The experience of the last two years has been transformative. Looking to the year ahead, we foresee important demographic, economic, social, technological, environmental, and political shifts to take place. It is essential that leaders are equipped with an understanding of how to spot the trends, and what those trends are. So, what can we expect to see and change in the year ahead?
Here are the top trends from our Strategic Insights for 2022 virtual event.
1. Two-speed growth
The regions of Australia are rising. In a work-from-home era, 60% of Australians who don’t currently live in a regional area say they have considered moving to one1. While there is fast population growth in regional locations, there is slow growth nationally due to closed borders and a low fertility rate.
2. Intentional life styling
Australians are styling their lives rapidly after reflective periods during lockdowns and isolation by bringing ahead major life decisions like moving homes, changing locations, jobs, hobbies and social commitments. It’s the trend of designing lifestyles with intentionality and clarity.
3. Revenge spending
After years of lockdowns, cancellations and postponements, Australians are ready to get back to spending and make up for lost time. Time with loved ones motivates two in three Australians (63%) to spend money using their lockdown savings on lavish experiences with loved ones.2
4. Relational fitness
Prior to the pandemic, many of us experienced FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. In the wake of periods of isolation however, we will see the rise of HOGO – the Hassle of Going Out. Almost three in five Australians (58%) are less confident in organising and participating in social activities after the last two years of social isolation and lockdown.3
5. The Metaverse
The next step in technological innovation is the Metaverse where virtual reality, gaming, digital communities, NFTs and cryptocurrency dominate. While the Metaverse looks to the future, gamers today are already engaging in it. From Fortnite to Roblox or Minecraft, it will be the young gamers of today (Generation Z and Generation Alpha) who will be the architects of the Metaverse.
6. Social impact
Among consumers, there is a growing focus on sustainability, environmental impact and ethical purchasing. Sustainability and environmental consciousness is driving consumer behaviour with 57% of consumers saying they increase engagement with organisations that behave ethically in interactions.4
7. New federalism
Until the pandemic, there was talk of society being overregulated and stripping away state in place of looking to national consistency. The power rested with federal government. Not anymore. States have reasserted their authority through closed borders and different experiences of the pandemic. National identity has been replaced by a more localised one, with more than one in two (52%) Australians having increased their sense of pride with their state since COVID-19 border changes.5 In the year of a federal election, 2022 will see the trust of Australians put to the test.
8. The Great Retention
‘The Great Resignation’ describes the trend of a significant number of workers leaving their jobs because of the pandemic. While this trend isn’t a certainty, the conditions are ripe for it to occur, with almost half (48%) of workers saying they plan on looking for a new job in the next six months.6 The pandemic has given people time to pause, reflect and reassess what is important to them. Including in their work. This provides an opportunity for employers to find ways to attract and retain staff in this new shortage and economic reality. Employers should check the culture, ensure there is good communication and a positive working environment, leading instead to The Great Retention.
1 McCrindle, Australia Towards 2031 Report, 2021
2 Mainstreet Insights, Australia’s financial habits 2021
3 Mainstreet Insights, The soul of Australian cities, 2021
4 McCrindle, survey of 1,000 Australians, 2022
5 Mainstreet Insights, The soul of Australian cities, 2021
6 Employment Hero, Survey of 1,000 Australian workers, 2021