What the Future

Each quarter, Ipsos asks What the Future about a different key area of our economy: Housing, Mobility, Health and Food. We ask key experts about the “big questions” they’re asking themselves, their companies, and their industries. And we get the answers and the data to start answering them today.

Beauty

Our latest What the Future report explores several market forces creating seismic shifts in the cosmetics and personal care industries. Ipsos surveyed some 19,000 people around the world to mine their attitudes on these changes and spoke to top industry executives about what these insights mean for the future

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WTF Beauty Edition Cover

What makes you beautiful
What makes you most beautiful?

Physical attributes like facial appearance, body weight and shape, and sexiness come much lower in the rankings of a recent Ipsos Global Advisor survey across 27 countries.

A complicated portrait of beauty

The world is an incredibly diverse place, so the notion of one idealized sense of beauty seems antiquated. That is especially true for younger generations, who are increasingly of mixed race, mixed culture and accepting of fluid genders, and see these things as non-issues. It’s just the olds who are having a hard time adapting.

Are natural and clean beauty products scalable?

Alex Keith has concerns that many start-up and boutique beauty brands don’t.

How will Pan-Asian beauty culture shape ours?

There is a fair amount of historical evidence that suggests growing grains to produce beer is the reason humans morphed from hunter-gatherers to an agriculture-based society. Yet in the past 20 to 30 years, there’s been an incredible efflorescence. What does innovation look like in an industry that is as old as civilization itself?

What do boy bands have to do with beauty?

The social media conversation around Korean beauty (K-beauty) spiked in April. It had nothing to do with a new snail treatment.

Is Korean skin care the future of beauty?
August 26, 2019 Is Korean skin care the future of beauty? Alicia Yoon // WTF…
Can beauty truly be inclusive?

Anastasia Garcia creates images featuring women across the spectrum of shapes, sizes, races, ages and abilities. Her work has been featured for brands including Chromat, Amazon and Lane Bryant and in the documentary “Straight/Curve” about the body image crisis in fashion. When she thinks What the Future, she asks, “What if we eliminated beauty standards?”

Are you feeling included in beauty inclusivity?

Ipsos conducted a survey for RiverMend Health that shows that many of us are not. When asked about situations in which we feel “dissatisfied” with our bodies, only one in five reports always feeling satisfied. In contrast, nearly twice as many people —and more than twice as many women— report feeling dissatisfied when they look in the mirror.

Who influences the influencers?

Beauty routines develop over time. Women experiment with new skin care and makeup products that meet their needs, but in order for a product to be used regularly, it must also fit with morning and evening beauty routines.

What does beauty look like in your country?

So beauty for beauty’s sake is a thing in nature, yet science also tells us that there are certain biologically-driven standards. Facial symmetry, for example, is something humans are wired to find attractive. And so, in an Ipsos Global Advisor poll, we see remarkable consistency in physical definitions of beauty across nations and cultures.

Is the future of beauty in serving unmet needs?

Back in the day, Tristan Walker was a Silicon Valley wunderkind. He was still working on his Stanford MBA when he joined then-red-hot startup Foursquare as director of business development.

Affluent Millennial men and the grooming paradox

Grooming has long been the domain of women. But as social mores evolve, affluent (household income $125,000+) Millennial men are making inroads into this formerly forbidden territory in ways their fathers couldn’t have imagined. Yet, while these men care as much about their appearance as women their age, old-fashioned attitudes about masculinity are creating tensions that brands and retailers should recognize—and resolve.

Are we ready for more functional beauty?

Katia Vega has an unusual specialty in her research. She adds technology to everyday beauty products to give people “superpowers.” When she thinks What the Future, she’s wondering if we’re ready for all the cool stuff she’s working on. WTF: How would you describe what you do?

Will technology enable a broader range of looks for beauty shoppers?

There is a fair amount of historical evidence that suggests growing grains to produce beer is the reason humans morphed from hunter-gatherers to an agriculture-based society. Yet in the past 20 to 30 years, there’s been an incredible efflorescence. What does innovation look like in an industry that is as old as civilization itself?

If beauty is art, how do we fund more of it?

Her rapt community of followers on the Patreon crowd-funding platform (15,000 strong, each pledging about $3 per month, she says) support her financially and emotionally. The emotional part isn’t a one-way street. When she asks What the Future, she is thinking about the role of art in beauty and the rapidly changing relationship between the artist and arts funding.

Are we getting enough Vitamin-Art in our diets?

