8 min read

5 Societal Trends Shaping the Global Future

Society is constantly changing, shaped by powerful forces that guide where we're all heading together.

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July 11, 2023
8 min read

"5 Societal Trends Shaping the Global Future" offers a selection of global societal forces redefining our daily lives and interactions. From changes in world population to the constant presence of technology in our lives, this blog post provides an in-depth analysis that is both enlightening and actionable.

Understanding the changing world—where risks are more visible, people are living longer, Gen Z is making waves, and digital life is everywhere—helps us prepare for what's coming next. So, what are the most significant societal risks the world is facing?

Worldwide alertness: recognizing risks and fragilities

In an era where economic and geopolitical disturbances are becoming the norm, the awareness and feeling of risk are more noticeable and widespread among the global masses. The combined impact of recent events, including the pandemic's chaos and geopolitical tensions such as the Ukraine or Israel conflict, has dramatically increased the feeling of vulnerability among the general populace. The increased awareness of risk and insecurity is now a significant influence in our everyday lives, shaping our individual choices as well as trends in the global markets.

black barbwire in close up photography during daytime
Photographer: Антон Дмитриев | Source: Unsplash

Today's landscape

As the world deals with a high level of uncertainty, a remarkable trend emerges: individuals and businesses are increasingly embracing entrepreneurship and self-reliance. The World Uncertainty Index captures the unpredictability of economies and policies at levels reminiscent of historical crises, now echoed by recent events such as the persistent conflict in Ukraine and rising risk in the Middle East, particularly between Israel and Palestine, adding to the pervasive climate of risk and uncertainty.

The war in Ukraine has led to the largest displacement crisis in decades. Concurrently, Haiti is facing turmoil due to political instability, gang violence, and climate change​​.  Further east, tensions between China and Taiwan have sharply escalated, with China's increased military pressure and Taiwan's defensive responses signaling a severe period of instability, affecting vital global industries like semiconductors.

Burkina Faso and South Sudan are also experiencing escalating violence and climate crises, further destabilizing their regions​​​. In response, people are changing how they live, cutting back on spending, and changing their buying habits to protect themselves from uncertain times.

The road ahead

Consumer behavior is expected to become even more cautious in the future. This is why organizations should change course accordingly, embracing a more empathetic communication style and reinforcing the reliability and familiarity of their brands in an ever-changing world.

Additionally, the growing risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches means that strong security measures are essential to protect both customers and staff. Companies that safeguard their systems and data can build a trustworthy and stable space, despite the chaos happening in the world.

Source: |  Insight: Global Worldwide Alertness Trend evolution across all industries

Key strategies for today’s businesses

Considering these changes, companies might follow these strategies:

  • Empathetic Communication: Write messages that connect with customers' increased awareness of risks, showing that you understand and have answers.
  • Brand Consistency: Make sure your brand and products stand out as reliable anchors in these uncertain times.
  • Security Investment: Step up your cybersecurity infrastructure to guard against increasing threats.

Demographic transformations: growth and diversity trends

The global population is on track to reach 11 billion by the end of the century, as predicted by the United Nations. Not only is the number of people increasing, but the demographic landscape is also shifting towards greater diversity. This change is reshaping the social and cultural fabric of nations, driven by substantial international migration.

green palm trees with umbrella on the ground
Photographer: Joseph Chan | Source: Unsplash

Today's landscape

As of now, western nations are witnessing significant cultural and policy impacts due to migration from conflict zones and areas hit by economic uncertainty, war, or even climate crises. Such demographic shifts are sparking national identity debates and influencing political landscapes. Immigration has been a key driver of labor-force growth in these countries, with immigrants contributing significantly to their economic activity.

In particular, from 2000 to 2014, immigrants accounted for a substantial proportion of labor-force growth in major destination countries, filling crucial occupational shortages​​.

Meanwhile, developing markets are seeing the most rapid population growth, with countries like India set to surpass China as the world's most populous nation. Climate change worsens this scenario, with severe weather events and disasters prompting both short-term and potentially permanent migration.

For example, projections indicate that climate change could force up to 143 million people to migrate within their own countries by 2050 unless decisive action is taken​2​. As developed nations integrate migrants into their economies, developing nations confront rapid population growth amidst climate pressures, highlighting the global challenge of fostering adaptability and resilience.

The road ahead

With advancements in healthcare leading to longer lifespans, the global population will continue to grow and diversify. This future demographic reality will require strategic planning from governments and industries. Key areas of focus will be infrastructure, social welfare, international development, food production, and managing carbon emissions to support the rapidly expanding population.

Governments and industries will also need to adapt their policies and practices to cater to a more culturally diverse populace, ensuring equitable access to services and opportunities. Furthermore, the private sector must integrate diversity and inclusion within the workforce to foster innovation and better serve a global market.

Source: |  Insight: Global Growing Population Trend evolution across all industries

Key strategies for today’s businesses

In response to these demographic dynamics, businesses might consider the following strategies:

  • Inclusive Business Practices: Develop products and services that cater to a more diverse customer base, reflecting the varied needs of a changing population. 1
  • Cultural Competence: Enhance cultural competence within the organization to better engage with the various markets and workforces of the future. 2
  • Strategic Investments: Plan for investments that align with demographic trends, such as in healthcare, housing, and technology that serves an aging population. 3
  • Policy Engagement: Engage with policy developments to positively influence the integration of diverse populations into the economic and social systems. 4

Healthy longevity: strategizing for an aging population

By 2050, the number of adults over 65 will double, with the most significant increases in the developing world. This demographic shift represents one of the most substantial transformations in history, influencing healthcare, government, and social systems worldwide.

