Trends To Watch in 2023 - January 2023
January 17, 2023 / Written by Rich Harvey
As a futurist, I study trends and factors that impact the future. Futurists are not crystal ball gazers. We don’t just make wild predictions of what the future might be. Rather, we gather evidence and extrapolate the trends that are set to shape the years ahead.
Businesses and consumers have encountered huge amounts of change in the last few years. And this doesn’t appear to be slowing down in 2023. As much as it may feel like it sometimes, the future is not an inevitable destination. By observing the demographic shifts, social trends and technological advancements that have shaped the past, we can make informed predictions about the trends set to shape the year ahead.
Due to the Russia/Ukraine war, residue impacts of the pandemic, global uncertainty, rising cost of living, high interest rates and stubborn inflation, the economic outlook in 2023 is looking tense. While we can’t be certain of a recession in 2023, it will very much feel like one from a consumer perspective.
Closed international borders for the last two years have resulted in movement of the population internally. The regions experienced strong population growth. Now, with net overseas migration back, the growing pains of population growth will need to be addressed and whether we have outsourced the problems of our most populated cities to the regions will be evident in 2023.
Sustainability has been on the rise for some time. As the pandemic quietens down in public conversation, concerns for the planet will take its place. Consumers in 2023 will continue to consider environmental impact and sustainability when choosing what to buy or who to do business with.
Digital transformation in the worlds of AI, AR, VR, IoT and cloud computing is going to accelerate in 2023. The evolution of these technologies and their interconnectedness is blurring the boundaries between them, to create more personalised and efficient processes and systems.
Increasingly, technology isn’t just a tool we use, but it is embedded into life and humanity. Just as the Metaverse indicates, it is immersive, to the point we may struggle to distinguish between whether something was created by Artificial Intelligence or a human. We can expect to see AI become even more integrated into humanity in the year ahead.
Lingering impacts of the pandemic have resulted in monumental shifts to how, where, why and who people work for. As hybrid work became the norm, people reprioritized their lives, participated in the great resignation and perhaps even quietly quit as they reassessed the impact their work was having and how they want to live their lives. People today don’t just want to hold down a traditional, 9-5 job. They want autonomy, flexibility, and for their work to fit into their lives, not the other way around. As a result, we can also expect to see a leadership shift away from monitoring to mentoring and doubling down on culture to attract and retain great talent.
People are continually ageing and evolving, however in 2023 we will see some significant generational changes that we need to be prepared for. In 2023, the oldest of the world’s youngest generation (currently), Generation Alpha, will become teenagers for the first time. Although they are already a generation with influence, this year will signify a shift where they can officially begin to contribute on social media platforms, and where we will hear more of their voice. Gen Z will continue to be the emerging workforce as the oldest of them approach the final years of their 20s. Many Generation Ys, (who are mostly in their 30s and are the current generation of parents), are now Australia’s largest generation. They are also the busiest and most time poor. Generation X are the emerging workforce and political leaders, sandwiched between caring for their children and elderly parents. Baby Boomers, Australia’s wealthiest generation, will continue to ease out of the workforce. As this happens, we will need to not only ensure the knowledge transfer occurs but plan for the transfer of wealth from this generation as well as the aged care demand this will place on the workforce and within this sector specifically.
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