Now in the middle of 2017 – a year that Foresight Factory predicted would be governed by precariousness – it’s clear that there’s a long shadow being cast by the sentiment of distrust and insecurity, felt by consumers in most corners of the world.

What does this mean for businesses?  And how can we, as business leaders, ensure our strategies, brands, products and campaigns remain aligned with consumer demand?  Inspired by our 2017 consumer trends report Trending 2017, these are some of the themes building in the ten months since its publication.

 

The year of AI

AI and its capabilities are driving a huge number of tech innovations. Foresight Factory predicts through our trend Branding Bypass that by 2025, 64% of consumers will be most likely using or interested in auto-replenishment services, and as more third-party platforms emerge like Amazon’s Alexa, the competition to become the filter bubble increases as the likes of American Express, Ford and Johnnie Walker integrate with the AI assistant.

 

And the year of the emoji (there’s even a movie, coming soon)

In reaction to growing anxiety is the rise of emotional intelligence and what we do with it. By 2018, we predict that 63% of consumers will post emotional signals daily, in the form of emojis – a majority that cannot go ignored by brands.

 

The Filter Bubble

When it comes to facts, most of us are keenly aware that what we believe is what we perceive and it’s not necessarily what represents reality. It’s a conflict between feelings and fact. The world in which we live is an increasingly complex one where people’s fears have been heightened by precariousness in different arenas of their lives. Uncertainty also thrives in a constant opinion-reinforcing filter bubble, where outrage as well as inspiration consistently flows around the same issues, driven by Connected Communities. This is felt most acutely by younger generations, spurred by a fear of the fourth Industrial Revolution and the 41% of young adults who believe that their job is at risk from automation.

The search for real

Consumers feel a need for a 21st century style of spiritualism, where 1 in 5 strongly feel the need to find the meaning in life. And unsurprisingly, people are looking for genuine interactions – 41% of people who view live-streams are also the ones partaking – the popularity of this spontaneous form of video is just one expression of the search for authenticity.

 

As we edge towards 2018 we have begun to unearth the new trends affecting the future consumer. These are also innovative and creative ways that they assert relationships with brands on their terms and in new areas. Latchkey Loyalty describes the rise of a commitment-free relationship with brands but with the end goal of long-term customer loyalty. The Algorithm Method looks at the rise of brands facilitating relationships, both platonic and romantic, driven by the 16% global average that see loneliness as a top risk in their lives.

 

These interesting developments have spurred us at Foresight Factory to publish a Mid-Year Update Report, complete with new innovations and an early heads-up on some of the consumer themes we’ll be exploring at our conference this autumn.

 

Download the Trending 2017 Mid Year Report: Global/ US