Our annual forecast of 100 trends to watch in the coming year.

Wunderman Thompson Intelligence presents The Future 100: Trends and Change to Watch in 2020, our snapshot of the year ahead and the most compelling trends to keep on the radar.

The turn of the new decade heralds a marker for positive change after the despondent and unsettling mood that characterized the latter part of the 2010s. As brands and consumers alike eagerly adopt a cautiously optimistic outlook and band together, it’s setting a new tone for the year and decade ahead. We’re seeing increased global activism, new ethically-driven value systems for brands and irresponsible companies and figureheads being held accountable for wider social and environmental issues. 

The Future 100 charts 10 emerging trends across 10 sectors, spanning marketing, culture, travel and more, plus a new finance section. Highlights include:

Courtesy of Gencho Petkov/Stocksy/Adobe Stock

Culture: Optimistic futures. The past years have left societies worldwide adrift in unsettling political, environmental and economic times. Now, from Pantone’s spring/summer 2020 color palette to Lego’s challenge to “rebuild the world,” brands are offering a measured and thoughtful outlook on the future.

Tech & Innovation: The privacy era. With brands’ use of data largely perceived as underhanded and unethical, new course-correcting efforts point to a future where consumers own their data and are in full control of their digital identities.

Oslo Airport City

Travel & Hospitality: Biocontributive travel. A wave of new initiatives in the travel industry are actively shifting to carbon-positive practices, indicating that the future of travel, tourism and hospitality will be rooted in conscious environmental contribution.

Brands & Marketing: Unconventional brand actions. Brands are finding success among an increasingly values-driven consumer base with unexpected moves that go against the capitalist grain to underline their commitment to social and economic causes.

Lucky Cat

Food & Drink: Anti-instagram interiors. Restaurants are turning away from the predictable and monotonous design vernacular fetishized by social media, instead creating dark and intimate spaces that prioritize in-person interaction over digital sharing.

Beauty: Blue beauty. Beauty brands are looking to the ocean for mindfully-sourced marine ingredients that align with consumers’ desire for natural and sustainable products. 

Net Sustain by Net-A-Porter

Retail: Ethical edits. As ethics are becoming a key determinant in purchase decisions, brands are curating products by value to help consumers shop purposefully

Luxury: Cannabis consultants. As cannabis culture becomes increasingly refined, experts are offering connoisseurship services to discerning customers.


Health: Psychedelic health. Psychedelic drugs are coming to the fore as the next generation of therapeutics, fueling a swathe of new wellbeing experiences.

Finance: Carbon credit. New systems are being put in place to drive actionable, environmentally responsible behavior by yoking credit to carbon footprints.

For all 100 trends, including 10 from each of the above sectors, download the full report.