Forget new normal, the ‘next normal’ has arrived

Trends to watch out for in 2022
These are the trends that will influence and define 2022 — and beyond...

We’ve all been through a lot these past two years. Covid-19 seriously changed the world, and it seems like its effects aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Sure, the vaccines tease us with a faint light at the end of the tunnel however, the fight against the pandemic is not yet won, and we need to adapt to move forward – hence the term, the ‘new normal’.

2021 was dubbed as the year of transition, but as we enter a New Year – one that will undoubtedly bring many surprises – we’ve come to realise that we’re living in the ‘next normal’ – one that will continue to see the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), an insight into the metaverse, space-going billionaires and celebs, and much more.

Below, we digest the biggest trends we think we’ll be seeing (and living) in 2022…

1. Enter: Metaverse

In October 2021, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s corporate name change to ‘Meta’, shifting into a new chapter. A brilliant business move (we think), Meta’s new world signals the possibilities of virtual and augmented reality – a space for us to explore a three-dimensional world referred to as ‘Metaverse’. 

This year, we think the attempt at ushering in the metaverse will come quickly as users start to interact, socialise, explore and create content in the virtual environment. The metaverse (or Web3) is also linked to NFTs and cryptocurrencies, and we’ve been seeing a plethora of people monetize their virtual transactions using blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. Also, brands including Nike, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Adidas and more are bound to use Web3 as a large commercial channel. 

2. The rise of NFTs and cryptocurrency

In 2021, Collins’ Dictionary’s ‘Word of the Year’ was NFT, described as “a unique digital certificate, registered in a blockchain, that is used to record ownership of an asset such as an artwork or a collectible.” The reason why it topped the list was that there was a meteoric rise in its use in 2021 and will only continue upwards well into 2022. It’s considered a new value exchange mechanism in the global online economy and due to the pandemic, there are rising inflation rates that will make cryptocurrencies like Bitcoins (BTCs) increasingly attractive. Cryptoasset payments are already being adopted by major organisations such as PayPal, Visa, Amazon, Microsoft and Mastercard, so we’ll only see the trend go upwards from here.

3. Future of work is hybrid

Consumers and organisations are continuing to think beyond the office and companies around the globe are adopting the hybrid work model. Because of previous lockdowns due to COVID, the crisis has created an imperative for companies to reconfigure their operations and offered the freedom to work from home, which saw an increase in employees’ performances. Not only is it environmentally friendly and sustainable, but the changes were also not restricted to local job markets and allowed for greater productivity to follow.

4. More digital transformation

Because of the above, there will be an increase in connectivity – which, may seem unusual given that COVID has forced us to protect ourselves from ‘people’. However, the increased connectivity will come in the form of digital transformations. To simply put it, more are adopting the work-from-home structure or hybrid work model and because of this, there are new digital trends being embraced such as 5G and new Wi-Fi 6 standards for a faster connection; future applications to include vehicle-to-vehicle communications to improve traffic flow and safety; the rise of smaller and smarter devices (such as wireless and noise-cancelling headphones) and more participation in video meetings and conduct phone calls from anywhere.

5. Social media and augmented reality

In 2022, social media platforms will continue to grow with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter remaining as the best performing platforms. However, what will be different this time around will be that brands are trying to offer a better and more exciting user experience. Many e-commerce companies have already adapted to augmented reality-powered shopping (allowing users to try-on products before purchasing them), virtual reality and monetisation but this will be seen more in 2022. 

Also, with the demand for strong and engaging content, we’re going to see a new tribe of creative influencers that will make an impact on branding and engagement, as well as the growth of social media communities. As brands try to better understand and cater to customer needs, they are adding customers to social groups where they can closely interact with them.

Also read: Key factors that fuelled the growth of pre-owned luxury watches.

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