The Future 100: 2021

For all futurists out there, an interesting report to flip through. A lot of interesting observations on COVID. New ways of safe traveling, safer clothing, cleaner packaged food and micropreneurs that turn hobbies into companies whilst locked down. Apart from that some larger trends seem to take hold.

Combining the ease of ecommerce with the theater of infomercials, live commerce features a host or influencer live video streaming as they demonstrate products available for purchase and interact with their audience in real time (page 145). Brand purpose goes mainstream, driven by ethical consumers who continue to turn to businesses that reflect their values (Ethical scoreboard, page 81; Rewilding, page 16). A stunning 82% of US gen Zers believe brands should "leave aside their differences and work together for the greater good". So businesses are choosing to collaborate to tackle social and environmental challenges (Branding together, page 73). Digital technologies are responsible for 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions—a similar amount to those generated by the airline industry (Data sustainability, page 37).

Health extends into every business. Look at virtual athletics (page 33) and the possible appointment of chief health officers (page 164) to the leadership team.

In media the lines blur between stories and games: game-tainment (page 27). The Sims 4 hit a peak of almost 10 million unique visitors in the second quarter of 2020, In July 1, more than 160,000 viewers tuned in to watch popular gamer Ninja play Fortnite on YouTube. And after vinyl, now the cassette is back with sales figures rising (page 24) as consumers are seeking comfort in nostalgic throwback entertainment formats, especially now that portability and on-the-go access aren’t top priorities.  French startup We Are Rewind unveiled its prototypes for a Bluetooth cassette mini-deck. Meanwhile luxury travel embraces the membership model (page 52).

The author is Wunderman Thompson Intelligence.


Want to receive more content like this in your inbox?