Cocooning is the act of insulating or hiding oneself from the normal social environment, which may be perceived as distracting, unfriendly, dangerous, or otherwise unwelcome, at least for the present. Technology has made cocooning easier than ever before. The telephone and the Internet are inventions that made possible a kind of socialized cocooning in which one can live in physical isolation while maintaining contact with others through telecommunication.
On the web, there is an online store specialized in cocooning products for home and garden. You can browse a list of selected and tested items like housewares, furnitures, electronics, spa, fitness ant other security products.
The term was popularized in the 1990s by marketing consultant Faith Popcorn in her book The Popcorn Report: The Future of Your Company, Your World, Your Life. Popcorn suggested that cocooning could be broken down into three different types: the socialized cocoon, in which one retreats to the privacy of one's home; the armored cocoon, in which one establishes a barrier to protect oneself from external threats; and the wandering cocoon, in which one travels with a technological barrier that serves to insulate one from the environment.
A common example of home-based cocooning is staying in to watch videos instead of going to the movies. Wandering cocooning is evident in those who exercise or walk around the city while being plugged in with earphones to a private world of sound. Wireless technologies such as cell phones and PDAs have added a new dimension of social cocooning to wandering cocooning by allowing people to include selected others in their mobile cocoon. Examples of armored cocooning include network firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs), surveillance cameras, and spyware-blocking software applications.
One book we recommend :The Popcorn Report : Faith Popcorn on the Future of Your Company, Your World, Your Life
by Faith Popcorn "These are bizarre times..." (more)
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One of the biggest established trends on the market front today, and still gathering momentum, is cocooning - the desire to perform the majority of social and cultural interactions (working, entertaining, relaxing, etc.) from home, rather than by going outside the home. This trend was strongly reinforced by the 9/11 tragedy, as many people began to review their lives and, sometimes for the first time, consciously decide how they wanted to live them rather than just letting life happen to them and going with the flow.
This poses an obstacle for many businesses who rely on brick and mortar style storefronts and foot traffic, as well as for those in the entertainment industries who rely on people "going out" for a large part of their income. The advent of home theaters, rec-room "bars" or "cafe corners" - sometimes better stocked and appointed than local business versions - and similar cocooning-based home improvements are becoming more and more popular as people are rediscovering the delights of having friends and family over for social time as opposed to meeting them outside the home in a third-party establishment. This trend is here to stay, according to all economic markers, so what are some of the ways in which your business can take advantage of this trend rather than being diminished by it? Here are some ideas:
1. Create a "house call" option for whatever you do. Now of course this doesn't work in all fields, but you'd be surprised how many it can be extended to, given a little creativity and thought. For example, a new car dealer might consider creating an exclusive "We bring it to you!" option for pre-qualified buyers, where interested parties can submit an application online, choose the model they're interested in from an on-screen "sales lot" and have a sales person drive it to their house for the test-drive and negotiations. Where can your business create a house-call option to encourage cocooners to purchase with you?
2. Reconfigure services and other offerings to allow for in-home variations of previously outside-only availability. For example, the recent boom of home-delivered DVD rentals does just this - you pay a consistent monthly fee and keep the movies as long as you want, sending them back when you're ready to trade them in for new titles. No longer do you need to leave the house to stay home for movie night - the ultimate expression of cocooning. How can you recreate your service or product to meet your customers' desires to stay in?
3. Consider adding "companion services" that make your service or product more attractive to cocooning customers. A pizza delivery service now offers free movie rentals with a qualified purchase as part of their "specials and sales" menu. These creative combinations save customers time and money, and offer strong incentives to remain loyal. How can you partner your offering to create this sort of option for your customers? Hint: what are your customers likely to be doing or needing during or near the time they are using your service/product?
The trend of cocooning offers many challenges to traditional businesses, especially those that rely heavily on showroom sales and foot traffic income. However, with a little creative thinking, you can turn this obstacle to your benefit and pull ahead of the pack where your competitors are concerned. My advice? Stay home one day and examine all the things you do that could be improved or eased by some version of your product or services. See where you hit snags or annoyances in your goal of living, working and having a good time at home. Imagine your ideal customer at home - then do your best to keep him there.
It was on the heels of the wild days of the ’70s— where people were indulging, going out every night and taking disco naps. But then around 1980 I noticed that people were tired. They weren’t waking up from their disco naps! They were staying in more. Having people over instead of meeting at the clubs. They were getting older, and they just wanted to be around home more. That’s when I first glimpsed the future of Cocooning and what it would mean to the consumer and to the corporations that would want to reach that consumer who was not going out, who preferred to be home. Cocooning is still going strong after more than two decades, and unfortunately took on a whole new life after 9-11.
