Global Trends 2020

Article

Understanding Complexity

This study outlines some of the headlines from more than 370 questions asked across 33 countries, and updates previous editions from 2013 and 2016.

We have analysed the data in more depth than ever, highlighting the world’s values and trends in one in-depth survey. Whether you are interested in populism, brand building, climate change, politics or social issues, you will find useful insights here.

Foreword

Welcome to Ipsos Global Trends 2020 – this report outlines some of the headlines from more than 370 questions asked across 33 countries, and updates previous editions from 2013 and 2016.

Our theory of change

In this edition we connect the global to the local, providing a way to understand how human interaction shapes – and is shaped by – our world.

Macro forces

Macro forces are the world’s broadest currents of change, providing long-term context for changing attitudes, values and behaviours. We have identified six macro forces, evolving from those we defined in 2017.

Dynamic populations

The world’s demography is in flux, and dynamic populations will shape the narrative of the 2020s. Europe will continue to age, with reproduction below replacement levels in all European countries in 2016.1

The fragile planet

2020 is expected to be one of the hottest years on record.8 In 2019, Australia caught fire. Indonesia is planning to move its capital city from Jakarta, which is being swallowed by the sea.9 

Growing inequality and opportunity

Despite rising global prosperity over the last few decades, division between wealthy and poor is growing. Rising living, housing and education costs are also making middle-class expectations difficult to access

Geopolitical tensions

The west no longer leads the world. Over the last decade, America’s geopolitical clout has diminished while China has become a superpower. This fragmentation has transformed us from a unipolar

Technology tipping points

Technological evolution is a certainty. Cyber-physical systems, Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) have been changing the infrastructure of our world. In the 2020s, these phenomena,

Data world

Information is now almost as vital to our survival as food. Our need to share and, crucially, validate information is a driving force. Even so, information is a double-edged sword. Humans are skilled liars. It is perhaps one of

Global Trends for 2020

Our trends are based on the values that unite – and divide – us around the world. By exploring global attitudes on brands, government, advertising, politics, social policy, technology and more, we have identified the strongest 36 values that people hold globally.

Global Values Map

This map shows the relationships between the values that people hold. The further apart two values are, the less likely it would be to find someone who shares attitudes from both. For example, someone who is

Trend Framework

The 36 values we have identified can be grouped into twelve global trends, or themes, presented in this report, representing the core issues of our time, including: climate, healthcare and tech, reactions to inequality,

Icebergs from aerial view

Climate antagonism

Heatwaves, forest fires and extreme weather; school strikes organised by Greta Thunberg; and news that the Arctic permafrost is thawing decades earlier than predicted. These are just some of the reasons that

Salad aerial view

Conscientious health

As concern about the environment rises, or – more cynically – as marketers look for new ways to entice customers, the link between what is good for us and what is good for the planet has grown.

School rotating door entrance

Authenticity is king

Authenticity is the retail and brand trend for the 2020s. Mass retail will need to acknowledge, build and embrace experiential spaces which bridge the digital-physical divide and give customers experiences

Data dilemmas

Global anxiety about the way companies use our personal data has risen by 8% since 2013. However, as we explored in ‘Trust: The Truth?’, even in the early 1990s, before the internet, the majority (66%)

The tech dimension

As internet usage keeps rising a key value is early adoption, the hunger for the next and newest technology. Globally, 7 in 10 try to keep up with technology (70%), and as many as 9 in 10 online

Peak globalisation?

The world remains starkly divided on the net benefits of globalisation. The ‘digital nomads’ associated with the values in this trend see the increasing travel and cultural exchange of a high-tech global economy as positive –

A divided world?

