I never thought at trends in knife industry. I would categorize the knives according to their purpose, and on this basis to try to discover the logical future of every category. I will analyze only folding knives and my exemples will be especially from Spyderco's models, exceptions for any particular models that my come into discution:
1. Very small knives: eg. The Ladybug, The Cricket and The Jester. Great for keychains, useful when it comes to small cutting jobs, even backup, yet quite seldom used. I think that their evolution will be based more on the aestethical criteria rather than functional or ergonomic.
2. Small knives: eg. The Dragonfly, The Meerkat, The Navigator. These are knives that try to offer cutting power yet being legal (that 2" blade length limitation). As thay must comply to that rule, it is obvious (IMO) that they will progress on ergonomics and aesthetics. Maybe some more functions (see the Hotaru "Firefly"<img src="wink.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle border=0>. As the purpose of these knives is small everyday cutting jobs and some self defense, even the choice of selected materials (CF, G10), will be a "fashion" result, as it's quite unlikely they really need those performances. In time, some gadgets present at this category will dissapear. eg. the Kershaw Chive with its assisted opening system, which does not comply with some regulations. Somehow I see those knives will become thinner for a more comfortable carry.
3. Medium and big knives. I "melted" them in the same category, as usually carrying them is illegal in many places. But illegal or not, they cannot dissapear. And I do not mean LEO's, firefighters aso. You're gonna laugh, but my criteria in this case is food preparation. Endura will do, Military will do, even the Delica. And thay will make it great in an emergency situation or a fight. They are the most versatile category. I think that the trend for these knives is that they will achieve higher performances, making use of the best technologies and materials, best ergonomics and design, as thair purpose is primarily functional and they will be destinated to people who usually know what to ask from a knife. Aesthetics will have its role, though, as there is a market economy.
4. Highly specialized knives. eg. Civilian, Matriarch, Rescue. (I would put even the Victorinox in this category, as it became specialized in doing everything without doing something specific). Those knives are so specialized that they won't evolve much in design, because they have to comply to some quite narrow limitations. I think the progress will be made here in the choice of materials, ergonomics and minor design adjustments according to the purpose of each one.
5. Decorative knives. eg. Police Necklace, Tieclip aso. as well as some anniversary knives. Although thay may prove functionality, their purpose is obviously a decorative one and their value is more sentimental or as a social status indicator. I don't see too many people taking their Damasteel to that barbecue<img src="smile.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle border=0>. The trend here - fantasy exercises. Fancy shapes, exotic materials and handworking.