From gadgets to retail, holidaying to fashion, our experts look at the potential big changes, good and bad, over the next 12 months. Interviews by Neil Hudson and Rod McPhee.
‘Get ready for flexible screens and 3D printing’
Professor Colin Pattinson is head of the School of Computing and Creative Technology at Leeds Metropolitan University.
“People are talking about 2013 as being the ‘internet of things’. What they mean is that, as opposed to the traditional internet – if we can call it that – which deals with data, this year will be all about putting different things, different pieces of existing technology together.
“A good example is a project we are working on at the university which will synchronise the heating system with the timetable, to save money. If you then link that to sensors and a computer checks against a database, you can start to build a system which knows when people are in the rooms. The same thing is happening with cars, with on-board computers talking to each other about things like traffic jams.
“Another thing we may see in 2013 is flexible screens – everyone has heard of tablets but there is a lot of talk now about screens which won’t break when dropped.
“This year may also see 3D printing take off in the mainstream. This technology already exists – we have one at the university – but it could become widespread. It has so many applications, I know people in the medical profession who already use 3D printers to analyse bones and other things in people’s bodies, in the future when a component breaks on a machine, people will be able to simply print a new one – the same thing could even happen for us.”
‘Without intervention retail will remain flat’
John Temperley is lecturer at Sheffield University’s management school and is a marketing expert.
“There are two different aspects to consider here: retail and consumers. The prediction for 2013 is that 140 retail businesses will go under. If you want an example of one which is balanced on a knife-edge at the moment, it’s HMV. We have already seen the likes of electrical store Comet go under last year. Meanwhile, other businesses, like Currys and PC World have consolidated.
“The other thing to bear in mind is there will be a general election in 2015 so we may well see some stimulus measures this year – the next big thing people in the business world will be looking towards is the March budget.
“In my view the Chancellor needs to begin listening to businesses. One thing they have been calling for is an extension to Sunday trading hours, the other is a relaxation in business rates. Both would help stimulate the economy.
“If the Government wants to avoid a triple-dip recession it may have to follow the lessons from the 1930s and build its way out.”
‘We’ll see more colourful and 80s-style fashion’
Nadiya Dunston is a personal shopper at Debenhams department store on Briggate in Leeds.
“I think that as spring comes in you’re going to see a lot more women wearing pastel shades, probably in blocks, and I also think you’re going to see more men wearing pastel shades too. There has already been a move towards different coloured chinos and jeans recently but I think those colours are going to get more varied and there’ll be the chance for men to be more brave and adventurous in their choice of palette. Whether or not they can get away with it or choose to do it is another matter.
“I also think you’re going to see more 80s styles come back into fashion, such as oversized, unconstructed jackets for men and women. We’ve already seen a move towards oversized shirts and jumpers, that kind of thing. I think we’ll see more of that in 2013 – perhaps more oversized shorts, for example.
“That whole All Saints look and the Urban Outfitters preppy look has been around for a while now but I don’t think it will disappear entirely, I think you’ll see more and more shops mixing the styles over the coming year.”
‘Holidayers will get more adventurous in 2013’
Michael Croft is an independent travel expert in Leeds who is part of the travelcounsellors.co.uk network..
“Although the whole all-inclusive hotel boom has dominated in 2012, I think it will peak and plateau over the next 12 months – there’s only so much of this style of holidaying people want.
“In fact we’ve seen more and more people wanting different things from their holidays, for example, trips to Alaska are more popular. Perhaps it’s down to the Olympics, but we’ve also seen increasing numbers of people wanting holidays which involve exercise, whether it’s white water rafting or cycling. I think we are just, generally, a lot more sophisticated these days and realise there are far more options open to us.
“Another boom which is likely to continue in 2013 is taking holidays on cruise ships. There have been more ships with more capacity coming online over the last two or three years and that’s going to help make prices more affordable and certainly comparable with going away in a four- or five-star hotel on the Med. The difference being that for a family it’s a different way to do the whole all-inclusive thing because all your food is provided on board.”
‘House prices will remain stable’
Andrew Hardisty is a proprietor of Waite and Co estate agents (Horsforth, Guiseley and Otley branches).
He said: “I think the housing sector will remain relatively level in 2013 but we would expect to be in a much better position in 12 months time.
“Certainly, toward the end of last year, we saw strong sales and we think that will continue into the new year.
“It would be nice to see something in the budget in March to help first time buyers and it was disappointing when the holiday on stamp duty was ended.
“It would be good to have some extra support in general for people wanting to move home. There are some schemes our there to encourage people to move into new build homes but it would be nice to see some general incentives for people wanting to move house.
“The rental market has been very strong in 2012 and we anticipate that will continue throughout 2013, with houses being on the market only a matter of days before they are snapped up.
“While we do not expect house to increase in value, we don’t expect them to fall either but what I do think will happen is there will be an increase in the volume of sales and I think the economy can sustain that level of transactions.”