By Dr Eugene Brink
The world is changing rapidly and given the impact of Covid-19 and technology in general, some trends are commencing while others are gaining momentum.
Evolution is part of humanity’s makeup and from fashion to home interiors, business and technology, trends come and go while progress is being made. As Peter Diamandis, cofounder of Singularity University, so presciently declares: “In the next decade, we will experience more progress than in the past 100 years.”
It is therefore apt to take stock of a bevy of trends that have defined 2021 and will continue to influence 2022.
First, neutral furniture is getting a modern twist. “We’re seeing customers ditching white, cream, and ivory sofas and upholstered pieces for richer, earthy neutrals such as camel, taupe, cognac, rust, and sage,” said Alessandra Wood, the vice-president of style for the interior designer Modsy. Warmer colours can help people create more cozy spaces that can really be lived in.
Maggie Griffin, the founder and lead designer of Maggie Griffin Design, anticipates people incorporating bright, happy, citrus colours like a pop of true green, cheerful yellow, or punchy orange to add vigour to their homes. “I have had so many requests for colour in my clients’ proposals for 2022,” she said.
Technology and consumers
Immersive experiences will grow in importance in 2022 and beyond. “Thanks to extended reality (XR) technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) brands can now impress their customers with engaging, immersive experiences,” says Bernard Marr, renowned tech entrepreneur.
This means that in a world that is less sentient and physical due to online shopping, businesses must employ virtual technologies. For instance, AR apps allow shoppers to try on a coveted watch or piece of jewellery without visiting a brick-and-mortar shop and in the convenience of their homes.
A by-product of this is something called “disintermediation”, says Marr. “The direct-to-consumer trend essentially means bypassing traditional intermediaries in the supply chain – such as retailers, wholesalers, distributors, advertisers – to connect directly with the end consumer. Brands across all sectors are now finding new, direct routes to customers via online channels.”
According to the management consultancy firm McKinsey, faster digital connections, powered by 5G and the internet of things (IoT), have the potential to unlock economic activity. “Far-greater network availability and capability will drive broad shifts in the business landscape, from the digitisation of manufacturing (through wireless control of mobile tools, machines and robots) to decentralised energy delivery and remote patient monitoring,” they say in a report on the subject.
Podcasts have now gone mainstream and is fast becoming the entertainment medium of choice for many people. In 2022, some 140 million people will listen to podcasts at least once a month in the US alone. Amateur podcasts are mushrooming (there are approximately 2 million active podcasts around the world), but the business is also becoming increasingly professional and attract abundant investment.
Consumer demand for books remained steady, but lockdowns drove more people to buy books online, primarily via Amazon, according to research by PwC. “Traditionally in-person discount bookfairs moved some of their sales online and, in the future, such bookfairs may consider hybrid in-person and digital sales models as the industry explores new ways to reach customers. Consumer behaviour in other segments is influencing adoption of digital books, with podcasting coexisting alongside audiobooks and in some cases, the formats mutually reinforcing one another.”
Bernard Marr, 8 November 2021, “The 8 Biggest Consumer And Customer Experience Trends In 2022”, https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2021/11/08/the-8-biggest-consumer-and-customer-experience-trends-in-2022/?sh=59df5fc14cfe.
Kyle Byers, 11 November 2021, “The 7 Biggest Entertainment Trends (2021-2023)”, https://explodingtopics.com/blog/entertainment-trends.
McKinsey, 2021, “The top trends in tech – executive summary”, https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Business%20Functions/McKinsey%20Digital/Our%20Insights/The%20top%20trends%20in%20tech%20final/Tech-Trends-Exec-Summary.
PWC, 2021, “2021 outlook segment findings – Consumer books”, https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/tmt/media/outlook/segment-findings.html.
Samantha Gridell, 29 November 2021, “The home-decor trends that will be popular in 2022, according to interior designers”, https://www.insider.com/home-decor-trends-popular-in-2022-interior-designers-2021-11.