SXSW 2013 vs 2014 Trends: Same Talk, More Walk

February 13, 2014

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As we gear up to track the hot trends and topics at SXSW 2014 from our FleishmanHillard black box Lounge, we took a moment to look back at the buzz that emerged from last year’s festival and what’s predicted to be the buzz this year. What we found: same talk, more walk.

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2013, for example, was all about data – big data, small data, and just data in general, with sales of big-data-related products and services growing to more than $18 Billion last year. Companies are continuing to make strides to turn big data’s promise into a reality – with execs pushing for more analytics and the development of best practices for gathering, analyzing, and applying data and insights that will improve customer experiences, increase returns on marketing efforts, and drive positive business outcomes.

Overall, a shift from software to hardware was also a big development at SXSW 2013, and though there’s certainly still a possibility that the next big app will launch in Austin this year, the move seems to be here to stay. The mainstream launch of 3D printing, for example, which had previously existed only in very small niche markets, has only become more relevant over the past year as brands and start-ups figure out how to make it affordable and accessible for avariety of industries.

Similarly, Google Glass has slowly been rolled out to small test markets and influential consumers, coined “Explorers” and recently made headlines when it launched a new, much more fashion-forward design. Along with a host of other wearable tech gadgets, which have exploded over the past year, we are expecting to see a lot of new wearables grow even more popular with wider audiences – in particular following the 2014 International CES and the debut of smartwatches like Pebble and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear.

Of course, there are certainly new trends expected for SXSW 2014. Online privacy, for example, has taken off following last fall’s NSA scandals and the growing question of what many social networks and platforms are doing with the massive amounts of data they have collected from users worldwide. Meanwhile, collaboration and the sharing economy is growing more popular, with companies like Airbnb and learning platforms like CodeAcademy making it big with the general public. And finally, the possible launch of Twitter e-commerce and the buzz around mobile payment platforms like Square and Coin are growing as marketers continue to find new ways to utilize popular social networks.

What do you think will be hot this year at SXSW 2014? Tweet us @Fleishman with hashtag #FHblackbox to suggest a topic we should add to our watch list.  Stay tuned for more predictions from our team, and be sure to stop by our FH black box Lounge in Austin from March 7 to 11 to learn how we’re making big data small.