One of the 2016 global trends with the biggest implications for gadget makers could be "Swiss Army Life" as consumers search for products that are not only quality but also have versatility and durability.
Take, for example, a picture frame mirror that folds off the wall into a detachable dining table designed by Verena Lang. Although, it comes with a steep price tag, it's the type of product many people are now searching out.
"For decades we've lived in a time where an era of excess was a hallmark of consumption," said Ford Motor's (F) - Get Report futurist, Sheryl Connelly. "Bigger is better. The more the merrier. Very conspicuous displays of wealth."
But in the aftermath of the Great Recession "we see an appetite for fewer things. People want to pare down. They want to simplify and streamline and to do that you have to invest in multi-functional goods," she said.
Consumers' use of tablets speaks to this trend. On average, consumers say they use their single-use devices such as e-readers, DVD players and TVs about 37% less since buying a tablet.
Another example is the "tiny home movement," where about a third of U.S. adults between the ages of 18 to 34 say they would seriously consider living in a tiny house. Connelly said, "The average square footage of a home is 2,600 square feet. But, there are young people who have this increasing movement toward tiny homes. Homes that are 100 to 400 square feet that sell for $26,000.00. Now, the only way you can live in that sort of space successfully long-term is if you're ingenious in terms of the things you bring in. They have to display versatility."