Global Trends 2020

Global Trends Archive: 2017


Welcome to our latest 2017 Global Trends report.

Megatrends: Long-term trends shaping the world in 2017 and beyond

Before exploring key trends from our research, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the underlying demographic, economic and social changes that provide the backdrop to this report.

crisis of the elites feature image

The Crisis of the Elites

The rise of populism has become a global obsession in the last year, driven by the major upsets in Brexit and Donald Trump’s Presidential election victory, but with echoes in many other countries throughout the world.

Just how much do sustainability and brand purpose matter?

Corporate responsibility is now a minimum requirement for any respectable business. But how much does it really matter to people?

Principles of uncertainty – the public and environmental scientists

Scientists tend to enjoy high levels of public trust, but on the environment, the global public is finely split – 47% agree that “even the scientists don’t really know what they are talking about on environmental issues”, and 44% disagree.

Is public trust in business really broken?

There’s an accepted wisdom nowadays that trust in business is broken. But is it? And is the extent of the problem the same, around the world?

Uncertainty – and tradition

People have always been sensitive to change and it is sometimes said that it is the only constant.

Me versus us: Is the world getting more or less liberal?

Is the liberal dream of societies open for trade with religious and sexual freedoms, the right to equality and personal autonomy now dead?

The changing role of women?

In line with a broader shift towards nostalgia and tradition in the survey, there are signs that the move towards more liberal attitudes on the role of women in society may be slowing.

The optimism divide

One of the overarching themes emerging from this year’s report is a sense of anxiety.

Young, healthy and happy?

Around the world, a majority of us say that the older we get, the more we worry about our health – a 14 percentage point increase since we last asked the question three years ago.

The Battle for Attention (a digital reality check)

Globally, the time we spend looking at media is increasing and fragmenting simultaneously.

The rise of ad blockers

With 93% of connected citizens globally using the internet every day (more than the 72% that watch conventional television daily), online advertising is becoming more and more important to brands.

Brands in the Age of Mistrust

One of our key trends this year is the Search for Simplicity and Control – and this is where, in a confusing and complex world, brands remain vital for consumers.

Mobile payments taking off globally

Half the people on the planet now say they couldn’t live without their smartphone (54%).

Personalisation VS. Privacy

Would you be willing to give up some of your privacy to simplify your life?

Health – empowered and knowledgeable

Humanity is healthier than ever – and more able to control and choose its treatments than ever before.

Connected Health: Are you ready for the revolution?

Health and healthcare is on the cusp of a seismic shift. In less than two years your Fitbit may be replaced by a patch, much like a sticker, tracking your health metrics.

Sweet delusions – why our perceptions of sugar consumption matter

We all know that eating right is an important part of a healthy lifestyle – globally, 80% of us think that, of all the things we can do to maintain good health, eating right is the most important.

Generation strains

One certainty is that the world is ageing. The UN estimates that the median age of the world will reach 36 in 2050.

Will technology kill us all?

“Most of the threats we face come from the progress we’ve made in science and technology. We are not going to stop making progress, or reverse it, so we must recognise the dangers and control them. I’m an optimist, and I believe we can.” – Stephen Hawking, 2016

No easy answers: Political uncertainty in a mixed-up world

One of the clearest trends across the survey is a sense of feeling adrift from the past, discontent about our present and unease about our future.

Environmental disaster: Rising concern for emerging economies

While in the West public concerns about the environment are static, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa lead the world in concern.