The most fundamental truth of what’s next is unprecedented change. Those who stay ahead of or on top of these changes, who can surf them and communicate them to a broader group, will be the winners within their industries and the world at large.
Self-Everything: The Ubertrend. The prefix self– expresses the zeitgeist, starting with the fact that creating a positive self-image is recognized as a vital task for everyone. Included in this all-encompassing trend is self-tracking of our health, self-improvement through nonstop education, and monitoring others’ wrongs (digitally), because we can’t count on anyone else to do it.
Middle Class Redefined. Vanishing in developed nations but growing strong elsewhere worldwide, this new purchasing segment will challenge marketers’ thinking. Internet Upping the Look-at-Me Ante. For people who want to get noticed and be memorable online, the temptation to go even more extreme is greater (and more graphic) than ever. Bugged About Bugs. Natural biological bugs are the bigger threat to emerging countries, but cyberattacks with deliberately engineered digital bugs will worry developed countries.
Safe Eating: What’s Left? Sugar, soybeans, gluten, salt … Big Food will see its tobacco moment, with greater regulation of and higher taxes on suspect foods and drinks.
Friend/Enemy Confusion. Who are our friends, enemies and frenemies? Answers in politics, technology and other areas are getting more complicated. Women Prevail. Gender equality is growing, and so will awareness of sexism as globalized social media relay stories of gender relevance and make them local everywhere. The Call of What’s Wild. The rise of urbanization has led to a craving for “wild” things, from book themes to vacations in rugged spots to the reintroduction of predators in their natural ecosystems. For debt-laden millennials, though, mobile devices (and Occupy?) might need to satisfy those impulses.
Small (Business) Is the New Big. Technology, culture and mindset—plus the security of being your own boss—are enabling the trend toward small businesses globally. Home Is Where Everything Is. As life’s essentials become more portable, “local” will be everywhere, anywhere and nowhere, all at once.