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2021 Trend Predictions

Using our small army of clever connections we turn to the experts to listen to what they think might occur in their fields in the coming year (may it be much more predictable than the last!)

Via: Pinterest & Unsplash


Regional Transport

Against a backdrop of multi billion dollar public transport investments in Australian cities, regional transport will see a big uptick in usage. Shifting demographics to regional centres and increased numbers of people seeking to escape urban congestion will drive greater demand. Governments need to respond by providing fast frequent and affordable public transport for regional populations to stay ahead of this trend.

Bruce, 62, Transport

Dispersion of local hotspots

Active transport is likely to continue to grow in use within Australian cities, supported by significant Government investment in infrastructure. The shift away from working in a centrally located office 5 days a week, to flexible arrangements where employees work from home 2-3 days a week, will allow for greater local travel within neighbourhoods and support a higher value of place across cities - no longer concentrated to key strategic centres. The way we think about place within our neighbourhoods may also evolve with road space reallocation now being a consideration for major transportation agencies.

Britt, 25, Transport Planner

Source: Nick Fewings via Unsplash

Fossil Fuel Phaseout

Buying a 100% petrol car in 2021 is going to feel a bit like buying a cassette tape in 1991. While the death of the petrol car is still a fair way off, many of the coffin’s nails were made this year. 2020 saw the number of places with targets for fossil fuel phase out rise to 14 countries and 20 cities. New electric concept cars that don’t require charging due to roof solar panelling were also announced.

Paul, 39, Creative Strategy


Skin health

With 2020 bringing us mask-ne, 2021 should surely be bringing us a proper glow-up? Working from home has given us more time in our days, so tell me a better way to fill this extra time than with a cheeky face and hair mask? I'll wait. Looking after our skin health and spending money directed at some good skin care will only level up your makeup game, or just your game in general. Investing in a good SPF, if not anything else, will help you look 30 in your 40's. Think all things self-care, skin-care, hair-care, and hydration, hydration, hydration! PS - Keep all face masks in your fridge.

Olivia Benic, 23, PR and skin-care therapist

Source: via Pinterest

Less is more

2020 saw a reappraisal of our relationship with beauty; gone were the days of attempting to cover up late nights and busy schedules with multiple layers of concealer and in came a time of reflection and self-care (or at the very least a dramatically increased need for it!). And while some of these changes may not stick, many will have lasting impacts. In 2021, less will be more; sustainability will continue to be important in the form of reusable and refillable products, a desire to maintain minimal routines will lead to increased demand for multifunctional beauty and consumers will embrace a more natural - less polished - everyday aesthetic that focuses on proactively laying good foundations by caring for the skin, rather than reactively covering up imperfections.

Amity, 29, Marketing Research, London


Outdoor experiences

Rather than sitting in standard theatres that have COVID restrictions applied, there will be more opportunities to watch outdoor performances and interact with the environment they are performed in. There will be more installations and outdoor experiences and most productions of theatre will be outdoor. These will be a lot more expensive to run as working with the outdoor elements and the need to protect the audience and equipment will add new logistical and cost challenges for productions.

Mikhaela, 37, Producer, Actor, Dancer


Having spent the past few months exclusively consuming the arts via our screens, there will be a rabid sense of interest and urgency in engaging with art IRL. Smaller-scale immersive experiences, audio-visual artworks, unexpected collaborations and interactive engagement via downloadable apps will become familiar elements across the festival, exhibition and cultural event landscape. And you can say goodbye to the printed festival guide!

Alice, 30, Marketing, MONA

Commercially-leveraged creative

The pandemic has highlighted an opportunity to diversify traditional earned revenue streams in the arts. With this in mind, I think we’ll see more of the cultural sector exploring creative commercial opportunities around branding, licensing and partnerships.

Alice, 30, Marketing, MONA



Drinks trends will start to change from prohibition classics to disco/fun drinks . Bartenders will get less “wanky” and people will be more interested in drinks they enjoy. And also whisky companies are going to be putting a lot of spend into targeting women, but you can already see that starting to happen. I’m actually getting sponsored posts and targeted ads for single malt whiskies for the first time ever, despite being highly engaged in whisky content online for about ten years.

