”, Forrester, says that devices that make up the digital home, such as digital video recorders, high-definition televisions (HDTVs), and home networks will be the consumer technologies that grow the fastest over the next five years.
The analysis covers five-year forecasts for 15 consumer technologies. Let's take a look at the highlights from the report.
1. Adoption of digital video recorders (DVRs), which were in only 21 million US households at the end of last year, will more than triple to be in more than 69 million households by 2012.
2. Home networks, in use by nearly 21 million households in 2006, will be in more than 58 million households by 2012.
3. Big price drops drove HDTVs into an additional 7.3 million households in the past year, and by the end of this year, more than 36 million households will have an HDTV, eventually growing to more than 69 million households in 2012.
4. Adoption of camera phones will continue its torrid pace, jumping from 41.6 million households at the end of 2006 to nearly 97 million households in 2012.
5. Despite the introduction of a new generation of video game consoles, growth in consoles will remain flat, inching up just 14 percent over the next five years.
6. Growth of MP3 players will slow as more consumers choose to access their music via mobile phones. The number of households with standalone MP3 devices will go from just over 40 million at the end of this year to 48.4 million in 2012.
What strikes me about the Forrester report is that virtually all of the technologies that the analysts are touting are technologies that already exist. HD TV's, camera phones, home networks -- they're already on the scene.
Where are tomorrow's Wii's, GPS systems, and iPhones? I'd be surprised if the technology industry doesn't produce something new and revolutionary that will be a top-seller in 2010.
That said, the Forrester Report does isoldate potential areas of growth for consumer technology companies. For that reason alone, such companies should check it out.