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It’s here! For what feels like forever, 2020 has been every trend watcher’s near-mythical time horizon. Now, we’re about to live it.

The most fundamental truth of what’s next is unprecedented change. Those who stay ahead of or on top of these changes, who can surf them and communicate them to a broader group, will be the winners within their industries and the world at large.

Green Pressure

In 2020, consumers move from eco-status to eco-shame.

Bugged About Bugs

Natural biological bugs are a bigger threat to emerging countries, but cyberattacks with deliberately engineered digital bugs will worry developed countries.

Safe Eating

What’s Left? Sugar, soybeans, gluten, salt … Big Food will see its tobacco moment, with greater regulation of and higher taxes on suspect foods and drinks.

Women Prevail

Gender equality is growing, and so will awareness of sexism as globalized social media relay stories of gender relevance and make them local everywhere.

Small (Business) Is the New Big

Technology, culture and mindset—plus the security of being your own boss—are enabling the trend toward small businesses globally.

Home Is Where Everything Is

As life’s essentials become more portable, “local” will be everywhere, anywhere and nowhere, all at once.

Transparency and Traceability

Consumers are increasingly aware that their personal information is valuable and are demanding control. Organisations recognise the increasing risk of securing and managing personal data, and governments are implementing strict legislation to ensure they do. Transparency and traceability are critical elements to support these digital ethics and privacy needs.

Autonomous Things

Autonomous things are physical devices that use artificial intelligence (AI) to automate functions previously performed by humans. The most recognisable forms are robots, drones, autonomous vehicles/ships and appliances. Their automation goes beyond that provided by rigid programming models, and they exploit AI to deliver advanced behaviours that interact more naturally with their surroundings and with people.

As the technology capability improves, regulation permits and social acceptance grows, autonomous things will increasingly be deployed in uncontrolled public spaces.

Privacy In a Cashless Future

As consumers continue to grapple with taking control of their online identities, they might soon have to start worrying about their financial identities too. Both Facebook and the Chinese government are preparing to roll out their own digital currencies next year, meaning more scrutiny and awareness is likely to be placed on where and how people are spending their money in their day-to-day lives.

Lastly for those who want to look good in 2020!

Linear lines like stripes will probably be everywhere. Both horizontal and vertical, will continue to be popular in 2020. In particular, vertical lines will be big because they look great in photos and “flatter any body type.”