COVID-19 has done many things – most of them distinctly unpleasant. It has also helped rewrite the rules of engagement for many businesses, and to forge a new breed of consumer.
Spurred on by some startling tech developments, we now look into a future of infinite shopping possibilities. Across all age groups, consumers may never again shop in the same way.
So, dive in and pick a page, as we take you on a whirlwind, thought-provoking tour of our top 20 trends, complete with the actions to take to help you navigate them with confidence.
SPACE COMMERCE – A GIANT LEAP FOR ENTERPRISE
Space, the final frontier. A vast, infinite place, much of it still beyond the parameters of our comprehension. Yet we are seeing audacious new moves to visit and commercialize space led by the “astropreneurs” – larger-than-life, ultra-wealthy figures like Musk, Bezos and Branson. We’re also aware of plans to advertise in the night sky using nanosatellites, fly tourists into space, and projects to provide earth-bound services from outer space.
Presented to us as pioneering, the more you delve beneath the surface of the newly commercialized space race, the more you get a sense of the gains at stake for those who move first into this new, unregulated frontier. In an environment where there are no rules, those who get there first set the rules.
Aiming to control space logistics and infrastructure is a politically and strategically shrewd manoeuvre, especially when we imagine a future where space might be used to build, warehouse and distribute products and services, as well as mine planets and asteroids for natural resources. And while initially this will be very much a space-to-Earth play, in future, space commerce will evolve to space-to-space enterprise, as humans colonize planets.
But what do consumers think? While 55% would pay a premium for ‘exceptional’ products made in space, and 47% would be happy to take a job in space, 46% of consumers fear that space commercialization may be a destabilizing force for peace on Earth. And only 15% believe that the astropreneurs’ plans for space are for the benefit of mankind.
POST-DEATH CONSUMERISM AND NEVER-ENDING SPENDING
What defines a shopper? The ability to make purchasing decisions? The ability to spend? To have funds at your disposal? All of these traits are possible without having to be a living, sentient being. Or, at least, no longer being a living, sentient person.
No, we’re not talking about some kind of spiritualist commercialization of the afterlife. It’s all to do with Artificial Intelligence (AI). By identifying patterns in our spending, we already know that AI can easily build up an amazingly accurate picture of the consumers we are and the purchasing decisions we make. You only need to be part of a subscription service to know how precisely re-purchasing data can be used.
On the other hand, over the last few years we’ve seen examples of the dead being brought to life by AI… at least virtually. Look at the hologram of Kim Kardashian’s deceased father created for her 40th birthday. It’s not a huge leap to put these two applications of AI together – its ability to model our personalities and habits through data, and to virtually resurrect us as digital avatars. Load an individual’s personality database into an avatar, attach a decision-making AI and connect it all to a bank account – and hey presto, you have a brand new type of consumer capable of continuing to make purchasing decisions even after a person’s death.
But would consumers be interested? You betcha – our global Future Shopper survey tells us that 44% of consumers said that they would be interested in spending from beyond the grave, with the most interested consumers being those in Thailand (4 in every 5 consumers). But to what purpose? Most of the interest focuses around family, either continuing to provide for them after death, or keeping the bond alive with things like buying birthday gifts.
To see more about the report: