2020 Technology and Cultural Trends

Part
01
of two
Part
01

2020 Cultural Trends

The six social trends in the U.S. that are expected by 2020 are; Inclusivity and Ethics, a new code of creativity, humanity in a Digital Age, purpose revolution, Mothers of Ambition, and the Rise of Virtual Influencers.

SOCIAL TRENDS IN THE US BY 2020

1. Inclusivity and Ethics

  • This is the top social trend which is expected to maintain the same pace going into 2020 has a new sense of vitality and change powered by youth and by groups that did not previously have voices.
  • In this trend, the newly empowered, often optimistic and aspirational individual will demand transparency, ethics and social conscience from both countries and corporations.
  • The focus of this trend is design on doing rather than just producing, and design thinking will take on a new sense of purpose.
  • This trend is specific to Gen Z and will mostly influence or affect the demographics of millennials or Gen Z.

2. A new code of creativity

  • This is another social trend which is expected to maintain the same pace going into 2020 influencing the general population.
  • The advancement in science and materials will make re-engineering almost anything from biological codes to computer codes and dress codes.
  • The combination of nature and technology will create a new systems, materials and products that will merge the physical and digital worlds.
  • As we enter from the Industrial Age to the Organism Age, through the Digital Age, DNA and micro-organisms will be used to solve the macro problems of tomorrow.
  • This trend is specific to the general population and will mostly influence or affect the overall demographics.

3. Humanity in a Digital Age

  • This is another social trend which is expected to maintain the same pace going into 2020 where humans will demand more from technology and from themselves that will create emotional intelligence and connections for both real and digital world.
  • This will be the cornerstone of the future that will also integrate human needs for touch and physicality in a world of invisible tech, and at the same time this will give tech a sense of emotion.
  • According to experts, the rise of artificial intelligence will make most people better off over the next decade.
  • However, this raises concerns about how advances in AI will affect what it means to be human, to be productive and to exercise free will.
  • In other words, as humans become more digital, technology will become more human.
  • This trend is specific to Gen Z and will mostly influence or affect the demographics of millennials or Gen Z.

4. Purpose revolution

  • This social trend is expected to maintain the same pace going into 2020. Where it redefines what humans are here for, what makes them happy, and, with millennials especially, what they’re spending their money on.
  • This trend is undermined by three pillars such as well-being, self-improvement, and experience.
  • Well-being is ‘what millennials want’ in the age we live in; self-improvement can be financial gain or education or enjoying simple life while experiences include everything from food, to travel, to events.
  • The well-being part links drastically to another point where there is a rising awareness of how social media can affect mental health.
  • A 2018 study conducted by Origin of over 1000 participants found that 34% of Gen Z are quitting social media permanently and 29% say it ‘tears apart their self-esteem.’
  • This trend is specific to Gen Z and will mostly influence or affect the demographics of millennials or Gen Z.

5. Mothers of Ambition

  • Another trend that is expected to maintain by 2020 is where single people are experiencing a revolution in the way they’re treated and the way they and other people view themselves.
  • Compared to the past where it was commonplace for mothers to go on maternity leave and housewifery was still a common trend amongst young mothers, but there isn’t a need for that trend now.
  • A new trend in which mothers post pregnancy pictures on LinkedIn — expressing the fact they’re pregnant, but that they’re not any less ambitious.
  • While males are pushing back against toxic masculine stereotypes.
  • Teenagers are also pushing back against unrealistic body and skin expectations.
  • This trend is specific to the general population and will mostly influence or affect the overall demographics.

6. The Rise of Virtual Influencers

  • Another trend that is expected to maintain by 2020 is the emergence of virtual influencers.
  • Virtual influencers are defined as computer-generated-imagery-created influencers who are designed to portray ideal lifestyle.
  • Virtual Influencers are gaining popularity, though some people may be blind to it or may not understand the concept but this trend is expected to maintain the same pace up to 2020.
  • There are benefits of virtual influencers but this trend of artificially creating personalities poses a massive potential risk to the future of culture and media.
  • The notable rise in followers of virtual influencers indicates that it may last longer than a mere ‘fad’ or ‘craze’, and their popularity is reflective of a wider change in how people are starting to consume media.
  • In reality, people are more open to following ‘non-real’ influencers online than real influencers.
  • This trend is specific to Gen Z and will mostly influence or affect the demographics of millennials or Gen Z.

About WGSN

  • A company owned by Ascential plc, the specialist, global information company that enables smart decision-making for the world’s most ambitious businesses. WGSN is composed of trend forecasters and data scientists obsessively decode the future to provide the authoritative view on tomorrow. The company provides globally relevant content including daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.

About Wunderman Thompson’s Future100

  • The Future100 is published by Wunderman Thompson and one of the main subsidiaries of PR and marketing agency WPP. This company predicts which social trends are going to take off — and defines our culture and the advertising and product market — in the next 365 days.

Research Strategy:

We leveraged a compilation of industry insights, market research, leading media articles or trend expert publications for the social or cultural trends in the U.S. by 2020. We started our research by searching for pre-compiled information of social trends in the U.S. that is expected to keep pace by 2020. We found three list of social trends or cultural trends in the U.S. that is expected by 2020 from the article of trend expert of WGSN. WGSN is a global information company composed of trend forecasters and data scientists providing globally relevant content including daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services. Thus, we have considered the information presented as reliable. In addition, we were also able to list another three reliable social trends from the Future100 insights, published by Wunderman Thompson. This company predict which social trends are going to take off and define the culture, the advertising and product market in the next 365 days. Since this article is presented in the current year, we can then expect that the following trends presented are expected to maintain by 2020. Lastly, we then analyze each trends to determine if it is specific to Gen Z or Millennials and what demographic is mostly affected/influenced.

To summarize, we were able to provide six social trends in the U.S. that are expected by 2020 which include Inclusivity and Ethics, A new code of creativity, Humanity in a Digital Age, Purpose revolution, Mothers of Ambition, and The Rise of Virtual Influencers.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

2020 Technology Consumer Trends

Five consumer technology trends in the United States for the upcoming year are 5G technology, blockchain and cryptocurrency, 3D printing, the internet of things (IoT), and voice/conversational AI/natural user interfaces. Complete details are listed below.

1. 5G

  • 5G is the next generation of communication networks and services.
  • The three public key infrastructures that 5G requirements are based on are enhanced mobile broadband communication, massive machine type communication, and ultra-low latency communication.
  • 5G will bring faster broadband speeds, more reliable mobile networks, and advancements in smart cities, vehicles, manufacturing, and IoT intensive technologies.
  • According to Atos, 5G will have a high impact on work and in peoples' home lives by 2020.
  • 5G connections in North America is expected to grow to over 400 million by 2025. (FierceWireless; CCS Insight, 2018).

DEMOGRAPHIC INFLUENCE
  • According to the Mobile Connectivity Report from NPD Connected Intelligence, 5G awareness has reached nearly 2 out of 3 consumers, totaling 64%, at the end of the second half of 2018 which is up from 44% at the end of the first half of 2018.
  • The survey also shows that 33% of smartphone owners report interest in purchasing a 5G-enabled smartphone once available.
  • Millennials report the highest potential to make the move to 5G with nearly 49% indicating interest.

2. Blockchain / Cryptocurrency

  • Blockchain is a protocol that takes the form of distributed ledgers, using cryptographic techniques to store a list of records–or blocks–immutably, ordered chronologically.
  • Cryptocurrencies are an important blockchain element.
  • According to Daniel Newman on Forbes, in 2020, blockchain will move beyond crypto and find it uses into food safety, intellectual property, real estate, and others.

DEMOGRAPHIC INFLUENCE
  • According to Edelman’s study, 17.2% of Millennials own crypto and that number is higher for wealthy Millennials at 25%, further 31% are interested in crypto, and 74% say technical innovations like blockchain make the global financial system more secure.
  • Sustany Capital found that 88% of Millennials “want to own cryptocurrencies as an investment,” and 42% want to use cryptocurrency as savings."
  • 97% of surveyed Millennials and Generation Xers said they’d like to learn more about crypto and 73% of Millennials would be significantly more likely to invest in crypto, if advised by a financial adviser.
  • Cint surveyed 1,884 U.S. residents between the ages of 13 to 21 (Generation Z); 52% said that they were “not at all” likely to purchase cryptocurrency in the next six months, and over.

3. 3D Printing

  • "3D printing (3DP), or additive manufacturing, is an innovative approach to manufacturing 3D objects, materializing them from virtual designs created using CAD (Computer Added Aided Design) programs."

DEMOGRAPHIC INFLUENCE
  • In Sculpteo’s 2019 The State of 3D Printing survey, the research found out that Millennials are the most common users of 3D printing, with over 39% of respondents between 25 and 34 (and more than 60% between 25 and 44).

4. IoT

  • 4G IoT market will generate about 170 million U.S. dollars in revenue in 2020 (Grand View Research; Statista estimates, 2017).
  • In North America, the number of consumer IoT connections in 2020 is forecast to reach 1.7 billion.
  • "There are already a lot of devices, but the IoT is only getting started. IHS has predicted there’ll be over 75 billion total connected devices to support the arrival of the technology in 2020."