“Do we actually take in beauty and support the creation of new and more beautiful things?” Ipsos, working with the non-profit Americans for the Arts, has fielded two large, national surveys on the topic. The answers turn out to be “somewhat” and “yes.”


VICE

What even is a vice anymore? This issue of WTF, backed by a global survey, explores the changing morality of “vices.” Will consumer interest be enough to fuel the projected growth in industries like cannabis?

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WTF VICE

WTF VICE
What changes as cannabis becomes legal in more places?

William Weld is the former governor of Massachusetts, the 2016 vice presidential nominee on the libertarian ticket and a potential GOP presidential candidate.

Why wouldn’t people use cannabis?

Bruce Linton doesn’t understand people who use gummies in Canada. Edibles are unregulated, illegal or both, so dosages can be a mystery. “It’s like, ‘Hey buddy, just eat this, and it may or may not completely [mess] you up for somewhere between zero minutes and four hours.’ You wouldn’t do that!”

He likens using gummies to buying street meats—you never know if you’ll get a good meal, or botulism.

Will a new ‘vice’ disrupt one of the oldest?

The legalization of cannabis in Canada is showing that throwing open the doors doesn’t mean there will be a sudden stampede to get in. Ipsos’ Alcohol Consumption Tracker (ACT) and Cannabis Consumption Tracker (CCT) studies show that attitudes and behaviors regarding cannabis are slow to shift after legalization.

WTF VICE
Can cannabis dining make Americans just say yes?

Andrea Drummer is one of America’s leading chefs who cook with cannabis. The founder of a catering business in Los Angeles called Elevation VIP Cooperative, Drummer will soon open one of the nation’s first legalized cannabis consumption lounges.

When Drummer thinks What the Future, she wonders what it will take for people to re-evaluate the negative bias against cannabis and embrace it as a food ingredient.

WTF VICE
Will the term “authentic” still have meaning for wine and spirits?

For many drinkers, well-aged wine and spirits are the height of pleasure for their quality and smoothness. Now, entrepreneurs are using innovative technologies to speed up time-honored aging methods to mimic the qualities of beverages aged several years.

The Millennial-ization of premium spirits

Millennials are driving change in every category, and alcohol/ spirits is no exception. And the differences in their behaviors and preferences suggest big changes for the future of luxury and premium spirits marketing.

WTF VICE
What does innovation look like in an age-old industry

There is a fair amount of historical evidence that suggests growing grains to produce beer is the reason humans morphed from hunter-gatherers to an agriculture-based society. Yet in the past 20 to 30 years, there’s been an incredible efflorescence. What does innovation look like in an industry that is as old as civilization itself?

What is the global view of vice over the next decade?
What is the global view of “vice” over the next decade

Many see an increase in usage. (Global results shown)

Will CBD be cannabis’ biggest high?

The popularity of and public interest in CBD has spurred significant innovation and product development efforts across an eclectic grouping of product categories. From bath bombs to pet food – everyone wants a piece of the pie. While there is an inevitable learning curve for consumers, since certain forms are still illegal in many states, there is already marked consumer interest in these products.

What are the odds that sports wagers will be bigger business

Sports betting, traditionally a Las Vegas-controlled industry, is inching closer to being legal, one state at a time. Jay Kornegay, who already runs the largest sports wagering facility in the world, Westgate SuperBook, is thinking about expansion.

When he thinks What the Future, he wonders what people are willing to bet on, and how mobile will impact that. There’s a lot of blue sky in betting – as long as people get over the stigma and misconceptions. Here’s what has him feeling optimistic.


Food

Over the past year, we have talked about the trends impacting changes to three of the top areas of consumer spending: housing, transportation and health care. This issue is focused on a fourth key sector: food. Specifically, we have conversations with the difference-makers about how our food gets to us, where that food comes from today and will come from tomorrow. The answers to these seemingly straightforward questions are in a surprising amount of flux.

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WTF: Food Edition Cover

Food:


What's for dinner
What’s for dinner?

It’s about as fundamental a question as you’ll find in most people’s day-to-day lives.

Editor's note
Editor’s Note: Changing definitions in the future of food

Over the past year, we have talked about the trends impacting changes to three of the top areas of consumer spending: housing, transportation and health care.

Will delivery change our fast food culture?

Kempczinski wonders what will happen if quick service restaurants are disrupted by delivery the way Amazon has changed other industries. If consumers embrace quick service restaurant delivery as they have for books and furniture, that could redefine how convenience fits into our food culture.

