An evolution of JWTIntelligence’s flagship 100 Things to Watch, The Future 100 connects the dots between the “what” and the “why,” spanning categories including culture, beauty, brands, food and drink, innovation, lifestyle, luxury, retail, sustainability and technology. The report also includes new types of goods or businesses, new behaviors and ideas with the potential to ladder up to bigger trends.
Aside from the fact that we’re living increasingly digital lives, the smartphone is perhaps the biggest single influence on consumer change.
It has shifted from being a communication device to a pocket portal to the world: a way to share, search the streetscape, pay for items, document vacations—and the rise of the Internet of Things means it’s set to become our “life remote control,” used for everything from regulating our home’s heating to watering our plants. Within decades, in many parts of the world, there will be few who remember life without mobile phones. Ericsson forecasts that by 2020, 90% of the world’s population over age 6 will have a mobile phone, while substantial ongoing price drops mean that eventually most of the world will have access to a web-enabled phone (Ericsson reports that around 65% of all mobile phones sold in Q3 2014 were smartphones).
The ubiquity of the web has accelerated the pace of trends, the spread of information and the sophistication of consumers, who are increasingly confident and expect brands to work around them rather than dictate to them. Other consumer expectations are also shifting in this new landscape, under influences as diverse as the vast range of information available on the Internet, globalization, environmental change and difficult economic times. As a given, not a bonus, brands are expected to deliver experiences, be hyper-transparent and achieve sustainability. They’re expected to produce beautifully designed products and environments. And they are also increasingly expected to be societal leaders, benefactors, innovators and philanthropists.
As life expectancy increases, health is becoming the watchword for all consumers, from Millennials to Baby Boomers. Consumers are investing heavily in fitness and nutrition, and seeing their bodies as an ecosystem where beauty, diet, mental health and fitness are interlinked. All this, and much more, lies ahead.