‘FroYo’ (frozen yoghurt) has become increasingly popular among Australians with its sweeter-than-ice-cream taste and endless variety of flavours, toppings, and sauces. Franchises such as Menchie’s, Moochi, Crave Australia, Yogurtland, Yogurberry, Noggi, and wowcow – not to mention countless others – have popped up in nearly every Australian shopping centre and suburb. Dessert buyers are drawn to the unique choices and oftentimes self-serve option of froyo bars, being able to make every purchase uniquely their own.
While selfies have been around since early MySpace and Flickr days – many featuring teenagers taking self-portraits with low-pixel cameras in front of poorly-lit bathroom mirrors – selfies are now commonplace not just among young people but even adults, eager to share self-portraits on social media sites. The action of taking selfies has been commonplace for a number of years, but it is in 2013 that the word itself has gained broader traction, being coined the ‘word of the year’ by Oxford Dictionary. Aussies should be proud, as the term ‘selfie’ can first be traced back to a comment made on an Australian internet forum from 2002. From Kevin Rudd to Barack Obama, 2013 was definitely the ‘Year of the Selfie.’
‘Swag’ is a popular internet slang term used to describe someone who exudes confidence, sometimes interpreted as arrogance. The term ‘swagger’ or ‘swagga’ emerged through American hip-hop tracks in the late 2000s and is also a Scottish slang word. In popular speak ‘swag’ is no longer just an internet term but is used as an affirmative compliment with a meaning similar to the word ‘cool.’ It’s unlikely that ‘swag’ will have the long-term traction that ‘cool’ has had over the years, but for now, it remains a term clearly overused, especially by Generation Z. The term ‘boss’ is used in a similar sense by Generation Ys to compliment a person who is awesome, excellent, or outstanding.
The 17-year old Kiwi singer-songwriter has taken the charts by storm with her single ‘Royals’ and the release of her debut album Pure Heroine in September 2013 which has risen to the Top on US, UK, and the Australian iTunes charts. As the first New Zealand solo artist to top the US Billboard Hot 100, Lorde has demonstrated musical and lyrical talent comparable to artists who have been in the industry for decades. Lorde’s first Australian show at July’s Splendour in the Grass in Byron Bay drew a crowd of 10,000 people, followed by an extensive sold-out tour across the nation in October this year.
The video-sharing app Vine was launched on January 24th 2013 and has become a popular platform to share short, six second video clips across social media networks. Vine topped the iOs App Store for most downloaded app on April 9 and within six months of its release had generated a following of 40 million users. Developed by Twitter, the app integrates a user’s Twitter information, and, similar to Instagram, features a scrollable feed of all your friends’ vines on the homescreen. Vine’s popularity has been boosted by the Facebook page, Best Vines, featuring many of the funniest and most clever vines published and has been ‘liked’ by over 18 million users.
6. Meme of the Year: Harlem Shake
What would 2013 have been without a viral beat to get the world moving and shaking? The Harlem Shake was an internet meme started by a comedy sketch video released in February 2013 that presented a group of people dancing to the song Harlem Shake by American electronic musician Baauer. Within days, uploading new variants of the dance (featuring a group of people shaking to a 30 second clip of the original song) became a viral trend and by February 15, 40,000 Harlem Shake videos had been uploaded online, totalling 75 million views with a global following. While not quite hitting the heights of Gangnam Style in 2012, the Harlem Shake has definitely been an internet sensation.
7. Viral Campaign of the Year: ‘Dumb Ways to Die’
The Dumb Ways to Die campaign is a public service announcement in the form of a 3 minute video released by Metro Trains in Melbourne that sparked immediate YouTube popularity. The video features a number of animated characters dying in idiotic ways, ending with three characters who are killed by train due to unsafe behaviours. The video had 4.7 million views within 3 days and, by November 2013, had over 65 million views.
Community-oriented co-working spaces are now available for day use or monthly membership across Australia’s capital cities, featuring inspiring work spaces in which entrepreneurs and creative professionals can collaborate on projects with like-minded people outside of their business or industry. In the same way, social networking sites such as AirBnB and CouchSurfing are making it commonplace for individuals to lodge travellers and short-term guests in their private homes. Through collaborating in co-working spaces or providing short-term accommodation to strangers, Australians are saying goodbye to real-world privacy.
9. Media Event of the Year: The Birth of Prince George
No other event this year has sparked the same level of media coverage as the birth of Prince George of Cambridge, son of Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. Hundreds of reporters waited outside of Mary’s hospital in London for days before the birth, and when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge finally emerged with their son, crowds were ecstatic and the world was watching. Analytics reported that 5% of global news consumption across 100,000 news sites was related to the royal birth on 22 July 2013.
When Japanese performers began dressing up as cartoon characters and Miley Cyrus twerked in a unicorn onesie, Australians were quick to follow. The onesie – a one-piece jumpsuit for adults, usually replicating an animal character – hit the fashion scene to its full extent mid-2013. The Japanese label Kigu was the first mass importer of onesies in Australia, with mainstream fashion labels ASOS and Urban Outfitters soon catching on to the trend, and Australia’s leading retail stores not far behind. Young Gen Ys could be spotted at house parties, in pubs, and even on street wearing their onesies loud and proud.
11. Fashion Trend of the Year: Sportswear as Street Fashion
2013 saw an increase in women actively wearing work-out clothes outside of the gym. Women are increasingly creating a public image around health and vitality by sporting lycra tights and bright-coloured tanks to run errands or catch up with girlfriends. Brands like Lorna Jane, LuluLemon, and Nike have mixed fashion and fitness to produce sought-after activewear that combines technology with lifestyle flair. Women are increasingly proud – and willing to pay big bucks – to be spotted in high-tech gear that has become an emblem of success and vitality.
Increasing online shopping, bulk buying and further growth in private label brands have taken 2013 by storm, highlighting how dollar-savvy Australian consumers are. From coupon clipping to daily deal websites, Aussie consumers are increasingly looking for the best bang-for-buck when it comes to products and services. Wholesale retailers such as Costco have sprung up in New South Wales, the ACT, and Victoria, offering bulk-pricing for everyday consumables, and Aussies are buying in. Cost of living is certainly still front-of-mind for everyday Australians and it has impacted where we buy, what we buy, and how we buy.
13. Technology Trend of the Year: Kinaesthetic Devices
From the ubiquity of touch-screens to fingerprint sensors and eye tracking devices, kinaesthetic interactivity with portable devices has been on the rise. Game consoles such as Xbox One are now able to track eye movements to engage players in live-time interactivity, and gesture-controlled mouses are slowly hitting the market through tech-enthusiastic funding on Kickstarter. From Windows 8’s multitouch technology to Apple’s Touch ID designs and fingerprint sensor, there is no doubt that interconnectivity with our technology devices will continue to increase.
Mark McCrindle is a social researcher with an international renown for tracking emerging issues, researching social trends and analysing customer segments.