10 Trends That Will Shape Our World in 2014 and Beyond

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JWT report spotlights The Age of Impatience, Raging Against the Machine and Mindful Living, among other trends.

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Consumers are both welcoming and resisting technology’s growing omnipresence in our lives—for many, technology is a gateway to opportunity, but those who are most immersed are starting to question its effect on their lives and their privacy.

JWT, the world’s best-known marketing communications brand, has released its ninth annual forecast of key trends that will drive or significantly impact consumer mind-set and behavior in 2014 and beyond.

According to the forecast, we’ll see consumer expectations for speed and ease rise exponentially with the mainstreaming of the on-demand economy and our always-on culture. As businesses respond in kind, making the availability of their products and services more instant, impatience and impulsiveness will only continue to increase. Meanwhile, the mobile device is coming to represent a gateway to opportunity for underserved populations in emerging markets—helping people change their lives by giving them access to financial systems, new businesses tools, better health care, education and more.

The forecast also puts a spotlight on the growth of immersive experiences, the accelerating shift to a visual vocabulary, the new appeal of imperfection, and the rise of telepathic technology, which will enable brands to better understand minds and moods and react in a very personalized way.

Other trends cited in the report include:

  • The End of Anonymity: Thanks to an array of new technologies and a growing drive to collect personal data, it’s becoming nearly impossible to remain unobserved and untracked by corporations and governments. As anonymity becomes more elusive, expect pushback from consumers and a growing paranoia around technologies and services that affect privacy.
  • Raging Against the Machine: As we move further into the digital age, we’re starting to both fear and resent technology, fretting about what’s been lost in our embrace of technology and the unprecedented pace of change. We’ll put a higher value on all things that feel essentially human and seriously question (while not entirely resisting) technology’s siren call.
  • Remixing Tradition: With social norms quickly changing and a new anything-goes attitude, people are mashing up cherished traditions with decidedly new ideas, creating their own recipes for what feels right.
  • Mindful Living: Consumers are developing a quasi-Zen desire to experience everything in a more present, conscious way. Once the domain of the spiritual set, mindful living is filtering into the mainstream, with more people drawn to the idea of shutting out distractions and focusing on the moment.

“Consumers are both welcoming and resisting technology’s growing omnipresence in our lives—for many, technology is a gateway to opportunity, but those who are most immersed are starting to question its effect on their lives and their privacy,” says Ann Mack, director of trendspotting at JWT. “One result is that more people are trying to find a balance and lead more mindful, in-the-moment lives.”

JWT’s “10 Trends for 2014 and Beyond” is the result of quantitative, qualitative and desk research conducted by JWTIntelligence throughout the year and for this report. Specifically for this report, JWTIntelligence conducted quantitative surveys using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool, from Nov. 5–8, 2013, surveying 1,003 adults aged 18-plus (500 Americans and 503 Britons). The report includes input from nearly 70 JWT planners and researchers across more than two dozen markets, and interviews with experts and influencers across sectors including technology, health and wellness, media and academia.

“With our annual trends forecast, our aim is to understand the forces of change that are shaping culture, consumer behavior and business, and actively participate in driving that change,” says Bob Jeffrey, Chairman and CEO, JWT Worldwide. “This type of intelligence allows us to identify emerging opportunities in the global marketplace that we can leverage on behalf of our multinational clients.”

Among the trends JWT has forecast in past years: “Play as a Competitive Advantage” in 2013 (more adults adding play into their lives to foster imagination, innovation and creativity—all competitive advantages); “Food as the New Eco-Issue” in 2012 (the environmental impact of our food choices is becoming a prominent concern); “De-Teching” in 2011 (more people logging off, at least temporarily, to get a break from technology); “Location-Based Everything” in 2010 (the explosion of location-based or -aware services that leverage data from mobile phones); “The Small Movement” in 2009 (the shift away from “bigger is better” in everything from homes to cars to stores); and “Radical Transparency” in 2008 (the “nothing to hide” ethos seen in some online behaviors).

The “10 Trends for 2014” report is available at JWTIntelligence.com.

About JWT
JWT is the world’s best-known marketing communications brand that has been inventing pioneering ideas for the past 150 years. Headquartered in New York, JWT is a true global network with more than 200 offices in over 90 countries, employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals. JWT consistently ranks among the top agency networks in the world and continues a dominant presence in the industry by staying on the leading edge—from producing the first-ever TV commercial in 1939 to developing award-winning branded content today. For more information, please visit http://www.jwt.com and follow us @JWT_Worldwide.

About JWTIntelligence
JWTIntelligence is a center for provocative thinking that focuses on identifying shifts in the global zeitgeist. Its aim is to bring the outside in—to help inspire ideas beyond brand, category and consumer conventions—and to identify emerging opportunities so they can be leveraged for business gain. As a part of JWT, the world’s best-known marketing communications brand, JWTIntelligence has conducted trends research and analysis across categories and geographies for nearly a decade. For more information, please visit http://www.jwtintelligence.com and follow us @JWTIntelligence.

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