Ipsos unveils ten social tension megatrends as it celebrates 40th anniversary in Melbourne

Leading global research company Ipsos unveiled ten “megatrends” that will shape the world’s future, while a panel of experts explored social tensions and life in Victoria at a special event in Melbourne today to celebrate Ipsos’s 40th anniversary.

The “Life in Victoria: Rewind, Pause, Fast Forward” event was attended by 100 guests at the Melbourne Museum where experts including Committee for Melbourne CEO Kate Roffey, Ipsos Social Research Institute Director Daniel Evans and Ipsos Director of Behavioural Science Pascal Bourgeat discussed life and social tensions in Victoria.

At the event, Ipsos revealed its megatrends (see further details on each trend at the end of this release) including:

  1. Dynamic Populations
  2. Growing opportunity and growing inequality
  3. Megacities: urban superpowers or human disasters
  4. Increasing connectedness and decreasing privacy
  5. Healthier and sicker
  6. Rise of individual choice and decline of the mass market
  7. Rise of the individual and decline of social cohesion
  8. Cultural convergence and increasing extremism
  9. Always on and off the grid
  10. Public opinion as a revolutionary force.

“These social tensions will impact how we live, how we feel about the future and of course provide an opportunity for brands and services to help Victorians improve their lifestyles,” Ipsos Social Research Institute Director Daniel Evans said.

“At Ipsos everything we do is underpinned by our expertise in behavioural science, big data and technology. Behavioural science helps us decode the complexities of human behaviour, while big data enables us to layer multiple data sets to paint a more dynamic and comprehensive picture of consumers, and finally, technology gives us the tools to be able to do all of these things faster and more deeply and to get closer to consumers in real time.

“We live in a different world now defined not only by constant change but by true paradigm shifts – consumers have become producers, innovation is the default and data has not only become ‘big’ – it’s become truly dynamic and alive.

“But let’s not forget that ‘people’ are still at the heart of this revolution and the need for people to understand people and behaviour hasn’t changed. In fact, in an increasingly complex consumer landscape, the need to understand behaviour has become even more critical,” Evans said.

The panel guests at last night’s events explored life and social tensions in Victoria including:

  • The opportunity for Victoria to further leverage its reputation as a destination of choice for international students, and the economic, social value and legacy those students contribute to the state.
  • The opportunity for Victoria to better leverage its strengths as a provider of high quality health services.
  • The opportunity for Victoria to capitalise on the emerging Asian consumption economy. Victoria is not only perceived to be the sporting capital of Australia, it is also a leader in the provision of shopping, leisure and dining experiences and cultural facilities such as museums, galleries and events.

Ipsos Ten Megatrends

  1. Dynamic Populations – which represent both opportunities and threats to society. For example, two thirds of the global middle class will live in Asia by 2030 creating significant opportunity for Australian brands and services to tap into this growing, affluent market. Understanding these consumers will be crucial to tap into the vast wealth that is being created.
  2. Growing opportunity and growing inequality – while some of us are becoming wealthier others are becoming poorer. A class divide is becoming increasingly apparent in Australia for the first time. We are witnessing growing inequality in Australia especially through housing affordability in our largest cities creating a generation of have-nots who will struggle to enjoy the same lifestyle as their parents.
  3. Megacities: urban superpowers or human disasters – people are flocking to our largest cities, creating more pressure on infrastructure, housing and jobs, while also representing social challenges. Travel times are increasing creating potential future productivity concerns for our nation. Sydney is about to embark on an infrastructure boom but will it be enough?
  4. Increasing connectedness and decreasing privacy – We’re spending more time online and buying more while we’re there but many of us worry about who – government or business – can track our ‘digital footprint’ (what we search for, what content we consume, what we say and to whom and what we buy) – and how long that footprint will live online.
  5. Healthier and sicker – Life expectancy is increasing every year and creating new industries and services across Australia. While people are living longer and trying to live healthier lifestyles, levels of obesity are climbing and our environment is getting sicker – but will it be enough to force us to change our habits?
  6. Rise of individual choice and decline of the mass market – we have unrivalled choice and it’s growing faster than ever before. The proliferation of international brands opening in Australia gives us greater choice and lower prices. Some Australia icons are now struggling.
  7. Rise of the individual and decline of social cohesion – the rise of ‘me-culture’ vs concern and responsibility for the collective ‘us’ is set to continue. Meanwhile on the personal front, significant social changes are underway reinventing the very concept of the ‘average family’. Many families are headed by single parents, while single households are growing quickly and fewer people are getting married (and later).
  8. Cultural convergence and increasing extremism – how well are Australians coming together? Sydney is the most multicultural city in the world and a great example of brands/services/foods where you can buy almost anything. However, like many other countries, we are also witnessing increasing social tension around immigration and the threat of home grown extremism.
  9. Always on and off the grid – being ‘always on’ is driving some to ‘go off the grid’ for relief, relaxation and a chance to reconnect with the present moment and seek a greater work/life balance. Social consciousness continues to grow in importance. Companies that have a powerful social conscience are seen as compelling organisations to be part of. Flexible working environments will grow quickly over the next 10 years.
  10. Public opinion as a revolutionary force – social media has heralded the role of mass social acitivism or ‘clicktivism’ where global social movements can appear overnight via the click of the ‘like’ button on Facebook. Protests are on the rise again with the public