Future Forecast 2024
How will young people think and behave in 2024? This report explores and reveals the global drivers of change as well as the emerging trends transforming how Gen Z and Millennials will approach work, travel, food, gaming and shopping in the future.
Written by Sarah Owen & Tully Walter
We live in a liquid society;
a period in time where the
concepts of identity and individuality are becoming more and more elastic.
Identity is not something that is achieved or constant, but rather a convergence of markers that are fluid, flexible, contextual and multidimensional – worn interchangeably. Welcome to our liquid society. This, to some extent, captures the zeitgeist of today’s youth and helps us understand why boxing people into clear-cut segments is becoming a quickly outdated process. In the future, understanding moods and moments will be the differentiator that keeps your company resonating with young people.
While COVID-19 and climate change feel like perpetual and insurmountable threats, other hidden dangers lie in the dark. Democracy is declining and income inequality is widening, creating stark divides and building a dangerous idea that divides nations, communities, and even families – the concept of the “other.” More than ever, there is no consensus reality. The solution to many of these issues lies in an understanding and appreciation of our deep embeddedness with others and our environment. Young people today have a more discerning eye than previous generations, and recognise the intersectionality and interconnectedness of the problems at hand. This future forecast takes this highly polarised world into consideration but only highlights attitudes and actions that contribute to constructing healthy societies and happy humans.
In 2024, a social, political, and environmental tipping point will drive people to drastically reform and rewire their world. From reinventing the notion of work and challenging the current growth narrative, to reshaping societal norms and developing entirely new digital realities, this report outlines the emerging mindsets and movements unfolding in the next few years.
Drivers of Change
WEAKENING GLOBAL INSTITUTIONS
Trust in institutions is waning. The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer found that – as a consequence of racial and social injustice and COVID-19 – public trust in government, business, NGOs, and media declined even further between 2020 and 2021. In 2020, Australia’s trust inequality ranked the highest in the world, with the majority of the mass population not trusting institutions. This has led to a questioning of hierarchy and authority that will fuel decentralisation processes in the future.
The aged population is at its highest level in human history. Due to sustained low fertility and increasing life expectancy, a divide between old and young populations is becoming more pronounced. In the US, the number of people over the age of 55 grew by 27% between 2010 and 2020, 20 times larger than the growth rate of those under 55; while in China, the elderly population (65 and older) are projected to make up 27.5% of the Chinese population by 2050, up from 9.5% in 2015.
GROWING WEALTH INEQUALITY
The gap between the rich and the poor has never been wider. Household incomes are changing due to rising wealth inequality, with middle-income households experiencing dismal income growth – and in some cases even income stagnation – over the past 30 years. Billionaire wealth skyrocketed 55% during the pandemic, with three single men owning as much money as the bottom half of Americans. Economic inequality can have worrisome impacts on societies including inhibited social mobility, increased crime, and poorer mental health.
Globally, democracy is on the decline. According to the Freedom in the World 2021 report, this year marked the 15th consecutive year of decline in global freedom, with almost 75% of the world’s population living in a country that faced deterioration. “The expansion of authoritarian rule, combined with the fading and inconsistent presence of major democracies on the international stage, has had tangible effects on human life and security, including the frequent resort to military force to resolve political disputes.”
Our increasingly connected society has put a premium on knowledge work (especially during COVID-19), whereby skills, information, and data now constitute valuable economic assets. There are currently more than 1 billion knowledge workers around the world who, despite the many remote work privileges, are facing mounting stress, fatigue, and burnout.
As of July 2021, more than 13,000 scientists had both recognised and warned of the pending climate emergency.
New climate predictions show that the annual average global temperature is increasing in likeliness of temporarily reaching 1.5°C in the next five years. Anthropogenic climate change is, and will, continue to have devastating impacts across societies and sectors.
Advances in AI, AR, VR, blockchain technology, and quantum computing continue to speed up exponentially, simultaneously equipping brands with new tools while raising important ethical questions. By 2025, there is projected to be more than 30 billion Internet of Things devices (such as smartwatches and smart refrigerators), equating to four IoT devices per person on average.
MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS
Globally, the mental health crisis was exacerbated by the advent of COVID-19. In one year alone, mental health telehealth visits increased 6,500% during the pandemic, while suicide remains the second leading cause of death among 15-to-29-year-olds. By 2030, the World Health Organisation forecasts that the largest health risk on the planet will be depression, not obesity.
What’s inside the Future Forecast 2024 report
Life Wellbeing: An eruption of destabilising societal ills and issues is guiding a new holistic and collective approach to feeling and healing. This chapter features six emerging trends including emotional hygiene, financial wellbeing, super-natural, faith reformed, community wellness, and audio healing.
Meta-Worlds: Touted as the next internet, the opportunity value the Metaverse unlocks is well into the trillions. In the last year, as society moved online, we were offered a glimpse into what the next digital future will look like. This chapter features six emerging trends including experience enhanced, digital citizens, omniverse, the metro-verse, blockchain boom, and NFT rush.
Age of Awareness: Today’s structures, constructs, and labels don’t reflect the changing values of Gen Z. In 2024, alternative voices will challenge the status quo while the call to action for inclusivity and equality will pose a non-negotiable for brands and businesses. This chapter features six emerging trends including pop culture push, inclusive by design, corporate accountability, art-tivism, intimacy introspection, and psychonaut subculture.
Reworking Work: With the Great Resignation under way, and a fundamental shift in how we view the traditional 9-5, young people are redesigning their relationship with labour, hierarchy, and hustle culture. This chapter features five emerging trends including polywork, be your own boss (BYOB), micropreneurship, 4-day work week, and the screen surge.
Revenge Travel: Despite the present home-centric mindset people are experiencing, 2024 brings with it a new appetite for immersive, transformative, and regenerative experiences. This chapter features five emerging trends including the bleisure boom, extended voyages, regenerative travel, transformative travel, and next-level luxury.
Retail Revival: E-commerce was the focal point during the pandemic but in 2024, physical stores will become important hubs for convenience, community, and curated ease. This chapter features 10 retail strategies to invest in, centred around convenience, curation, and community.
Post-Growth Paradigm: The growth imperative is under a critical review, as discerning Gen Z challenge (and blame) the current economic system for its harmful impact on the environment. This chapter features six emerging trends including questioning capitalism, the recycle boom, climate tech, meatless majority, material innovation, and farming futures.
Our report continues..