Megatrends: Not Just For Scholars & Economists

6 Global Shifts That Will Impact Your Business


The world around us is constantly changing. Some changes occur quickly, and others evolve over time. Some have a small effect on a select group of people and others cause seismic shifts for almost every person and business.

When discussing “megatrends” I’m referring to the latter—those large-scale changes that have a major impact on many aspects of life on planet Earth.

Here are 6 megatrends being observed now that will have an impact on your business. The questions I pose for each are, “What changes will it bring about for your brand and how will you address them?” Here is some food for thought about each trend as you ponder or make long-term strategic decisions.


Aging Population

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the global population is aging at a much faster pace than in the past. Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population aged 60 and over will nearly double, from 12% to 22%, and the number of people aged 80 and over will triple1. What does an older population mean for your brands? Here are a few possibilities.

  1. There will be opportunities to offer products and services to address the health, mobility, and lifestyle needs of older individuals. What are the specific needs and opportunities? How do we market to them? What messages will resonate? Will they come to us or do we need to reach out to them physically or digitally?
  2. Those who continue working into their later years will have more disposable income. What products do you or can you offer that appeal to 70-, 80-, and even 90-somethings? Many brands target younger consumers with youthful branding, messaging, and media targeting. But if this aging population has greater disposable income than younger consumers, maybe an adjusted focus or an additional focus is in order.
  3. For people who spend more years in retirement, what are the opportunities to serve both their needs and their desires for those golden years, even if they’re on a tight budget? Perhaps there will be a need for similar products from beloved brands that are made more affordable or otherwise more attractive to an older audience. For example, if you’re in the telecom/cable/streaming TV business, do you need to offer streamlined subscriptions with fewer networks or apps, targeted to an older demographic? If you’re a CPG brand packaged in jars, do you need an easy-open package design for arthritic hands?
  4. The workforce will continue to diminish. If you’re a business that relies heavily on younger workers, how will you adjust to a changing workforce?

Shifting Demographics

Beyond age, other demographic changes are taking place.

  1. Especially in the U.S., the proportion of the population that is Caucasian is shrinking and people of color make up a larger and growing group of residents. Different backgrounds and physical characteristics can lead to changes in product demands stemming, for example, from varying taste profiles or different personal care needs.
  2. Globally, according to a 2015 United Nations report2, the world population is predicted to surpass 9.7 billion by 2050 and 25% of the population will be African.
  3. What impact will these shifts have on your brands?

Changing Lifestyles And Attitudes

As we look around, it’s easy to see that attitudes and behaviors are changing in both positive and negative ways. We are both more inclusive and more divided than ever. Some of the shifts are driven by demographics. Younger generations often align with causes and ideals that differ from their parents’ generations. Some are perpetuated by technology. Virtually everyone in the developed world has access to the internet, which means we have access to all kinds of activities and information 24/7.

  1. Brands have an opportunity to leverage these societal changes in any way they choose. In an age of microtargeting, this could be a marketing playground—brands can target individuals based on the lifestyles, behaviors, or attitudes evident in their internet usage.
  2. However, inclusiveness can sometimes lead to division. As we’ve seen recently, aligning with one school of thought can alienate consumers whose thoughts are different or in opposition.
  3. Brands must stay true to their own values and those of their core users. Authenticity is the key to success.

Climate And Environmental Changes

The shifts we’re seeing in the natural world around us are undeniable and will have an impact on both daily life and business. What are the impacts of these planetary changes?

  1. What will be the impact on the natural resources used in manufacturing? Virtually every product category could be impacted by changes in availability or quality of natural ingredients or components. When substituting one resource for another, product quality could suffer. Taste could change. Functionality could be impacted. Brands will have to conduct extensive research to ensure their products continue to live up to their own quality expectations and those of their end users.
  2. Distribution is also likely to be affected. The cost of heating and cooling warehouses will increase. Delivery fleets will likely shift to electricity. What does that do to the delivery cost structure and delivery routes?

Rising Cost Of Living

Other costs across daily life and business continue to rise. The rising cost of goods often leads to increasing wholesale and retail prices. How far can we push pricing before losing market share? The negative impact of cost increases on disposable income around the globe will undoubtedly perpetuate a softer economy. If consumers continue to cut back on regular expenses, will they make room for “affordable luxuries”? There is evidence that, even in tough times, people occasionally treat themselves to something special like an expensive cosmetic, tickets to an event, a weekend getaway rather than a long vacation, etc. Where will your brand fit into this tighter financial landscape?



The most notable recent advancement in technology is generative AI (artificial intelligence). No one knows yet all the ways generative AI will change the way we live and do business. Most seem to agree at the time of this writing that it will improve efficiencies, simplify jobs, and be able to take over some tasks altogether. It is also believed that human involvement is necessary to ensure the quality of AI’s output. How is your brand leveraging AI today? How might the technology improve your processes and outcomes in the future?

I’m sharing these trends in the spirit of provoking thought. As you manage your business, ponder how each of them could impact the products or services you provide, the work you do, how and where you do that work, and the amount of growth potential or the challenges it represents. As the cliché goes, the only constant is change. We can be sure changes will continue. The question is, how will we react to them?


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Felicia Rogers

Felicia Rogers

Executive Vice President

Felicia Rogers is a dynamic insights consultant who leverages decades of business and consumer research experience. During her career, she has partnered with companies across an array of categories. Felicia began her career in print advertising and has since spent most of her professional life in various consumer insights roles at Decision Analyst. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing, from the University of North Texas.

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