This is part 2 of a two part series which aims to share the trends and examples presented at Trendwatching: The Trends for 2020 London. If you haven’t read part 1 yet, either jump back there now, or continue on and revisit later?

The next five trends have been triggered by macro events and the impact on people’s anxiety which will require brands and businesses to offer peace of mind and support the planet and our communities.

Part 2: Trends triggered by drivers of change

6. Climate in crisis >Eco interventionists

In 2020, the pursuit of eco-status is giving way to the desire to avoid eco shame.

Our climate is undoubtedly in crisis. It’s no secret we are destroying our planet. This isn’t new to us, but it has certainly sped up in recent years and being concerned about the environment is at its highest levels on record today.

Being eco-friendly or eco-conscious is not a new trend, but it has, in the past, been more about status and an aspirational way of life rather than mainstream, affordable and accessible.

In 2019 we saw more brands providing mainstream eco-conscious alternatives.

  • Adidas’ collaboration with Parley for the Oceans has seen production surge from 1 million shoes in 2017 to over 11 million in 2019;

  • The cost of a Tesla has dropped from $124,000 to $35,000 which more people can afford

  • Burger King embraced NYC’s Momofuku Nishi’s concept of the Impossible Burger and has rolled out 100% whopper, 0% beef to over 7,000 outlets in the US.

It has become no longer about status if you opt-in, but shame if you opt-out.

Trendwatching, 2020

The role of brands is about helping people find solutions to alleviate shame or avoid shame altogether and consuming according to your moral values.

Trendwatching shared some useful interventions in practice.

A. Shame therapy

#flygskam = “flight shame” = is the name of an anti-flying movement that originated in Sweden last year, which encourages people to stop taking flights to lower carbon emissions.

Checkout this free interactive website called Shame Plane which visually demonstrates the impact of flights on global ice melt. It shames you but also provides suitable ways to balance out the impact.

#tagskryt = “train brag” = the idea that people encourage each other to travel by train instead of a plane

Deutsche Bahn, the German-based rail company, rolled out a No Need to Fly campaign which encouraged locals to holiday at home. Using picturesque German locations that mirrored famous foreign tourist landmarks, they compared a video of each landmark version with real-time prices for both locations.

B. Shame Avoidance

Doconomy - presenting the credit card that tracks a user’s carbon emissions, and puts a block usage once a predetermined carbon limit has been reached.

thredUP - last November, US-based fashion reseller thredUP launched Remade. A selection of five wardrobe essentials which are available to purchase, and if the customers wants to sell the items back to the company (at any time) they are guaranteed to receive 40% of the original purchase price back. Keeping clothes out of landfills and supplementing the second-hand market.

7. Changing living arrangements > single serve

In 2020, brands are making it easier to experience life uncoupled.

Staggeringly, research from Euromonitor in March 2019 showed that single-person households will record a 128% growth between 2000 and 2030. Further to this, the average number of children per home is set to decline worldwide whilst the global population is ageing.

These statistics are born out of three main reasons: young people pushing and postponing life stages; there’s a higher rate of divorce; and an ageing population.

This has caused some massive cultural shifts and changed societal norms and taboos which brands and businesses are embracing.

Starcity - set to be the world’s largest co-living complex. To tackle the high cost of living alone this apartment complex in San Jose, California will offer residents access to communal kitchens and living room spaces, plus services including laundry and dog walking. & Think Olga - like many travel companies out there now, these two powerhouses in US/Brazil joined together to produce a guide (Women Around the World) to empower women to travel solo.

What steps could you take to support the growing number of single consumers, and help make their lives easier or more affordable?

8. Inequality >new hires

Smart brands will take steps to discover and hire those groups who were, until now, excluded.

According to Trendwatching the 2020s will see a massive shift where who you employ will be less about who you need to get the job done but more about who you support and the impact you have on society.

They shared this heartwarming clip from Tokyo’s Dawn ver.β cafe where robot waiters take orders and serve customers, but they’re remotely controlled by paralysed people using tablets or computers. The robots can interact and respond to customer questions.

Uber Eats in Japan is recruiting grannies to deliver ramen noodles in running shoes!

Zalando in Denmarkbegan a pilot scheme where homeworkers or remote workers became delivery points for customers, instead of click & collect stores. Offering 50 service pick-up and drop-off points, homeowners receive a small remuneration for the service each month.

How could you rebalance the workforce by hiring the often overlooked? Who you hire will say more about your organisation’s culture than your ability to get the job done.

9. Urbanisation & air pollution > air time

Citysumers demand brands and governments to turn clean air into an urban service.

Shock fact: the average person in Europe loses two years of their life due to air pollution (European Heart Journal, 2019)...

...but it turns out that indoor air quality is 2 to 5 times worse than outdoors!< Cheap sensors mean citizens can track and share hyperlocal air quality data, more easily than ever before, and brands are helping to make this invisible threat visible.

I love this idea from Hanhwa Galleria in South Korea. The outside of the building changes colour in response to air pollution levels, informing pedestrians of good/bad air quality. When fine dust levels are particularly bad the mall are known to give away free face masks to visitors.

Can you create a reactive space that provides people with essential real-time updates? Nail it and your location could become a trusted source in the community!

Stella McCartney opened a flagship store in London featuring an air-filtration system which removes 95% of all airborne pollutants and traffic fumes. Whilst the Mayor of Seattle opened five public clean-air shelters to help deal with the problem of smoky air during the wildfires this summer.

And a round of applause for Absolut, who in Mexico City supported an eco-oriental mural project which used a type of paint that purportedly purifies polluted air in a process akin to photosynthesis. Three brightly colored murals cover nearly 21,000 square feet across the façades of buildings in the Cuauhtémoc, Juárez and Roma neighborhoods

IKEA took a similar concept and developed Gunrid, an air purifying curtain, designed to reduce indoor air pollutants, including formaldehyde and other odors. The brand say they will start selling Gunrid curtains in 2020.

10. Wellness economy > the burnout

Last but by no means least is the huge topic of wellbeing. In a world where on-demand is omnipresent from transport to hospitality, food to media, and even our working lives are invaded by this mindset it’s hard to switch off.

In May 2019, the World Health Organisation added occupational burnout to its International Classification of Diseases. Yikes!

On a grand scale governments are getting involved. New Zealand became the first western country to design its entire budget around wellbeing priorities; Japan set a legal limit on working overtime to 45 hours per month; and South Korea’s government now shuts off employee computers to prevent overwork.

Can you help consumers treat the pressures of modern life?

I’ll leave you with this last example - in March 2019, 250 digital billboards across Stockholm’s metro replaced ad content with digital art. Based off the ‘typical’ sentiment of the city, the artwork adapts to the expected emotions of commuters (tiredness, fear, stress) and combats anxiety risen as a consequence of these feelings, displaying art which is designed to alleviate these feelings.

Most of the kudos for the content of these two blogs goes to Trendwatching. I thoroughly enjoyed their presentations and I’m simply being the messenger in sharing with a wider audience who weren’t lucky enough to attend.

Hopefully, like me, some (or all) of these trends have sparked some creativity in your business or marketing problem solving and that you go forth to experiment, research or roll-out your ideas.

If you’re interested in discovering more trends then head over to Trendwatching for access to the full reports.

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Meet the author ...

Kherrin Wade

Strategy Director

Kherrin works with clients to develop effective marketing strategies, whether that's introducing brands to digital for the first time or pushing the boundaries with more ...