Home Design Trends Shift from Cocooning to Hiving
New styles incorporate livelier colors, multi-use spaces, and more opportunity to interact at home.
Some of the country’s housing markets may be slumbering, but
not in neighborhoods with new or updated housing. That's why it’s
mission-critical for real estate practitioners to know the latest
in the styles and amenities homebuyers want.
Home design hasn't changed overnight, but it is evolving. Nesting calls for soothing, quieter colors, plushier fabrics, and lots of pillows. Hiving means livelier color, less clutter, multifunctional workspaces, and more opportunity for interactivity. Why shouldn't you want to whistle while you work at home?
Moderate Luxury is In
Hiving also means having more luxury at home by scaling down. Homebuyers will own fewer things, but nicer versions of those things. And real estate professionals may find themselves showing and selling more homes that have been downsized for comfort. Luxury townhomes are in. McMansions are out.
Less is more, except in one area: bathrooms. While there is more interactivity in the "public spaces" of the home, residents want more privacy, which means that en suite bathrooms—perhaps decorated with lots of opaque glass—are becoming more popular.
Plan on new homes that appeal to empty nesters, young couples and singles to downsize from four bedrooms with two baths, to three bedrooms with three full baths and a half bath for guests. Another trend is the double master suite, which reflects more democratic luxury for non-traditional families and co-owners.
Residents still want to interact in open inviting living environments, but they also want to be able to multitask at the same time. That may mean running a quiet dishwasher while checking e-mail at the meal-planning desk, or starting the movie in the home theater while running the closet dry-cleaning system.
New Appliances Cater to Hiving
Much of what Adcock-Smith says is happening already is being supported by the latest kitchen and appliance designs. Michael Davis, president of Dallas-based kitchen and appliance showroom Capital Distributing Inc., says the hottest trends include details like color display technologies in ovens, glass-door refrigerators, and ultra-quiet dishwashers.
"I think the two strongest continuing design elements for the hive are light and horizontalness,” Adock-Smith says. “From translucency to transparency, our lives are enriched by materials that bring light into formerly dark areas. Horizontal lines have a grounding effect."
Here are some more examples from Davis of new home appliances that cater to hiving:
Designer ovens. Dacor has introduced two new oven lines; one comes
in designer colors with the ability to program the control panel display
colors. The other is a gas cooktop with a remote counter-mounted control
panel. Dacor’s 30-inch-wide large capacity dishwasher introduced
last year continues to be a hit.
Used to be we simply lived in our houses. Then the ’80s came, and we "cocooned." Now, we are "hiving."
The term surfaced in pop culture during the past year or so, although trend-watchers coined it a few years back.
In case you’ve been doing it and haven’t realized it, or want to know how to start: Hiving entails making connections to others from within our homes; the home is "command central" for a variety of activities involving other people, including work and socializing.
"Hiving" entails making connections to
others from within our homes.
This differs from what lifestyle guru Faith Popcorn coined "cocooning," or retreating to one’s home as refuge from the outside world.
"We don’t see the return to home motivated by a desire to isolate oneself, but to reconnect, re-engage with other people, to renew relationships with other people. Family, neighborhoods are much more important," says J. Walker Smith, president of Yankelovich, based in Chapel Hill.
Yankelovich has spotted these signs of hiving:
•The huge popularity of home decorating shows, aiming to make the home a more accessible living space.
•Increasing numbers of people working from home.
•Cellphone companies highlighting their products’ ability to keep people connected with others rather than touting the technological features; "family" cellphone plans are offered.
•Rising interest in neighborhood "watches" and neighborhood traffic control.
•Board games — old ones such as Monopoly and Scrabble — enjoying double-digit growth for the past few years.
•Increasing interest in "home" crafts, such as scrap-booking and knitting.
•New trends in housing construction, such as "walkable neighborhoods" combining retail and living spaces.
And watch out — you might need a "hive" makeover. With the trend comes design implications.
"Hiving means livelier color, less clutter, multifunctional workspaces and more opportunity for interactivity," according to realtytimes.com.
Hiving also means having more luxury at home through scaling down. Home buyers will own fewer things, but nicer versions of those things."