DEMOGRAPHIC INFLUENCE
  • KPMG conducted a survey showing that approximately, 74% of Millennials said they would use more IoT devices if they had more confidence about the security of these devices.

5. Voice/ Conversational AI /Natural User Interfaces

  • "The near future with a set of new upcoming technology trends will find itself conducting more operations with a voice command. In only a matter of time, every device that we have surrounded ourselves with will be able to function and perform actions with a command of our voice. "
  • Applications such as Siri and Alexa lead the charge.

DEMOGRAPHIC INFLUENCE
  • 67% of the Millennial and Gen Zers have communicated with a company via voice assistant, but only 35% say they prefer it."
  • Millennials and Gen Z are more enthusiastic about voice assistants than Traditionalists and Baby Boomers.
  • "34% of U.S. 18-29-year-olds owned a smart speaker at the beginning of 2019 while the figure for the over 60 population was just 20%."
  • "The use of voice assistants on smartphones follows a similar pattern but is less extreme with over 80% of under 30 consumers saying they’ve used a smartphone-based voice assistant compared to about 60% for the oldest age group."

Research Strategy

In order to choose the most relevant trends, the research team collected several lists of trends in the consumer technology sector from different reputable sources. We searched for lists in industry websites and news websites such as Forbes, Cisco, Atos, etc. From these lists, we selected those that were frequently listed and those that are on the consumer side. To provide data for demographic influence, we searched for market reports and surveys of the usage of these trends from industry websites, technology-focused websites and report-generating websites. 
Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "The second trend that WT is focusing on this year is the so-called ‘purpose revolution’ – a redefinition of what humans are here for, what makes us happy, and, with millennials especially, what we’re spending our money on."
Quotes
  • "Virtual influencers are computer-generated-imagery-created influencers who are designed to portray ideal lifestyle—with Vogue dubbing one of the first virtual influencers, @lilmiquela, as the “Fictional It Girl.”"
Quotes
  • "There has been a lot of speculation around the rise of CGI influencers within the media industry, particularly as we’ve seen Shudu, EE’s virtual stylist, recently stepped into the limelight at the BAFTAs this yea"
From Part 02
Quotes
  • "According to the latest Mobile Connectivity Report from NPD Connected Intelligence, 5G awareness has reached nearly 2 out of 3 consumers, totaling 64 percent, at the end of the second half of 2018. This is up from 44 percent at the end of the first half of 2018."
Quotes
  • " It didn’t take long for millennials to notice – 17.2 percent of millennials own crypto already. And that number is higher for wealthy millennials: According to Edelman’s study, 25 percent of wealthy millennials own cryptocurrencies, a further 31 percent are interested in crypto, and a whopping 74 percent say technical innovations like blockchain make the global financial system more secure."
  • "A Sustany Capital study found that 88 percent of millennials “want to own cryptocurrencies as an investment,” and 42 percent want to “use cryptocurrency as savings.”"
  • "Many millennials feel held back from diving into crypto only because of lack of education, but 97 percent of surveyed millennials and generation X said they’d like to learn more. 73 percent of millennials would be significantly more likely to invest in crypto if advised by a financial adviser. "
Quotes
  • "Per the report, SurveyMonkey Audience partner Cint surveyed 1,884 U.S. residents between ages 13 to 21 to learn the opinions Generation Z. The survey participants were asked how likely they were to purchase cryptocurrency in the next six months, and over 52% answered: “not at all.”"
Quotes
  • "Additive manufacturing is poised to be a key aspect of the millennial-led market. In Sculpteo’s 2019 The State of 3D Printing survey, 80% of companies said that their speed of innovation has been significantly improved by 3D printing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the research also verified that millennials are the most common users of 3D printing, with over 39% of respondents between 25 and 34 (and more than 60% between 25 and 44). "
Quotes
  • "Among Traditionalists and baby boomers, 39% say they’ve used a voice assistant to communicate with a company, but only 10% prefer that. For the millennial and Gen Z generations, 67% have communicated with a company via voice assistant, but only 35% say they prefer it."
  • "Looking closer at generational groups, millennials and Gen Z are more enthusiastic about voice assistants than Traditionalists and Baby Boomers."
Quotes
  • "34% of U.S. 18-29-year-olds owned a smart speaker at the beginning of 2019 while the figure for the over 60 population was just 20%."
  • "The use of voice assistants on smartphones follows a similar pattern but is less extreme with over 80% of under 30 consumers saying they’ve used a smartphone-based voice assistant compared to about 60% for the oldest age group."
Quotes
  • "KPMG conducted a survey. In this survey, around 74 percent of Millennials said they would use more IoT devices if they had more confidence about the security of these devices."