5 key trends to watch in 2023

Author: Tim O'Mara


We recently completed and began presenting to clients our annual Top Trends report. Each year we work with our data and research from many of the top consultancies in the world to identify major cultural and business factors that marketers should consider in the year ahead. This year, we've identified five key trends worth watching. 



The Word of the Year chosen at the end of 2022 by the Collins Dictionary, permacrisis describes the constant state of stress brought on by living through a seemingly endless period of war, economic and political instability, and health and climate crises.

One significant contributor to permacrisis is the relentless 24/7 new cycle, punctuated by so many 'breaking news' events that cable news networks are revising their standards in this area. In the past two decades, negative headlines have increased dramatically, a perverse reaction to the fact that those headlines create more clicks and thus more ad dollars for their publishers. 

We discuss how meaningful interactions are the path forward for brands with customers reacting in ever more unpredictable ways. 


Year of Recovery (?)

A reaction to permacrisis is a strong sense among consumers that 2023 is a year for a deep breath, reconnection with friends and family, and a more active daily role IRL. We're (mostly) ready to remove our masks, go out to movies and concerts, and travel the world. In fact, there is a lot of data indication these actions are already occurring. 

And yet...we're experiencing conflicting and concerning economic news. Layoffs, predictions of recession, inflation slowing but not yet under control. Will this be a year of recovery or not? We believe the first half of the year will be bumpy, but good things are ahead in the second half of '23 and heading into '24.


Social Media in Decline

Major social media platforms have been dodging pressures for several years, but we look at 2023 as a potential tipping point. In the past 3 years, Americans are spending less time on social media after nearly a decade of large year-over-year increases. There have been sharp declines in those using major social platforms as a news source (Tik Tok is an exception). And a global study from Pew Research Center shows that a strong majority of American believe social media is a 'bad thing' for democracy. In fact, this negative perception is much stronger in the U.S. than in any of the other 18 countries studied. 

Social platforms are suffering from bad press, bad economics, and the strong likelihood of federal regulation ahead, matching what is already happening in the EU and several states. For many marketers, social media has become a major part of their plans. How will they be impacted by these developments?


Personalization 2.0

Almost 9 in 10 Americans feel growing concern about their data privacy. And 8 in 10 think too much of their personal data is being collected. Today, trying to manage the problem has been complex and frustrating. Consumers want to get back in charge of what is shared about them, and with whom. But how?

One potential solution would create a 'vault' of information for each individual. The consumer could give access to part or all of the vault to digital sites, maintaining control over exactly what is shared and keeping digital platforms from vacuuming up all the information they can grab. 

The concept is called tokenization, and along with the obvious benefits for consumers, we believe that brands can see positive results as well. Brands that urge (or incentivize) consumers to share more will be able to build deeper, more rewarding relationships. 

The technology is nascent, and this is not a trend that will be fully actuated in 2023. But forward-looking marketers should be preparing now for a future in which consumers will have much more control over their data. 


AI yi yi

While we all have regularly experienced forms of artificial intelligence in our daily lives (hello Amazon recommendations), the recent release of ChatGPT and several other tools has ratcheted up awareness and interest substantially. Some of the examples of AI in action inspire awe. But new technologies often intertwine emotions of awe with fear, and the breathtaking pace of breakthroughs in this area is leaving many consumers unsettled. 

Missteps with AI, like those experienced by Bing and Google, can have immediate consequences: Google's capitalization decreased by $100 billion in a single day after its AI searchbot failed in a demonstration. But these tools will improve, and they are here to stay. We gave ChatGPT the opportunity to write the implications of all this for one of our clients, and the result was quite impressive. Marketers need to get ready, now. 

When we present these trends, we provide a good deal more detail and project the potential impact for an individual business or category. If you'd like to learn more or have us present to you, let us know: https://www.copacino.com/contact