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2023 brings elevated expressionism to arm people with hope for the uncertain year ahead: Wunderman Thompson’s annual trend report

The report presents 100 trend predictions in the fields of culture, tech and metaverse, travel and hospitality, brand and marketing, retail and commerce, among others

People are determined to show resilience, innovation, and joy in the new year in the face of continued hardships, as per Wunderman Thompson’s ‘The Future 100: 2023’ report.

The report also states that Web3 is inevitable and to prepare for its arrival, brands are arming themselves with updated digital strategies.

It sheds light on the top 100 trends in the fields of culture, tech and metaverse, travel and hospitality, brand and marketing, retail and commerce, among others. 

Coined by Wunderman Thompson Intelligence as the ‘Joyconomy’, the rise of trends such as ‘Elevated Expressionism’, ‘Feel-Good Feeds’, and ‘Ageless Play’, demonstrates the opportunities for brands who lean into consumers’ desire for inspiration and optimism, as people become are determined to show resilience, innovation, and joy in the face of continued hardship.

“The lightning pace of technology sees the evolution from building to living the metaverse. Every aspect of life is being explored in the metaverse—from our digital identities to the prospect of virtual families to constructing virtual homes. More importantly, the metaverse is opening the door to a 3.0 future as a decentralised era slowly takes shape in the form of Web3. Communities, creators, and brands are invited to form a democratic internet that truly belongs to everyone, introducing new formulas for everything from ownership to community engagement to retail,” said Emma Chiu Global Director, Wunderman Thompson Intelligence.

An unrestrained, impactful, and powerful burst of energy is being injected into the year ahead, arming people with hope, joy, and happiness amid continuing uncertain times, according to ‘The Future 100: 2023’ from Wunderman Thompson.

The outlook, from the ninth edition of the annual essential trend almanac which offers a snapshot of the most compelling trends to keep on the radar for the year ahead, says that despite on-going economic and environmental crisis, people are choosing joy.

In addition to the rise of the ‘Joyconomy’, highlights include:

  • Culture – Indigenous Innovation: Indigenous Techniques are forming regenerative approaches to managing the environment
  • Tech and Metaverse – Techcessibility: Companies are redesigning their digital environments for greater accessibility
  • Travel and Hospitality – Temperate Travel: Rising temperatures will prompt travellers to seek out cooler destinations
  • Brands and Marketing – Amplifying Diverse Creators: Growing calls for authentic representation in advertising are driving a wave of brand collaborations with marginalized creative talents
  • Food and Drink – Cell-cultured Dishes: As cell-cultured food moves from lab to grocery store, luxury dining may be the first beneficiary
  • Beauty – Resurrected Ingredients: Brands are bringing back extinct and forgotten sensory ingredients
  • Retail and Commerce – Crisis Retail: As the financial crisis bites, brands are stepping up to help their most vulnerable consumers
  • Luxury – Residence at Sea: The next-gen digital nomad is taking to the sea—in style
  • Health – Menopause Retreats: From HRT education to nutritional advice, retreats designed specifically for the menopause journey are on the rise
  • Work – Generation Flex: Employee expectations are rising. Despite economic woes, could the balance of power be tipping in their favour?  

Emma said, “In a year when all signs should point towards a bleak and chaotic outlook as a rocky economy, political instability, and environmental deterioration persist, we’ve found that there are endless opportunities for brands to tap into this consumer mindset as last year’s unbounded optimism shifts to an exuberant need for uplift and play.”

“Community, creativity, and colour vibrantly paint 2023. The stress of the past years has put an emphasis on optimising both the mind and body to empower an elevated self; the lightning pace of technology sees the evolution from building to living the metaverse (with every aspect of our lives being explored in this new frontier of customer experience); and people are demanding that brands use their influence to better society by putting accessibility and inclusion at the fore,” she added. 

Naomi Troni, Global Chief Marketing and Growth Officer at Wunderman Thompson, added, “The world is on the brink of recession, and it has never been more important for brands to be on top of the latest trends that will define consumer spending in the year ahead. With competition for share of mind and pocket becoming increasingly tough, The Future 100: 2023 reveals the essential, unexpected, and occasionally jaw-dropping insights that will help forward-thinking brands stay ahead.”

‘The Future 100: 2023’ from Wunderman Thompson’s futurism, research, and innovation unit, Wunderman Thompson Intelligence, has been compiled by a team of trend analysts, bringing together exclusive expert interviews and proprietary research.  


Editor-in-Chief: Emma Chiu

Editor: Emily Safian-Demers

Writers: Marie Stafford, Chen May Yee, John O’Sullivan, Sarah Tilley, Carla Calandra, Jamie Hannah Shackleton, Francesca Lewis

Sub-Editors: Hester Lacey, Katie Myers

Creative Director: Shazia Chaudhry

Cover: Planet City, courtesy of Liam Young

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