Riding the next wave of change: four trends that will define 2020

This post is sponsored by Kadence.

We at Kadence are big advocates of brands creating their own futures, rather than trying to predict them. That said, we have done the hard work, and brought together trend-watching experts from across our global boutique to identify four key trends that we believe will define the next 12 months, inspiring innovation across Asia, the US and Europe.

That process has resulted in four trends that we feel will define the consumer market in 2020 (and with any luck, in many more years to come). Read to find out which ones you can truly leverage for your brand.

  • The shift towards 360-degree wellness.
  • Personalisation reaching a new frontier as it moves offline.
  • The move from brand purpose to purposeful design.
  • Consumers left craving connection.

The shift towards 360-degree wellness

One of the key trends to watch in 2020 is the shift in how consumers are thinking about their wellbeing. We’re seeing consumers moving away from focusing purely on physical health and appearance to now recognising the importance of their mental health.

According to Twitter, conversations around wellbeing and self-care have increased a massive 225% between 2016 and 2019. Tweets to do with mental health/the mind are also up 122%, while the body and physical fitness have seen a 75% decrease in conversations.

But consumers aren’t just talking more about these topics. They’re also looking for solutions – from small-scale purchases such as mindful colouring books, right through to more structural changes such as flexible working patterns and healthcare systems that better support mental health.

Personalisation reaching a new frontier as it moves offline

2020 will see personalisation reach a new frontier as it increasingly starts to occupy offline, as well as online spaces, thanks to the proliferation of new technology.

We already see brands tapping into location and health data from smartphones and wearables to provide personalised products, services and marketing campaigns to consumers on the go. But the rise of facial recognition, and its integration into smart home technology, will take this to another level, making personalisation part of our homes, our shops, and our day-to-day offline experiences.

China, where facial recognition technology is already widespread, is likely to lead the way in bringing personalisation offline. Several retailers have already installed facial recognition technology in-store.

As opined by a Wired article, for those that are able to get it right, the opportunity is huge: the ability to identify customers, track their in-store behaviour, right down to their emotional reactions to specific products – and then marry this information with online behavioural data to personalise offers, ads and experiences both in-store and online.

Similar principles could be applied in private spaces such as the home or car, where smart home technology could help brands better understand consumers and provide targeted advertising and personalised experiences at an individual level.

From brand purpose to purposeful design

Brand purpose is undoubtably one of the big trends of the past few years. We’ve seen ads against toxic masculinity, deforestation and discrimination, as brands have tried to convince consumers they share their values and have a higher purpose than simply selling products.

And with research from Havas Media showing that meaningful brands outperform the stock market by 134% – it’s easy to see why so many brands have been quick to adopt this strategy.

But we’re starting to see a shift. As consumers begin calling these campaigns out for being all-talk and no action, companies are realising the need to move beyond surface-level brand purpose and to start embracing what we refer to as purposeful design – creating products and services which allow consumers to make the world a better place.

Innovation in this space falls into two categories – products and services which enable people to make a positive impact to the causes they care about and those which enable people to reduce their impact on the world around them. With the latter occupying an increasingly important place in public consciousness in the west due to the actions of Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion, we expect this to be a big trend for 2020 onwards.

Consumers left craving a connection

We’re seeing consumers craving a connection in an increasingly divided and lonely world, brought about by the perfect storm of socio-economic, technological and political forces. So what’s happening?

People are now single for longer, meaning that more people are living alone, particularly in urban centres. Washington Post wrote about how, in Japan, it’s predicted that 40% of households will be single person households by 2040. This trend is echoed in the west – in the US, half of young people aged 18 to 35 say they don’t have a steady romantic partner.

The way we work is also changing. While an increase in remote and flexible working has brought benefits to many workers, it can, by its very nature, be isolating. Technological developments, hailed for their power to bring people together, haven’t always brought positive change.

The rise of online everything – shopping, meal delivery, banking – has resulted in many community spaces closing or falling into disrepair. What’s more, an article in The Week, showed there are academic studies that demonstrate social media usage and its correlation with loneliness. Add to this the increasing polarisation of politics, and this feeling of isolation has reached a tipping point, where people feel more divided and alone than ever before.

The net result? An overarching sense of loneliness that leaves consumers searching for connection and a feeling of belonging.


Ready yourself for the next wave of change

In this fast-moving world, brands must react to remain relevant. To find which brands are leading the field in the above trends, and how else you can capitalise on any of them, a white paper that details more information is available for download at this Kadence website.