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Opinion and Insight

JWT Intelligence’s Future 100 Looks Ahead to 2019

The Innovation Group unveils key trends to watch in the year ahead

JWT Intelligence’s Future 100 Looks Ahead to 2019

J. Walter Thompson Intelligence’s much-anticipated annual trend report from The Innovation Group, Future 100, has just been unveiled. The report outlines the pivotal trends and changes to watch in 2019, offering a snapshot of what’s to come, what’s important, and its implications to marketers and brands. 

Future 100 2019 predicts, among other things, an Instagram backlash, along with other trends including, ‘Sound empires’, ‘Tech’s hidden figures’, ‘Immersive public landmarks’, ‘Inclusive design’, ‘Freelancer-first services’, ‘Clean comfort food’, ‘Vegan luxury fashion’ ‘Empowering adolescence’, ‘Healing cafes’, ‘Tech enhanced shopping’, ‘The New Workanomics’ and the increasing importance of silence in our lives.

The Future 100 also predicts that the three hot new food ingredients for 2019 will be lichen, dulse seaweed (already a favourite in Wales and Ireland), and the Philippine citrus fruit calamansi - also known as the Philippine lime - which is a cross between mandarin and kumquat.

Some 18 of the global trends either originate in Asia Pacific, or have a strong Asia component. These include: #18 Future Tech Cities; #30 Hot destinations; #39 Grassroots brands; #40 Hyper influencers; #59 C-Beauty; #69 - Tech enhanced shopping; #90 - China Health Tech; and #96 New Workanomics.

The Innovation Group, part of J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, is one of the world’s leading trend forecasting think tanks with hubs in the US, Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific. The Future 100 – now in its 5th year — has become an annual must-read for the industry and beyond.

‘Future 100: Trends and Change to Watch in 2019’, sees the team’s experts deep dive into the 100 consumer trends across 10 categories - culture, tech and innovation, travel, food and drink, brands, beauty, retail, luxury, health and lifestyle.

In a year of huge disruption, trends, cultural shifts and consumer behaviours are evolving rapidly - not least in the technology sector where innovation and an uprising against tech giants continues apace. Constant disruption, from politics, to the environment is also coming to bear on consumer attitudes and behaviours.

The global trends in 2019 include:

#5 Insta backlash: Instagram now has 1billion monthly active users - more than double the monthly active users of Twitter, and more than three times as many users as on WhatsApp and Facebook messenger put together. But the artificial Instagram look is starting to look dated at a time when authenticity is increasingly important.

#13 Sound empires: The rise of podcasts and audiobooks, on top of online streaming, is only set to grow, as people seek to inform and entertain and educate themselves in other ways than simply looking at their screens.

#17 Tech’s hidden figures: Influential women in tech in particular are emerging from the shadows and hitting back online, in print, on screen and beyond. As with every aspect of culture and popular discourse, the #MeToo movement, fourth-wave feminism and widespread vocal discourse about white male patriarchal power are starting to have wider ripple effects on all industries. 

#35 Inclusive design: After gender equality and racial equality, the time is ripe for disabled people to be more included when it comes to design across all areas of life. it is essential that design, whether physical or online, be designed without insidious bias.

#36 Freelancer-first services: The number of self-employed workers has been rising in the United Kingdom since 2001 and they now account for around 15% of the working population, according to the Office for National Statistics. Shared workspaces have grown at a rate of 200% over the past five years. Freelancers are increasingly important, and their unique needs are going to have to be met.

#41 Clean comfort food: Never mind the rise of veganism, we are becoming increasingly more flexitarian and while most of us are still eating meat, more of us are wanting the have days off from it.  As a result, we are increasingly looking for vegan or vegetarian fast food and the market isn’t really meeting this need yet - this is set to explode next year. 

#04 Reframing masculinity: Toxic masculinity has led to the success of Trump, the #MeToo movement and arguably Brexit. Now, it’s time to make amends and for masculinity to become more nuanced than the traditional stereotypes would have it - and for men to live their best lives, rather than via an outdated social construct of what masculinity is deemed to be.

Lucie Greene, worldwide director of Innovation Group, said of the report: “The year ahead will see a tipping point for a number of consumer trends. Brand experiences, once novel and designed exclusively (or cynically) for Instagram are getting push back. Big Tech, which has extended its tentacles into every aspect of our lives, not to mention politics, is also facing a reckoning. Expect more questions about the ethics of these companies and the rising presence of China Tech in competition. In a fraught, unstable world, we’re also seeing consumers seeking escape, comfort, and stability — whether it’s embracing the outdoors (and disconnecting from technology), or using new techniques to manage wellbeing and anxiety, or exploring new fantasy landscapes in culture, beauty and beyond. It’s going to be an interesting year.”

The full report can be downloaded here. 

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