Picture taken by Matthias Zomer

Today's landscape

Today, the signs of an ageing population are already evident, with the global life expectancy reaching an average of 72.3 years, a figure that continues to rise. The implications of this trend extend widely, making it evident that we must reassess healthcare systems, workforce dynamics, and retirement planning throughout communities.

The road ahead

As we look to the future, the aging global population will increasingly influence the workforce, especially in low-income countries where around 50% of those over 65 remain employed—a figure that could rise as the demographic continues to grow.

The focus on 'healthy aging' will intensify, with governments and businesses strategizing to slow the accumulation of disease and disability that comes with age. There is a need for a more comprehensive strategy to encourage lifestyles and habits that contribute to a longer and healthier life. Strategic adjustments in industries will be crucial to accommodate the changing needs of this expanding age group.

Source: |  Insight: Global Ageing Population Trend evolution across all industries

Key strategies for today’s businesses

Businesses can adapt to this demographic evolution by considering the following initiatives:

  • Workforce Retraining: Developing programs to retrain older workers, leveraging their experience while updating their skill sets for the current market.
  • Flexible Retirement Planning: Offering more flexible retirement options that allow for phased retirement or part-time work, accommodating older employees’ desire to stay active in the workforce.
  • Age-Tech Innovations: Investing in technology tailored for seniors, such as assistive devices, smart home systems, and age-friendly apps.
  • Community Engagement: Creating services or platforms that foster community engagement and social interaction for seniors to combat loneliness and encourage active aging.

Read: Ageism in Tech: Why Ignoring The Older Generation is Bad for Business

Gen Z's rise: a new demographic shaping the future

Gen Z is rapidly becoming a challenging force in global demographics. With 2.5 billion individuals making up about 30% of the total global population, their preferences and values are significantly shaping consumer behavior and societal norms. By 2025, Gen Z will comprise approximately 27% of the workforce, bringing their distinct perspectives and priorities into the professional sphere.

grayscale photo of people holding white and black t-shirt
Photographer: Mike Von | Source: Unsplash

Today's landscape

Currently, the overwhelming majority of Gen Z resides in developing and emerging markets. This generation, marked by their acute awareness of global issues such as climate change, inequality, and injustice, is demanding change. Their approach blends activism with consumer choices, expecting brands, governments, and institutions to reflect their values and act on their agenda.

The road ahead

As Gen Z's presence in the workforce grows, they are likely to advocate for transformative changes in workplace culture. This includes seeking higher compensation, more flexibility, improved work/life balance, enhanced learning opportunities, and robust mental health and wellness support. Their commitment to societal issues will influence corporate policies and ethical business practices.

source: | Insight: Global Gen Z Trend evolution across all industries

Key strategies for today’s businesses

Companies need to be proactive in adapting to Gen Z's preferences. This may include:

  • Digital Engagement: Embracing Gen Z's preference for digital communication and self-service platforms.
  • Marketing Evolution: Tailoring marketing and sales strategies to resonate with Gen Z's values and financial autonomy.
  • Product Innovation: Developing insurance products that align with Gen Z's strong stance on social and environmental responsibility.

Access for all: addressing the digital connectivity gap

In an era where digital connectivity is a given, the emergence of expansive social networks has made online connections virtually limitless. The global population, now at 7.93 billion, sees over 4.65 billion active social media users, marking a significant shift in how we communicate, learn, and conduct business.

a man standing in front of a tall building looking at his cell phone
Photographer: Julio Lopez | Source: Unsplash

Today's landscape

The COVID-19 pandemic showed us just how essential digital connection is in our lives. While it allowed us to keep up with education, work, and staying in touch while we were apart, it also brought attention to the severe digital divide. With a third of waking hours spent on mobile devices, connectivity has become as much a part of our lives as any basic need. Yet, access is uneven, with less than 30% internet penetration in regions like Africa.

The road ahead

The trajectory of social connectivity is only set to deepen, with emerging technologies like the metaverse poised to revolutionize the way we engage with each other online. As digital platforms become the primary space for news, information, and social interaction, the implications for businesses are numerous. However, ensuring equitable access remains a challenge, with the potential to widen the gap between the connected and disconnected.

Source: |  Insight: Global Digital Connectivity Trend evolution across all industries

Key strategies for today’s businesses

For businesses, especially insurers, adapting to this digital-first world means:

  • Digital-First Customer Engagement: Embrace the centrality of social media and online communities in shaping consumer expectations and driving purchase decisions.
  • Sustainability and Responsibility: Align with the evolving social conscience, integrating a focus on sustainability and social responsibility into business models.
  • Innovative Offerings for the Gig Economy: As remote work and the gig economy flourish, tailor products and services to the unique demands of this growing workforce.

Read: Navigating Uncertainty: What Businesses Need to Know

Where Trendtracker steps in

In a landscape where spotting trends early can be the difference between leading the market and falling behind, Trendtracker emerges as an indispensable ally. Our AI-powered platform equips businesses with the foresight to not only spot but also strategically respond to emerging trends.

By harnessing AI-driven analytics, companies can sift through the noise to find actionable insights, enabling them to anticipate market shifts and align their strategies with future demands. The platform's continuous monitoring and customized trend boards ensure that decision-makers have the most relevant and up-to-date information at their fingertips, fostering innovation and competitive advantage.

With Trendtracker, organizations can pivot with precision, ensuring they're well-positioned to meet the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing business landscape.


This in-depth blog post has provided a roadmap through the complexities of our time, highlighting the need for businesses to stay agile, innovate relentlessly, and remain conscientiously aligned with the new paradigms of a diversified, interconnected society.

It's clear that the future belongs to those who are ready to adapt and innovate, leveraging platforms like Trendtracker to transform challenges into stepping stones for growth and innovation.

Global Insights