Cooking? It’s about more than convenience

More than half of home cooks think their dinner routines could improve. Yet consumers are reluctant to add these options to their dinner planning. Today, just one in 10 of these consumers is planning to use a meal kit in the next three months. So how can emerging alternatives play a bigger role with dinner?

Who needs restaurants?

Luke Saunders and his company, Farmer’s Fridge, are bringing consumers meals they’re used to—fresh salads, wraps and more—by using a device they’re not expecting.

How will our food preparations change?

These are big questions with broad implications. Ipsos asked people to predict the short-term future to see how things might change for themselves.

Could better packaging help save our planet?

Packaging plays a critical role in selling, transporting, storing and protecting our food. But too much packaging (including recyclables) is still ending up in landfills where it can take hundreds of years to break down.

How packaging can balance being green and making green

The plastic drinking straw has become a symbol of society’s growing concern over packaging convenience at the expense of our planet’s health. Already, four in 10 consumers report they have started using fewer plastic straws due to recent attention on the issue, according to a recent Ipsos/Buzzfeed poll. Nearly half of those polled support local governments banning their use.

The global view: Few truly upbeat about the future of food

The global view: Few truly upbeat about the future of food

What is the future of sweet?

Around the globe, people are becoming more aware of their sugar intake. When Robert Long, senior vice president and chief innovation officer of The Coca-Cola Company asks What the Future, he is thinking about how to create new drinks to meet changing consumer tastes.


Summer 2018 – Health

This is the third issue in our What the Future series looking at the big trends in the four largest consumer spending categories. Each report features exclusive new research from Ipsos, including global surveys and deeper dives in the U.S. and Canada; interviews with experts with a wide range of perspectives on the topic; and insights from Ipsos thought leaders.

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In This Issue »

WTF Health Summer 2018 Cover

Health:


Editors Note: WTF Health
Editor’s Note: Let’s talk about caregiving burden, in practice, not in theory.

This is the third issue in our What the Future series looking at the big trends in the four largest consumer spending categories. Each report features exclusive new research from Ipsos, including global surveys and deeper dives in the U.S. and Canada; interviews with experts with a wide range of perspectives on the topic; and insights from Ipsos thought leaders.

Some (not all) nations upbeat about their future health
Some (not all) nations upbeat about their future health

Traditional sources are still the leading trust brokers, but online information is catching up.

Are we prioritizing what we need to for a healthy future?
Are we prioritizing what we need to for a healthy future?

As an epidemiologist, Dr. Sandro Galea is always concerned with the aspects of our lives and environments that determine our health as individuals and society.

Can technology make the patient experience more human?
Can technology make the patient experience more human?

Three years ago, Zoë Keating lost her husband to an aggressive form of non-smoker lung cancer. At the time, she lived in a rural area outside of Santa Rosa, California, and was independently insured. She had to balance her career as a composer and cellist and her dual roles as mother to a young child and spouse to the patient.

hospital-ratings
Do people understand hospital ratings?

Zoë Keating asked if patients have ample opportunity to provide feedback to the healthcare system.

Today’s cost realities shape tomorrow’s fears
Today’s cost realities shape tomorrow’s fears
Today's cost realities shape tomorrow's fear Janine Beekman is an associate research scientist in Ipsos’…
Will caregivers embrace the technology they need?
Will caregivers embrace the technology they need?

For a Millennial, Arielle Burstein spends a lot of time thinking about aging. She works with businesses to understand how demography will change how they design products and services and manage their workforce.

Will people trust AIs when they need to?
How can AIs get you get more time with your human doctor?

Dr. Joe Kvedar is doing the math and looking at trends. With a long career in connected health, he is eager for artificial intelligence technologies to take hold. Not for the sake of new and shiny things, but because he hopes they can bridge the gap between our growing need for care and the dwindling number of caregivers.

Who connects us to connected health?
Who connects us to connected health?

Millions of people increasingly use digital technologies to track their health, not their diseases. Connected devices monitor their workouts, diets, heart rates and sleep. The subsequent exponential rise of health data is transforming healthcare, much as data and analytics are disrupting most industries.

Woman Looking at Smart Watch
Can wearable or ingestible sensors tell us more about being human

With our run-trackers, step-counters and smart-watches, bracelets, rings and most of all our phones we are collecting more data about our health than ever.


