Crowdfunding has continued to steadily rise in popularity, fuelled by the insatiable drive of consumers for the latest, most innovative technology and gadgets. Last year drones, wearables and 3D printers made the headlines and with 2018 just round the corner, Joel Hughes, Head of UK and Europe at Indiegogo, takes a step back to reflect the top crowdfunding trends of 2017.

Lights, Camera, Action!

Celebrity endorsement has often been used in marketing and has transitioned to crowdfunding this year as more influencers and celebrities fronted crowdfunding campaigns. Influential figures such as British TV presenter Dan Snow, children TV show host Pat Sharp, broadcaster Chris Evans and mindfulness guru, Deepak Chopra have all been involved in high-profile Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns.

Getting an influencer to collaborate with a campaign in its early stage creates ‘brand trust’ as people tend to associate the qualities of a star with the product, which naturally increases the likelihood of backers.

Generally the idea is that people fund ideas, but people actually fund people. An influencer attracts people’s attention and offers organic reach, giving the campaign the recognition which generate interest from his/her followers. Next year, expect to see more influencers jumping on the bandwagon and endorsing crowdfunding campaigns.

The Year of Being Smart

Decades ago, technology such as drones, hover boards and robots were a mainstay of fictional movies and TV shows. Movies such as Back to the Future and Blade Runner inspired the development of high-tech gadgets to make life easier.  Fast forward to 2017, these movies have inspired some of the most innovative tech ingrained in today’s society.

For example, Blade Runner explored the use of voice commands to control computers, which has now been incorporated into the smart home, with many homes using a plethora of devices such as Alexa or Google Home.

In Electric Dreams, the protagonist lived in a ‘smart home’ with music that adapted to their mood.  This was a far-away dream for a consumer at the time. Nowadays, with a combination of a smart speaker, smart thermostat, smart coffee maker and smart lightbulbs, individuals can now control the entire home using just their voice.

The trend of artificial intelligence (AI) was felt in the crowdfunding world through the rise of AI consumer technology campaigns such as voice-controlled smart home systems such as lights, wifi cameras, door locks, automated curtains, etc.

Due to the number of ‘smart’ crowdfunding campaigns this year, backers are on the lookout for products that promise longevity in the market as the battle for AI dominance in homes and phones continues. At the same time, product quality and development are evolving at a tremendous rate as consumers continue to opt for the convenience, ease and security that these devices promise.

Established Companies Using Crowdfunding

In the past, crowdfunding was used as an alternative method for financing small businesses and startups, but nowadays established businesses have turned to crowdfunding to hone its benefits.

A prime example of this is Morphy Richards, who launched Mico with a state-of-the-art Heatwave Technology.  Mico is a microwave cookware that creates the perfect dish in a fraction of the time it would take in a regular oven. The campaign successfully reached 152% of its funding goal in two months. By using crowdfunding, their team was able to gauge interest and gather direct customer insight by having open conversations with backers and providing regular updates on the campaign.

This year has demonstrated that crowdfunding will continue entering the mainstream vernacular as celebrities and established companies become more involved in crowdfunding. As innovators continuously create new products to meet consumer demands, AI will not be slowing down anytime soon. On the contrary, it will continuing to rise and be intrinsic to crowdfunding campaigns in 2018.

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