Overall, the world is becoming more socially liberal, but divisions across societies remain. In Ipsos Global Trends 2020, we trace four changing divides in personal values: individualism, support for democracy, attitudes to

Capitalism’s turning point

After a few decades of dominance, western liberal capitalism is now competing with authoritarian capitalism in China and Russia. The post-Cold War logic that ‘west is best’ has cracked. Inside western societies

Reactions to uncertainty and inequality

Despite continuing improvements in health and quality of life worldwide, anxiety about the future pervades in many countries. Seventy-eight per cent of people agree we live in an increasingly dangerous world and 52%

The enduring appeal of nostalgia

Ever since the economic crash of 2008, nostalgia has been a key trend for the established economies in the west. Half the planet wishes that their country was ‘the way it used to be’. However, those living in emerging

Search for simplicity and meaning

Simplicity is increasingly a luxury. The success of Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’ demonstrates the stress consumerist culture can create; Black Friday and January sales offer cheap dopamine

Choices over healthcare

While technology has been a core part of the giant leap in global life expectancy and standards of health, it has also facilitated misinformation and anxiety. There is an enduring sense that health should be assessed face-to-

Reflections

We have covered our 12 trends and 36 values for 2020. Our sectoral experts from around the world now discuss their reflections of our trends for 2020, for brands, business and society. Read on to hear how retailers can stop personalisation becoming too creepy, the challenges around joint responsibility for our fragile planet, the complex demands on the state, and much more.

Alone in the dark noise

One of the biggest challenges we now face is the ‘loss’ of the future. Across Global Trends 2020, we see most countries expect the next generation to be poorer than they are. The 2017 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Spend, spend, spend − trouble on the financial horizon

Faced with uncertainity about the future, hedonistic ‘you only live once’ lifestyles are growing in appeal. People

Everyone and no one: the question of environmental responsibility

The interplay between the measures needed to address the climate emergency and our personal values and actions – or lack of them – makes the implications

The data paradox: authenticity will prevail

Ransomware attacks, data breaches and data misuse scandals are becoming progressively commonplace. Naturally, consumers are increasingly anxious about their privacy. At the same time business is shifting

Can technology ever help trust?

As technology and the behemoth-like firms behind it take an ever-increasing share of our time, income and attention, permeating every moment of our daily lives – even when we ring a doorbell – the very essence of

Can governments ever tell a compelling story?

Some of the key clashes of values in global trends concern globalisation and the role of the state. While on average most citizens see globalisation as a benefit to

Climate change, food and sustainable behaviours

Climate change is putting pressure on brands to appear sustainable, but also creating massive opportunities for them.

Act like a shopkeeper, not a stalker

Today, data anxiety and online shopping co-exist slightly uncomfortably. Should this be of concern to retailers? If people are concerned about data sharing but still shopping online, can their concerns about privacy be

Good for me and good for we

Consumers today recognise that we all have a role to play in creating a world we want to live in – brands cannot afford to ignore the implications of the discerning consumption value. In the 2020s more than ever,

The changing faces of healthcare

With rapid IT and bio-tech developments, healthcare is changing rapidly. We see a trend towards patients wanting and having more control over their own healthcare, and with it, the emergence of peer-to-peer

Lonely, alienated and young

In a world that is more digitally connected than ever, nearly half of people globally feel lonely, and are struggling in ways that should concern us all. Many say they are overwhelmed by life’s choices, and they are

Are you talking to me…?

Gender roles and identity are becoming less rigid across the world, and at the same time our populations are ageing. The proportion of women in employment globally has dramatically increased over the last century,

Starting the electric car journey

As electric car ownership grows, manufacturers must not fall into the trap of applying the old rules to this nascent category. Electric car ownership will have its own shape and identity. Now is the

Media’s missing middle

The world is full of geopolitical tension, but globally societies are moving in a liberal direction on LGBT rights, with seven in ten agreeing that gay men and lesbians should be free to live their own life

Wider vice, narrowing trust … where next?

One of the marked trends alongside globalisation has been the march of national regulation. Consumers have long accepted regulation in industries such as alcohol, tobacco and gambling, but they are fast becoming

Future of Mobility

Many of the macro forces acting on the planet are emboldening manufacturers and governments to accelerate developments for the future of mobility: rapid urbanisation driven by dynamic populations, our technological tipping point and the need to

Contradictory consumers: be careful what you promise

Consumers are fantastically contradictory creatures. Just look at the way they inform their purchase decisions. Two-thirds will try a product or service if it gets lots of good reviews, but almost as many (63%) worry that most online reviews