The only constant in life is change. And boy hasn’t that been true over the last few years!
The rate that everything is changing is faster than ever before, and it is becoming so hard to keep up and make informed decisions for the future!
Thankfully, that’s where futurists and trend reporting experts McCrindle come in. They have recently released their 2023 Trend Report, to help us predict what the future may hold and shape the year ahead.
We recently attended their webinar, and wanted to share our top 5 favourite trends, to help you make informed business decisions to drive growth, and positively impact society.
Boooo. There has been a lot of talk for months about the likelihood of an impending recession. Spending is already being impacted by rising interest rates, inflation, increased cost of living and global uncertainty. Both doom and gloom 🙃. Analysts are prophesising that we are in the midst of a ‘recessionette’ – the feeling of being in a recession, without actually being in one.
This has had an impact on current trends, with new trend on the block ‘Recession-core’ entering the building. The recession-core discourse came to light after the Golden Globes this year, where everyone noticed a lack of necklaces hitting the red carpet. But why? A TikTok commentator cited The Devil Wears Prada, where Meryl Streep’s character explains how everything in fashion is connected to everything. Wealthy people tend to change up their style during times when the average person is struggling. They might start to shift away from being too showy with their luxuries and lean towards more quiet luxuries so they don’t appear ‘out of touch’.
You may have also noticed many sunny blondes opting for darker, more natural hues when it comes to their locks. ‘Recession brunette’ is another trend on the rise, with many being unable to keep up with the price of maintenance at the salon.
If you don’t laugh you’ll cry right?
What it means for marketers: understanding what’s important to consumers by by asking what they need most from your brand and tailoring your offer to suit will be key to stay afloat.
Harvard Business Review states that “the emerging winners will be the ones who take a more nuanced approach, tailoring the answer to the strengths of their own product and markets, as well as to how economic uncertainty will affect their customers”. Think about how you can give your customers small wins in a time when they’re feeling nervous, it’s all about working smarter, not harder.
2. Virtuous Consumerism
Sustainability has never been a more important and relevant topic for businesses to focus on. Concerns for the future of our planet and the need for sustainable practices are front of mind, and this impacts the way people are spending their money and seeing the world. It’s heartening that even when we’re feeling the pinch, sustainability and supporting local are still a priority.
Consumers are becoming increasingly more informed about the ways businesses operate and the impact that they have on the environment. Environmental impact, sustainability, circular economy, and supporting small businesses are just a few considerations when consumers are choosing what to buy. Particularly when it comes to up-and-coming Gen Z. 56% of them say environmental credentials of a brand/product are very/extremely important when making purchase decisions.
What it means for marketers: many brands are getting on board, but make sure you’re authentic in your approach. If your response is tokenistic, Gen Z will smell it from a mile away. Implementing an ESG strategy is important, but you also need to ensure you aren’t just preaching these values. You must walk the talk from top to bottom. Otherwise, you’ll join the ranks of ‘greenwashing’. Very off-trend!
3. Trust Doom Loop
Cue dramatic music! Trust is more critical than ever before and this is heightened when it comes to government, leaders and intuitions. Since the pandemic, trust in business, government and media have lowered significantly. People are increasingly sceptical and distrusting, which presents challenges for social unity and cohesion.
Yet in an era of fake news, trust is more important than ever. It’s hard to know what is real and what is fake when scrolling through social media or reading a news website. And with this era of declining trust comes a rise in alternative views. With the amount of scepticism in the air, people are going out and doing their own research, to come to their own conclusions. A dangerous trend! In response governments and institutions have doubled down with policy solutions. However, virtue can’t be legislated, and this doesn’t sit too well with the general public. If anything, it acts as confirmation bias of the negative views of power and pushes trust even further away.
What it means for marketers: to avoid this trust doom loop when it comes to business, leaders need to be aware of overreach. Solve issues collaboratively and use the power of relationships, appealing to people’s natural inclination to engage with brands that are human.
4. Population Growing Pains
Closed international borders for the last two years have resulted in movement of the population internally with migration from metropolitan areas into regional areas. This large scale, rapid, movement has brought so many opportunities, but has also been coupled with growing pains that these areas need to manage.
Some areas have seen more change than others. Even at a state level, the movement around Australia has been huge, with the biggest population increases in WA and QLD.
With the rise of working-from-home, hundreds of thousands of people have decided to exit the big cities and move to regional areas, reassessing their lives and thinking outside the constraints of a typical office job asking ‘where do I actually want to live’?.
Whilst the migration isn’t a bad thing, growing pains happen when the city is not set up for a large influx of residents. This explains why we’re seeing significant rent increases and a fractured job market plus school and childcare capacity issues.
What it means for marketers: this kind of growth creates new business opportunities in regional areas. Marketers need to avoid the monoculture assumption that their target market are only big city dwellers. It also means your team maybe more geographically diverse, which while challenging to manage, gives you the opportunity to more closely understand the rural and regional markets. Do it well and they’ll show you the love!
5. Intergenerational Transfer
Australians are living longer and working later, making the workforce much more generationally diverse. Today Australians over 65 have a workforce participation rate of 13% compared to just 8% in 2006.
The next decade will see a change of the guard in the workforce, from active Baby Boomers to Gen Y / Gen Z. The latter will comprise almost two thirds of the workforce by 2031, with Gen Alpha almost a tenth. By this time, the youngest of the Baby Boomers will be over 65, and easing out of the workforce. This change will leave a very significant knowledge, labour and leadership gap.
This means the way Gen Y / Gen Z think, feel and interact will have a significant impact on society and shift the dial on how businesses operate. And necessarily so, as the majority of consumers will be in their zone. It’s critical though that we don’t lose the knowledge of the Baby Boomers as they exit the workforce for the sweet retiree life. The strength of a brand and company comes from its history and heritage. We know this generation also have strong loyalty to their workforce, typically staying in their job longer, so we need to pick their brains or lose the understanding of an organisations purpose and why they started in the first place.
What it means for marketers: being an authentic brand means staying true to your heritage and purpose so make sure you’re harnessing the knowledge or your older workforce. More broadly, understanding the values and perspectives of each generation is part of creating an inclusive culture. Leveraging the wisdom of older generations by intentionally creating intergenerational mentoring opportunities could be your secret weapon in creating a brand with longevity.