Future Forecast 2021

50 consumer trends that will define the coming year

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As we enter 2021, the global pandemic, climate change, politics and social movements will continue to force us to re-imagine the fabric of our societies, relationships and economies.

Yet, a new collective determination and energy is emerging, one that will shape a more respectful, ethical and equal future for all. In this year's Future Forecast 2021 collection, which features the PDF trend report and access to an hour-long webinar, we explore some of these possible futures using research from our trends intelligence service, LS:N Global.

In the report, you’ll discover 50 essential inter-Covid trends across 10 key sectors, alongside a series of exclusive innovator interviews and thought-leadership pieces from key industry disruptors. You'll also get access to our debut webinar which will be available to watch on-demand from 8 January 2021.

After the upheaval of 2020, the Future Forecast helps you cut through the noise and get a quick and clear understanding of 2021’s key consumer shifts.

Header image: Klarna Smoooth Scenarios by Snask


What’s inside this report?

Our foresight researchers have produced five key trends for each of the 10 sectors. Here’s a snapshot of what you will discover in the report:

: Beauty

The beauty and wellness sectors continue to fuse following the rise of Recuperative Living, with brands focusing on cosmetics and personal care products that improve people’s moods, as well as feeding into their individual identities, beliefs and values. From Ancestral Beauty that celebrates indigenous ingredients to sustainable Nature+ Beauty formulas emerging from the field of biotechnology, this year we will see a re-invention of what beauty means to global consumers.

: Health & Wellness

With the home repositioned as a wellness sanctuary, health and wellness brands are responding with new digital tools and services. We explore new types of Virtual Sanctuaries that tap into tech to soothe anxious consumers, alongside Decentralised Care platforms that take a community approach to wellbeing. Meanwhile, Urban Wellness Futures are coming to the fore, as city planners and developers zero in on inter-pandemic civic health.

: Drink

Building on the themes of our Total Tastes macrotrend, drinks packaging, sustainability and surprising flavour combinations will advance in 2021. Material innovation will inspire premium brands to experiment with Future-proof Packaging, while brands as far afield as Australia and Mexico are toying with ingredients and provenance to produce Border-defying Spirits. We also examine the novel drinking experiences emerging in the virtual realm and new directions for night-time sips.

: Food

Community mindsets will shape food supply chains, dining experiences and product innovation this year, as the industry finds its footing amid Covid-19. Urban Farm Futures will come to the fore, giving access to fresh fruit and vegetables no matter what the sociopolitical climate. Food-focused experiences will grow in the digital sphere, giving rise to Augmented Restaurants, while other diners will tune into food delivery concepts with an added slice of entertainment.

: Travel & Hospitality

The year ahead will reveal new directions in travel that rely on people’s desire for escapism through more immersive and sensory-stimulating moments. Expect companies to focus on Neighbourhood Tourism in lieu of international travellers, while rooms and hotel services will be repurposed to support people adjusting to our new normal. Meanwhile, travel marketers will toy with sight, sound and taste to promote Sensory Destinations around the world.

: Luxury

A more considered luxury attitude will emerge in 2021, bringing new directions for retail, property and brand communications. Resilient Residences will be in high demand, as luxurians seek homes centred on safety and wellbeing. Others will embrace luxury’s move online, tuning into Luxtainment as brands play with new paths to purchase. Heritage will also be challenged, as brands address past and present actions through the lens of diversity and inclusion.

: Fashion

The fashion industry is taking a slower approach in 2021. Businesses are rethinking their supply chains to produce Agile Artisans – more connected and nimble creators from around the world. Elsewhere, Deadstock Designers are seeking to produce less waste through the repurposing of old stock and scrap fabrics. Consumers, too, are addressing their consumption habits, leaning into more sustainable and ethical behaviour while enjoying a renaissance of craft and hobbies.

: Retail

In 2021, technology will influence how customers experience and access brands. Shoppers’ decisions and even their navigation will be shaped by brands’ use of Consumer Surveillance, while other retailers will embrace Augmented Retail using filters, QR codes and interactive packaging to elevate store experiences. Brands assessing their operations will ensure they are working towards key eco-goals – while being more transparent about the true cost of garments and logistics.

: Media, Technology & Fintech

As we enter 2021, consumers will start to address how technology affects not only our online lives but our future existence. Attention will turn to Low-impact Interfaces, as netizens tackle their digital carbon footprints and designers develop stripped-back UI and UX. Around the world, technology brands will invest in Research Cities, exploring our possible futures via living R&D laboratories.

: Youth

As young people navigate formative challenges amid the global pandemic and a time of political turmoil, they are acting with agency and (un)learning behaviours through new mediums. Generation Z are using digital spaces to tune into Activism Gaming to express their social, ethical and political values. Generation Alpha are getting to grips with Edu-play-tion, using analogue tools to learn and explore away from screens.

Image credits: 1. Oio Lab for USTA Magazine, photography by Maciek Miloch, 2. Don't Fuck With My Me Time by &Walsh, New York, 3. Goodfish, US, 4. Hot:Second by Karinna Nobbs, London, 5. Ka Wa Key Collection at Digital Village for Helsinki Fashion Week



Dont Fuck With My Me Time


Hot Second2

Fashion copy-1


Online and On-demand

In our new Future Forecast webinar, we explore how businesses can navigate the turmoil and discover unexpected areas of growth. Tune in today to hear The Future Laboratory's co-founder Chris Sanderson break down the 50 cross-sector consumer trends and innovations that will define the next 12 months.

The 60-minute webinar is also available on demand, so you can tune in whenever your schedule permits

FF21_Webinar (1)

Get your collection

Get the Future Forecast 2021 report and webinar collection together at a discounted rate, or purchase the report separately.

To download your copy, add to cart and then complete your details on the following form. You will receive an email of the PDF report and webinar access link right away.

If you are a member of LS:N Global, you can access the full report here and watch the webinar here.

*This is a downloadable PDF report. Please consider the environment before printing.

Future Forecast 2021 Collection (£70):

Includes both Report + On demand Webinar 

Future Forecast 2021 Report (£45):

Includes Report only

Future Forecast 2021 Webinar (£45):

Includes Webinar only

LS:N Membership

Members of the LS:N Global premium package gain exclusive access to the trends, markets and innovations across all eight sectors, and are also entitled to a range of benefits and services, including free access to all of our trends intelligence reports. 

Interested in becoming a member? Learn more here.


Image credit: LS:N Global by Victoria Ling for The Future Laboratory

 LS:N Global by Victoria Ling for The Future Laboratory

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