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Wunderman Thompson releases 'Future 100' report with 2021 trends

The 100 trends are drawn from sectors, including culture, technology, travel, branding & marketing, food & drink, beauty, retail, health, business and finance.

WPP agency Wunderman Thompson has just launched its annual Future 100 report, lifting the lid on trends shaping the coming 12 months. The report is developed by Wunderman Thompson Intelligence, the agency’s futures think tank and innovation unit. The wide-ranging trends look at creative innovations set to go mainstream, along with shifts in consumer behaviours across 10 sectors.

The 100 trends are drawn from sectors, including culture, technology, travel, branding & marketing, food & drink, beauty, retail, health, business and finance. For the first time, the report also looks at work trends, as a mass shift to working from home and rising unemployment upends our professional lives.

Mel Edwards, global CEO, Wunderman Thompson, said, “At a time when gaining a competitive advantage has never been more important, the Future 100 report reveals the key trends that will shape consumer behaviours and define the way ambitious brands engage with their customers during the coming year. These insights will help marketing leaders inspire growth for their organisations and move forward into 2021 with confidence and optimism.”

Developments under the spotlight include:

Micropreneurs: Move over side hustles, there is a startup boom in the making, fuelled by the (COVID) pandemic and rising unemployment, driving more and more people to make entrepreneurship their next career move.

Immunity wellness: The world has never been so interested in how our immune systems can be boosted, and the coming year will see numerous experts telling us how, from ancient treatments to DNA research.

Mobilising fandom: Fandoms are taking on a life of their own, moving from simply consuming pop culture to becoming amplifiers and content creators for their idols, online and en masse, with global K-pop fans leading the way.

Unbiased banking: Another industry where inclusivity is on the rise is banking – specifically the online-only neobanks, including Simba and Greenwood, which address the frequently overlooked needs of minority groups.

Cloud gaming: As video games become the latest media to get Netflixised, major players, including Amazon, Google, Tencent, Microsoft, Sony and Facebook, are betting big on cloud gaming.

Touchless travel: From check-in and baggage drop to bathrooms and in-flight entertainment, every aspect of air travel is being reimagined to minimise contact and maximise hygiene to rebuild consumer confidence in travel.

Big brands go circular: From Gucci to Uniqlo, fashion brands are getting into the second-hand business, driven by rising sustainability concerns and slimmer wallets.

Ghost kitchens: Influenced by the growth of delivery-first dining, this new restaurant concept sees off-premises dining prioritised.

Foraged ingredients: Not another food trend, but a beauty one, with the emergence of new skincare brands made with wild-harvested plants and promising potent results.

Live commerce: Retail-tainment is moving online with engaging, tailored shopping experiences using video streaming to demonstrate and sell products, and interact with customers in real time.

Emma Chiu, global director at Wunderman Thompson Intelligence, said: “Few of us will have experienced quite as much drama on a societal and global level as we did in 2020. The fallout from that is more new trends than we’ve seen since we started publishing The Future 100, and behaviour which had been evolving slowly thrust into the mainstream. Knowing which of these trends matter and why has never been so important for marketers at a time when the very survival of many brands depends on adapting at pace.”