Trend Obs is an international qual research observatory outlining changes in life styles and consumption. Every year, Ipsos questions trendsetters* in several countries, and this year selected Argentina, France, Japan, Sweden, the UK and the USA. The observatory provides brands with keys to understanding the society of the future, and helps them position themselves better within that society. A year and a half after the last edition, which spotlighted trendsetters seeking indicators of how to escape an ultra-polarised world, Trend Obs 2019 reveals a new search for balance, an attempt to regain control over the course of one’s life, at the cost of simplifying the outside world. But the exercise isn’t that simple and may herald other developments…
KEY TRENDS 2019:
2 major trends and 1 counter-trend
TREND 1 – Pretty things: a desire to make the world more beautiful
TREND 2 – Indiversal spheres: a brand new mix of individuality and universality
COUNTER-TREND – Otherworld travellers: an extension of the 2017 Trend Obs, with a strong desire to escape a world that is brutal by nature, through spirituality, travel…
From need to escape to desire to believe
A year and a half ago, the 2017 Trend Obs “Escape Game: the truths lie elsewhere” described a world governed by excess, extravagance and madness. Trendsetters, asphyxiated by the constant pressure to choose a side, were building themselves a life-saving “otherworld” via nature, community living, spirituality or travel.
In 2018, we are all being reminded of the here and now
Whether felt or imagined, positive signs are inciting people to set chaos aside to nurture a world that is simpler, easier to understand, where people can start to move forward again: the first steps in an economic recovery, with a positive, more supervised form of technology, and radical, humanist initiatives feeding into the need to believe in a future that is, at last, positive.
“While it’s true that the world has become increasingly complex lately, I think that there are definitely some negative aspects, like selfishness or greed. On the other hand, other qualities like generosity, love and empathy are much purer and stronger.” (trendsetter, Argentina).
The taking-back of control is happening in the present, on an everyday level: purifying body and mind, surrounding oneself with loved ones, reaching out to the weakest and neediest people.
“My perfect world would be full of equality and kindness.” (trendsetter, UK).
Believing and growing: very high tech
Meanwhile, among trendsetters, the spectacular rise of the digital world can be observed. The technological self-fulfilling prophesy is underway: it’s up to technology to create a better world. To such an extent that, for a large majority of them, it is recovering a part of the ‘nature’ and ‘spirituality’ movements of previous years, while promising an everyday world that is augmented and magical.
Is the new happiness to be found in a 2.0 tradition, where love, charity and success are centred around a world of artificial intelligence?
An ancient and powerful legend reinvents itself
The right to be different, the freedom to take initiatives, religion and good conduct, emancipation from the past, belief in scientific progress… All the values recommended by trendsetters echo the original promise of the American Dream. The land that welcomes the oppressed, starting a new life, the infinite range of possibilities...
But this legend offers a promise as dangerous as it is appealing, one that places Doing over Being: I am what I do.
2 major trends are outlined and 1 counter-trend puts them in perspective
and its sub-expressions
More humanity, art, positivity, dance, heroes and beautiful stories.
and its sub-expressions
"I'm all the same", a new norm, behind the illusion of difference.
But will this sudden re-enchantment last? Could this ultra-positivity already be showing its first few cracks?
A small number of trendsetters have stayed away from this new American Dream, and are pursuing their exploration of other paths with the same momentum as the 2017 Trend Obs.
For brands, the situation is both rich in potential and intriguing, and is an opportunity for tactical and strategic thinking. They will need to draw inspiration from these buoyant themes, while being careful not to fall into the traps of a bubble of enthusiasm as favourable as it can be ephemeral…
* Trendsetters: people aged 25 to 40 years selected for their capacities to feel and react to the context faster than other people. Recruited on the basis of attitude criteria mainly (not socio-professional category): eclectic, open-minded, curious, sensitive, connected to the creative world.
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