From politics to entertainment, 2019 has been a year to remember. Here’s a look back at some of the top trends that have influenced culture and brands over the past year.
- Eco Accountability:
Earlier this month, unlikely teenage climate activist, Greta Thunberg, was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. The Global Climate Strike, which took place in September, marked the largest climate demonstration in human history. There has been an attitudinal shift which can best be summed up by the title of Thunberg’s book, No One is Too Small to Make a Difference. As the gravity of the climate crisis is finally hitting home, people are grappling with their individual responsibility. We have declared a war on waste. People are toting tasteful reusable coffee cups and water bottles. Retailers have introduced reusable produce bags, and in March, the EU voted to overwhelmingly introduce a single-use plastic ban.
Read more on Climate Justice.
- The Anxiety Economy:
If there has been one consistent theme from 2019, it is that people are stressed. While the number of people affected by anxiety disorder appears to be on the rise, coping with general feelings of anxiety are becoming a standard part of modern life. Social media has even found a humorous community in acknowledging this reality. Whether its a ritualised skin-care routine, ASMR videos, or collecting indoor plants, people are looking to bring a sense of calm and control into their lives. The market is inundated with weighted blankets, CBD products, crystal salt lamps, and meditation apps to help people achieve this.
- Feels Good to Be Good
This year eating your veg, getting more sleep, and drinking less alcohol has been the fashion. Young people are challenging the hedonistic expectations of youth and prioritising wellness. The global sleep market is valued at $70 million worldwide, as report after report confirms the critical health benefits of sleep. In the UK, 65% of alcohol consumers aged 25 to 34 “are trying or have tried to cut back on their alcohol intake” as the low/alcohol category continues to see record growth. At the same time, ‘flexitarian’ diets have framed eating less meat as the most responsible choice for one’s health and the future of the planet.
After searches for the word increased 313% from the previous year, Merriam-Webster dictionary has selected ‘they’ (the non-gendered pronoun) as the 2019 word of the year. For non-binary people, who don’t identify as strictly male or female, this is another small step towards mainstream recognition. This year, more nonbinary celebrities have come forward to share their stories. British Cosmopolitan selected nonbinary icon, Johnathan Van-Ness, as its first non-female cover in over 35 years. In Ireland, The Late Late Toy Show hosted 8-year Sophia. Assigned female at birth, Sophia told their family that they ‘want to be a boy’ and bravely spoke about their experience of being bullied. Yet even for those who don’t identify as LGBTQ, the gender spectrum is getting wider. From K-Pop stars to Harry Styles, men are making more feminine choices and challenging the perception of what a ‘real man’ looks like.
Read more on the Gender Revolution.
- Still Listening:
Podcasts have become mainstream as more people than ever are tuning in. Since the concept of podcasts began to trickle onto the scene nearly some 15 years ago, listeners now have more choice than ever with 800,000 active podcasts available worldwide. Over 192,000 new podcasts launched in 2019 alone. The widespread popularity of podcasts has indirectly boosted the sales of audio books, as people are increasingly exposed to sound as a channel. Sales of audiobooks are up 43% in the UK from 2018. At the same time, the presence of digital voice assistants have become a more common presence in the home, as the sales of smart speakers have surged.
Read more on a Smarter Home.