Many times, what we want says more about us than what we do. This is why readers are fascinated with news from the Consumer Electronics Show, which gives us an aspirational glimpse at the technology of tomorrow. This is why Google publishes the most frequently searched “how-to questions,” which reveal what people are striving for. It’s also why emerging customer insights methodologies like social listening, which uncover visceral consumer reactions and desires, are gaining traction.

Two weeks ago, people around the world expressed their wishes for 2016 by sharing their New Year’s resolutions online. What do people want this year? Forrester’s analysis of the social conversation shows that physical and mental wellbeing dominated most of the resolutions posted across the globe. But certain geographical differences shed light on varied cultures and attitudes. For example, while US consumers also discussed social causes and career goals, UK consumers mentioned artistic pursuits and relaxation:



Whether these sentiments are any indication of US and UK consumers’ happiness and productivity levels this year is yet to be seen; as we are well aware, resolutions fade quickly. But these posts do illustrate the different mindsets of the two populations – and understanding mindset is critical to interpreting and predicting behavior.

For instance, our previous research shows that consumers’ technology adoption behavior varies by country largely because of differences in belief and attitude. Our data on wearables reveals that US consumers’ desire for convenience drives wearable device adoption, but European consumers’ thirst for information motivates their interest in the technology. As a result, the intention, adoption rate, and usage experience of wearables will differ for consumers on either side of the pond. Therefore, as customer insights professionals resolve to create a sharper, more dynamic understanding of consumers this year, they must also embrace the “soft” side of customers – including their hopes and dreams.