The Übertrend for 2016: Uneasy Street

This is the first of Havas PR’s “11 Trends for 2016.”

Blame it on 9/11, the financial crisis, the media, the frantic pace of life or declining morals, or maybe blame it on the blame culture that’s always looking for faults, culprits and scapegoats. Combinations of these and more all contribute to the übertrend of this year: a sense of unease that pervades much (most?) of life, an abiding feeling that things aren’t as they should be, that looming threats are out there, and that people need to make important decisions and do something. We’re engaged in a constant struggle between staying in or bailing out. Emotional alarm bells are endlessly ringing and we are responding in a variety of ways to quiet the din.

For anyone with children, or responsibility for children, keeping them out of harm’s way seems to have become a full-time occupation. To add to the worries, it looks as if going the extra mile to look after them makes them more vulnerable. Are they—and we, too—spending too much time with technology, and what effect is it all having on our brains and bodies? Maybe we won’t know for sure for another few years, and by then it might be too late. And even if it turns out that technology is bad for us, it’s likely to prove a very difficult habit to kick. Are we addicted to it and does it matter? Likewise, the prepared and processed foods that we eat in increasing proportions.

Then there’s climate change. Many are worried about it, or at least seriously uneasy, while quite a lot of others have decided there’s nothing to worry about. But either way, global citizens are having to deal with weather that’s weirder than normal and with fear-inducing droughts, like the one in California that’s drying out whole swathes of the state and its water sources. Fear drives us, yet we want to be hopeful, and that’s the result of a trend we spotted for 2013 in which people will increasingly pressure big business to do good.

Yet other worries: Whom and what can we believe on these and many other important topics? Whose opinion can be trusted on issues that people spend a lifetime studying? Does cutting taxes really make for a better economy or does it just make rich people richer? Does wearing protective headgear reduce the risk of brain damage or does it make people softer or more careless? (We spotted the trend of increasing angst over all things brain-related for 2010, and today discussing brain health is mainstream.)

Here’s the constant question raised by this anxiety übertrend: How can I make my present and my future more secure?

Or rather, bearing in mind that this is 2016: What’s the easiest and/or most enjoyable way to make my present and my future more secure?

Jan 4, 2016 | Posted by in The Economy, Trends | 2 comments

Comments (2 Responses)

  1. I was struck by your blog here, with regards to the pervading anxieties in our global society since 9/11. I will say this about what I have myself observed about people, is that there is a greater need to change our expectations and perhaps our concept of what it means to live a fulfilling life. I believe we are in the midst of a huge collective change in which we begin to accept and embrace the unknown, rather than setting goals for ourselves. What makes life more meaningful is in fact not in the form of predicting future outcomes, but by accepting them and being in the very moment of change and personal evolution. It is both a frightening and exciting time to live in this world.

  2. […] that people need to make important decisions and do something.” More on this trend from Marian here. The impact on the retail industry is that your customers are now overloaded, anxious and […]

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