Forty years ago domestic life was very different. Only 50 per cent of people owned a landline phone and nearly a third of families didn’t have a washing machine. 14 per cent of us still didn’t have a fridge. And how we shopped was also very far removed from today’s desire for instant retail gratification.
Forty years ago Argos - a new concept in retailing at the time – launched in the UK. And since then the retailer and has been widely cited as acting as a social barometer, charting changes in technology, design, and consumer habits; and perhaps more vitally putting an aspirational lifestyle within the nation’s grasp.
The first catalogue in 1973 had 250 pages with 4,700 lines; today the retailer has more than 635 million website visits a year and offers more than 29,000 products across its website, mobile websites, apps and catalogue.
Since then the pace of new technological advancements has meant our homes and living rooms have undergone considerable renovation. As the average income rose and products became more accessible VCRs, home computers, games consoles, flat screen TVs and smart fridges have all appeared in UK homes.
But shopping was changing too, with retailers going out of town in the nineties and the advent of the internet revolutionising the world as we knew it.
So what do the next ten years hold in store for consumers as retailers evolve to keep up with our rising retail expectations?
To coincide with the brand’s anniversary The Future Foundation has released a report which looks at the sorts of technologies and products that a ‘Digital Family’ of the year 2023 may be using in the home.
From 3D printing in your kitchen to tactile technology that change the feel of its surface, what is clear is that our homes will need to become smarter and better connected. Remote controlled ovens and coffee machines that make you a cup a little earlier because your commute is going to take longer than normal? Nothing but a sci-fi dream back in 1973.