Late Fall 2004
An emergence from the cocoon was expected at the turn of the millennium , but the tragedy of 9/11 sent many people scurrying back to the security of their home. Now, three years after the nation was rocked by terror, experts see strong signs that the cocooning trend is waning and people are emerging to a new lifestyle—one of connecting. According to Pam Danziger, a renowned giftware trends expert, Americans are “turning their attention from ‘feathering their nest’ toward reconnecting with the outside world.”
Dubbed “butterflies” by some trend watchers, these consumers are characterized by their deep desire to find new meaning in life and experience their friends and their communities. While cocooning was an inwardly directed trend, connecting is outwardly directed and butterflies define their personal identities by relating to others.
What does this trend shift mean for retailers? Sales data indicates that the home décor boom of the eighties and nineties may be softening. Sales of home décor products, while rising, are growing at a slower rate than the overall economy. Meanwhile, gift-giving is growing as people use gifts as one means to express their emotions and feelings for others. In a survey conducted by Unity Marketing, consumers indicated they are buying more gifts, are buying for more people, and are spending more money on gifts. As the economy improves, the growth in gift spending is expected to accelerate. For this reason, many experts expect a banner Christmas 2004 season as the “butterflies” reconnect with friends and loved ones.
Color Trends 2005
According to color trend forecasters, one clear trend in colors is “bold and bright.” Color experts believe fashion and home décor colors will become increasingly lively, even fun, over the next few years. This “bold and bright” trend include dyeing techniques that create unusual patterns, and retro looks that pull key colors from the twenties to the sixties.
Bright colors have been hot on the fashion runways for the past few years. Recently, some cutting edge home décor designers have been incorporating an increasing amount of color in their designs. American consumers appear to be ready to take on a bolder color palette for their décor, willing to take more risks with color and experiment in their homes. Using the Pantone Color Institute verbiage, these consumers are “ready to adopt the ‘Radiance’ palette in their home— a palette rich in yellows, purples, and hot pink.” Some consumers, especially those on the younger end of the spectrum, may opt to emphasize the RePlay palette—a palette of playful colors such as jelly bean green. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of The Pantone Color Institute, outlines the hot color trends for 2005 as follows:
Réalité: “It’s about relating to nature. People really connect in nature to khaki and sage. It’s not just about basic neutrals. It’s dusky orchids, soft blues and, surprise, just a little bit of bronze.”
Respite: “This is for when people are feeling overloaded, burned out. Warm colors. I call them ‘comfort food colors.’ Yellow and organic-colored food. Shades of tan and yellow and a new color, crystal pink.”
Relax: “This is also an invitation to relax, but a little bit more contemporary and more about surfaces and textures. It’s very strong in the European market. Soft colors, for people who want the feeling of relaxation. Cosmetic colors, which can also relate to the male audience—so-called masculine colors like warm camel or cool crystal gray. And pale mauve continues to be one of this palette’s most outstanding colors.”
Refresh: “Here are the greens and blues. And this palette also includes the introduction of yellow-green, particularly in glass and ceramic treatment. Anything that has that kind of finished, clear, see-through feeling in colors like apple green and watery blues is included.”
Radiance: “This is for consumers who want to introduce more color into the home. It’s a very striking palette. The combinations are mineral yellow, apricot brandy and burnt henna. They provide striking backgrounds to purple, hot pink, tropical orchid. Plus an added touch of electric blue. You can never go wrong, in housewares, with cobalt-type blues.”
RePlay: “Here is a fun palette. It’s about young families enjoying having color in the home, and it’s also for the young at heart. There are playful colors like jelly bean green, ribbon red, begonia pink, cheerful orange and the combination of lavender, lemon, and lime. In the house décor industry, we all know how effective these colors can be at the point of purchase in a display. Bright colors do it better.”
Refinements: “This is the exact opposite of RePlay. It’s tradition with a twist, refined elegance in more simplified styling. It’s luxurious, but not contrived or ‘fussy.’ The colors are very imaginative, such as grape or violet, mossy greens, mahogany browns, rich golds. It will find a place in the home, especially in more upscale settings, such as redone kitchens.”
Recurrents: “Here’s a classic palette that really speaks to Retro, but in a very sophisticated way. It’s really about the black and white films of the forties and fifties, the so-called film noir. The styles are curvilinear, sleek, very Deco feeling, silvery, very streamlined. And now there’s the introduction of sepia and brown tones, which are merging with the black and white along with a color called champagne beige. It’s one of the most elegant and sophisticated looks out there.”