Spring 2018 – Mobility

To get at the human side of transportation, we asked a series of smart people in the space about the Big Questions they’re asking themselves when they think about the near-ish future. Then Ipsos asked those questions of more than 3,000 people in the U.S. and Canada and thousands more around the globe to get at the answers.

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What the Future Spring 2018

Mobility:


is-being-behind-the-wheel-behind-the-times
Is being behind the wheel behind the times?

Autonomous vehicles are coming. In fact, to an increasing extent they are already here.

What the future - mobility
Editor’s Note

To get at the human side of transportation, we asked several smart people in the space about the Big Questions they’re asking themselves when they think about the near-ish future. Then Ipsos asked those questions of more than 3,000 people in the U.S. and Canada and thousands more around the globe to get at the answers.

Ready to let go of the wheel?

Percentage of respondents agreeing with the statement: “I am in favor of self-driving cars and I can’t wait to use them.”

Will a driverless future be heaven or hell
Will a driverless future be heaven or hell?

Driverless cars could make our lives better – or worse. The better we plan for their impact, the more we improve our prospects. But are we on the right track now?

Car culture war
Are we headed for a car-culture war?

Futurists and technologists promote a vision of the autonomous future that is shiny and bright.

What will Autonomous vehicles replace?
What exactly will Autonomous Vehicles Replace?

Peugeot isn’t coming back with a huge network of dealers and a full line of cars. It’s coming back as a “mobility partner” starting with an app called Free2Move that lets users access multiple ride-sharing, car-sharing and even bike-sharing providers in one place. It’s live in 10 countries, up and running in Seattle and expanding deeper into the U.S. this year. Actual car sales will follow. But as ownership models shift, Peugeot is in an unusual position for a legacy car manufacturer. When Dominique thinks What the Future, he’s wondering what it will take to get people to give up owning a car.

How can virtual reality help us prepare for potential realities
How can virtual reality help us prepare for potential realities?

As you sit in traffic today, you’re surrounded by other cars, trucks, vans and buses all with one thing in common: They have drivers. Now take those drivers away. It’s one thing to daydream about an autonomous future.

If you built it cheaply - will they come?
If you build it cheaply, will they come?

Matt Sweeney was one of the first employees at Uber’s Advanced Technology Center and helped build the company’s autonomous division, which now numbers in the thousands of employees. It’s fair to  say he’s been watching this space closely and given it more thought than most. When he asks What the Future, he’s wondering when autonomous vehicles will take over, especially in ride-sharing. Specifically, how much of a factor will price be in that adoption?

Will we be overwhelmed by advertising in our autonomous cars?
Will we be overwhelmed by advertising in our cars?

Combining all the data that marketers already have on consumers with real-time location and automation would open up a new frontier for advertising. Do consumers want to live in that world?

Automated Vehicle time usage
Automated vehicle time usage

The average American spends 52 minutes a day commuting, mostly by driving a car by themselves.


Winter 2017 – Housing

Here’s the set-up. We asked five smart people with very different perspectives this question: “Looking five or 10 years into your crystal ball, what is something you’ll wish you had tracking data on?” Then Ipsos conducted a survey to see how those questions are answered now.

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Ipsos WTF Winter 2017 Edition Cover

Housing:


Question: If someone moves into my city and moves up the socio-economic ladder, does local government play a role in that success?

About 12 percent of the global economy and half of the U.S. economy is driven by the 20 largest U.S. metro areas.

Editor’s note: Welcome to What the Future

Welcome to the first What the Future. We put together a lot of smart people and asked them to ask us big questions about housing. How will the future of this key sector impact your industry?

How will the future of housing impact your industry?

Ownership has been a central part of the American Dream and a driver and shaper of our nation’s history.

Question: Are resident incentives the key to solving affordable housing?

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, poses a novel solution to affordable housing and we run the numbers to see if it’s plausible. Hint: it is!

Question: Can incentives for individuals jumpstart our stagnant mobility rate?

Government incentives are often offered to companies to get them to relocate to a certain city. Companies move because to places they can find the right workers. So why not offer incentives to people to get them to move? Would it work?

Question: Will today’s high-end urban amenities become tomorrow’s status quo?

Richard Florida, one of the world’s leading urbanists, thinks there is a new urban crisis. How is it impacting Millennial housing choices?

Question: How will your house itself make your daily life easier?

Throughout this report we’ve talked about the macro-trends and the questions we should ask ourselves as we think about what comes next in housing.

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