Direct-to-avatar commerce, flying taxis, crypto rewards and wearable temperature control may shape 2022 and the years to come.

Trend forecasting company WGSN has revealed the top trends in consumer behavior and product development for 2022 and beyond.

That digital technology has become pervasive in lifestyle and fashion is testified to by the fact that 4 of the authoritative forecaster’s 13 top trends spanning a wide-ranging spectrum of industries are related to AI, IoT sensors, digital twins and cryptocurrency.

“WGSN’s research methodology allows us to identify the signals of change and evaluate, verify and forecast the trends that will impact the immediate and long-term future of industries,” says Lisa White, WGSN Creative Director & Director of Interiors. “We don’t just track the past and extrapolate it into the future, we actively forecast future influences on the consumer, product design and trading, all through a sustainable lens.” 

Among other lifestyle, health, beauty and fashion trends such as fermented beauty, waterless washing, Japanese koji, Chinese baijiu, bast fibers, orchid purple and indoor trees, the 4 digital-related trends for 2022 are:

  • Direct-to-avatar commerce – The age of the avatar has begun, and our avatars need something to wear. Enter direct-to-avatar commerce or D2A, a new retail model that offers brands an additional revenue stream, selling and designing directly for our digital twins!
  • Flying taxis – Not just a sci-fi movie trope, flying taxis – more commonly known as autonomous urban air mobility (UAM) – are emerging thanks to advancements in technology. Not surprising, considering that drones and AI have been successfully implemented for video cameras, security surveillance, and driverless vehicles. Ongoing traffic congestion in urban areas and COVID-19 disruptions are also driving this trend, as the need for more personal and private forms of transportation arises.
  • Crypto rewards – The retail landscape is becoming more fragmented and customer loyalty is harder than ever to win, especially among Gen Z. Enter crypto rewards, bridging the gap between traditional loyalty systems and the booming cryptocurrency market. When Gen A’s purchasing power improves, crypto rewards might prove to be the norm.
  • Wearable temperature control – Designers are beginning to integrate technology, such as climate control, into daily, wearable items. For performance and athletics, brands are designing products that reduce body heat so that wearers can maintain comfortable temperatures while exercising. Besides the science to develop more lightweight and breathable material, miniaturized IoT sensors with built-in AI would be the required digital technologies.