Global Trends 2020


Asian airline will begin charging customers who do not check-in online

Customers who fail to check-in online, and instead check-in at the airport counter, will now face a charge from AirAsia. The airline claim this will increase social distancing.


MerryMint launch a range of experiences for remote teambuilding

MerryMint are pushing a new line of team building activities for remote teams – including watercolour painting, pie baking, mixology, succulent planting and meditation.


Alibaba revenue climbs 34% in the pandemic period

Alibaba have announced a 34% increase in revenue in the June quarter due to the move to digital prompted by the pandemic.


H&M creates a jacket that hugs the wearer

Sensors in the shoulders of a new H&M jackets flex to give the wearer the impression of being hugged. This could create a sense of connection at a time when many people are more isolated than normal.


Starbucks launch a self-serve machine in Thailand

Starbucks launch a digital machine in Thailand, where customers can select, customise their drink and pay for it using a QR code.


Pandemic accelerates automation

The pandemic is accelerating automation, through forcing workers to isolate. Automation technology is being used to process some government business loans that were launched after the crisis.


Students begin virtual work experience

Citi Asia Pacific have launched a virtual work experience program to give students an insight into working life while maintaining social distancing.


PayPal claims cash is dead

PayPal records highest ever earnings, and believe society has reached a tipping point with cash use: consumers now actively avoid handling cash due to health concerns.


Digital tourism takes off

From the Northern Lights to the Great Wall of China, travellers from all over the world can cure their wanderlust with a digital experience that can transport them across the world from their own home.


Scientists develop unobtrusive on-flight technology that eliminates viruses

Ultraviolet lights that eliminate viruses are being tested by scientists at the University of Columbia – and their findings could have implications for how airlines fight COVID-19 as airlines and manufacturers adjust to requirements in the post-COVID-19 age.


Travis Scott concert on Fortnite

Rapper Travis Scott gave a virtual concert on Fortnite and it was streamed by 12 million people! It was a fully animated concert and Travis even used the opportunity to reveal a new song.


Denny’s has Joined Multiple Game Platforms to Engage + Provide Discounts

Denny’s is now moonlighting as a gamer on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The diner brand is giving codes and discounts to the people it connects with in gaming, and is seeing some fan engagement with posts on social media.


Robots enable contactless room service in hotels

A Hong Kong hotel chain has introduced AI-enabled robots to serve guests with food and drinks during quarantine. In the future, it is planned that their use will extend to provide other forms of assistance in the hotel.


Tom Tom’s tracking Beijing traffic

Satellite imaging data from Beijing dampens optimism around a ‘return to normal’ in China, which was hit first by Coronavirus. The satellite data clearly shows that despite lockdown lifting, weekends remain quiet, and – beyond commuting – movement is relatively limited.01


Sainsbury’s Volunteer Shopping Card for Those Shopping on Behalf of Others

Customers visit a web page and select how much they’d like to spend on their weekly shop. The E-Gift Card is then emailed directly to the person shopping on their behalf, which can be redeemed at checkout in store.


Supermarket opens with no physical shoppers

A supermarket in Auckland, New Zealand, has recently opened its first shop dedicated to online orders only. The store is designed to take pressure off other stores which remain open to the public and are also seeing a surge in online orders.


Remote control tourism in the Faroe Islands

As a signal of the extent to which digitisation can save jobs, as well as removing them, travel-starved people can hire a remote digital companion to show them around the Faroe Islands. Through using an app, people will be able to control where their guide goes, creating a form of hybrid, gamified digital tourism.


Food ordering via Instagram

ChowNow and Instagram have teamed up to help local and independent businesses by adding food ordering buttons onto Instagram. With the new function they are hoping restaurants can survive in these difficult times.


Open Table helps US Shoppers

The app Open Table – typically used to secure table reservations in restaurants – has responded to lockdown by changing its focus. In the US, shoppers can now book supermarket shopping slots using their app.


App for those who are missing office life

An app called #SoundBored has created a soundscape of typical office noises for those who are missing their colleagues. The range includes typing, yelling, sneezing, and even the pleasant sounds of people eating their lunch to bring the office ambience into the home.


Robots join the fight against coronavirus in Italy

“Tommy” the robot is helping healthcare staff in an Italian hospital monitor patients with Covid-19. The robots are able to monitor data from equipment on a ward and alert staff when attention is required – freeing doctors to deal with more serious cases and reducing direct contact.


Japanese students attend graduation ceremonies through robots

The Business Breakthrough University in Tokyo held a remote graduation ceremony, with students using robots to “attend” while remaining at home. The “Newme”robots were dressed in graduation caps and gowns for the ceremony and carried tablets which displayed their student’s webcam.


Coronavirus infects 5G conspiracy theories in the UK

Existing conspiracy theories in the UK about threats to health from the rollout of 5G internet have evolved to include the claim that the technology spreads Coronavirus. The UK communications regulator has warned broadcasters who repeat these baseless theories on air will be sanctioned.


Nike puffer jacket sofa encourages virtual social distancing

The Air Max Day Sofa “digitally upcycles” Nike puffer jackets, and allows people to use a custom Instagram Augmented Reality filter to help people to socialise, whilst also socially distancing online.


AirBnB launches digital experiences

Firms in the “experience economy” are particularly hard-hit by social distancing measures around the world. The holiday rental platform AirBnB has launched a new digital experience service, which aims to transport you to another country for an authentic experience from the comfort of your own home.


Zoom introduces new virtual background feature

As more people are using video conferencing software due to having to work from home, Zoom have introduced a series of playful backgrounds they allow people to pretend they are anywhere else.


Do-not-touch-your-face Machine Learning website

Launch of, a website tool created by US-based developers that helps users follow the advice of medical experts to not touch their face during the coronavirus outbreak through Machine Learning.


Pokémon Go from home

Niantic have announced that they are putting their resources into developing features for Pokémon Go that are compatible with staying indoors. The company announced that, in the midst of the challenge that COVID-19 represents, they are “putting focus on expanding features and experiences in our games that can be enjoyed in an individual setting.”


The share price of Zoom doubles since January

The share price of Zoom, the US remote conferencing service, has doubled since the end of January, rising from $70 a share at the end of January to over $141 by 26 March. As more countries are forced into lockdown, firms which help to bring us together – for work or play –  are thriving.


Apple’s app store in China increased 27.5% year on year

Total game downloads on Apple’s app store in China increased 27.5% year on year and revenue rose by 12.1%, according to market research firm Sensor Tower.


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

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

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