Simon Moriarty
Simon is the EMEA Director of Trends, responsible for content, client servicing and commercial support across the region.

After two years of the pandemic and multiple lockdowns, what does the future hold for consumers in 2022? Our Director of Trends EMEA Simon Moriarty picks four social and cultural trends to expect this year and beyond.

  1. Providing an escape from the uncertainty of the world

Even when COVID-19 will no longer be a concern, people will still want to blend at-home and in-venue experiences. The model of releasing films in cinemas and on digital platforms will continue, with streaming services looking at new premium models to monetise non-cinema viewing. There could be some potential backlash against this from viewers who already pay for streaming services, and from those in the film industry who expect financial compensation based on cinema box office revenue. However, there is significant potential to enhance viewer experience on all platforms through customisation, on-demand, augmented reality and more as people crave enjoyment everywhere.

  1. Demand for data collection transparency

Live music will benefit from a renewed craving for communal experiences, and while music streaming will continue to be the norm for most, demand for older forms of listening will become more important as nostalgia meets demand for people who want the comfort of familiarity. Importantly, all streaming platforms across all entertainment channels will need to be much more transparent about how they use, share and store their users’ data – people want to be more in control than ever before.

  1. Virtual and augmented reality become mainstream

Virtual reality (VR) and the growth of the metaverse may suggest a future of travel without leaving the home, but the simple fact is that people crave experiences, especially those they can share – and holidays provide this. There will be some wariness about different locations and the inconvenience of quarantining, but people will adapt and look at new places to visit. Rather than using new technologies to replace travel, brands will use these to provide support – try before you fly, via the medium of VR. Transport options will become part of the experience, with autonomous vehicles, smart-connected planes and previously-unaffordable luxury options becoming part of the ‘standard’ experience in order to boost traveller numbers.

  1. Demand for packaging that has a life after use

Sustainability and circular economy principles will become a key part of the fashion and beauty industries, with second-hand and rental options in the former, and demand/expectation of reusability and refills in-store in the latter. People will demand more significant measures from brands in those industries, focusing specifically on the impact of manufacture and production on the climate crisis, and moving away from brands that are too slow to change.

People have come out of the pandemic with a greater awareness of the uncertainty of the world and how things can change overnight – self-protection is the central facet of health and wellbeing demands, as lifestyles change to ensure protection against any future pandemics or crises. To support this we will see a continued move from wanting to look good to wanting to feel good, in all walks of life – and mental health support will be essential.