Sinea Weintz @thespiritsambassador

Source: Entrecote's bistro-tables-for-hire. Photo: Simon Schluter via Goodfood
Source: Simon Schluter via Good Food

Casualised dining

I expect outdoor dining is here to stay and hope that communities can reclaim parking spots and footpaths permanently. We saw high-end restaurants serving lasagnes and transforming into bakeries during lockdown. I anticipate this casualisation of hospitality will continue, meaning greater access to a type of ‘fine dining’ experience for more people.

Molly, 27, PR, foodie!


More Super Fund Mergers

Over the last few years there has been a number of mergers within the superannuation space. Over the coming year(s), this activity is going to accelerate further, until only 10-15 extremely large behemoths remain. Along with this increased size will come increased influence from the industry on various topical social and other issues. This influence, if incongruous with the government in power, will likely lead to further regulation to lessen their power, be it via reduced contributions, more ways to withdraw super early or other more punitive regulation. Josh, 37, Super Fund Investment Director

Source: JP Valery via Unsplash

Tightening criteria for the Australian mortgage market

With the combination of the findings from the Royal Commission and the Economic shock of the COVID outbreak, it is likely that the large Australian Banks will continue tightening lending criteria for consumer mortgages. Banks and regulators will want to continue the balancing act between supplying money into the Australian housing market and reducing higher risk credit exposures for Australian consumers.

Joel, 35, Commercial Bank Strategist

Fragmentation of the financial advice market

As the major banks pull back from financial advice and wealth products, the financial advisory market is likely to become significantly more fragmented, characterised by independent financial advisors. This will likely result in a reduction of the number of individuals with their savings in efficient savings vehicles, especially for younger Australians still accumulating wealth. There may be an increase in digital led solutions entering the market to help fill the gap, but likely there will be an increase in bank deposits and other cash saving products. This will be particularly detrimental to younger Australians as house prices continue to rise, with the average age of home ownership ever increasing and interest rates at record lows, resulting in deposit yields at low single digits. Additionally, the fragmented advisor market will become significantly harder to regulate, ultimately reducing the regulator's influence and potentially failing to improve outcomes for consumers.

Diana, 37, Customer Strategist, Financial Services


The right takes a hit but conspirators prosper

With the election loss of the world’s most famous right-wing populist, Donald Trump, we could see right-wing populism lose a bit of electoral steam in places like Central and Eastern Europe. But don’t expect some of the underlying issues that lead to the success of these leaders and parties – grievance politics and divisions around cultural issues – to go anywhere anytime soon. And as the pandemic means more folks are isolated at home and the usual connections to community are cut off, there are heightened concerns about the radicalisation of the far-right occurring on the Internet. So, expect far-right terrorism to have a more prominent presence on the security agenda. Relatedly, expect conspiratorial thinking to hit the mainstream, with movements like QAnon reaching new people through mediums like Instagram and Facebook.

Dr. Octavia (PHD in Politics), 30, Researcher

China-shaped hole in Australian output

Here in Australia, all eyes should be on our relationship with China as things get increasingly frosty with our largest trading partner. COVID-19 has also exposed some vulnerabilities in terms of Australia’s local manufacturing capacity, so look out for discussions about a recovery at least partly centred around bolstering local manufacturing capabilities.

Dr. Octavia (PHD in Politics), 30, Researcher

Source: Mélodie Descoubes via Unsplash

Youth in revolt

Eat the rich will become the motto of younger generations. Socialism, anti-capitalism and anti-billionaire-ism (new term, coined here) will continue to gain sentiment. Globally, people are waking and rising up thanks to figures like Bernie Sanders and AOC spitting facts about wealth inequality and struggles younger generations face because of it.

Zoe Jarousek, 25, PR


Bringing sexy back

I predict after a year of elasticated drawstrings and oversized hoodies we’re going to see a revival of sexy fashion. This has already started to play out in fashion shows with corsets, backless dresses and hot pants making a comeback on the catwalk. And as someone who spent a solid 8 months wearing nothing but activewear I am here for it!

Hannah, 29, Advertising

DIY style

With an increased concern for fashion wastage, and a lot of time at home with nothing to do, it's no surprise that people have turned to TikTok and Pinterest to transform their most boring old clothes into exciting new styles with tie dye, embroidery and paint. Brands will jump on this trend and provide more options for customisation and personalisation.

Sylvia, 27, Advertising, Loves a TikTok


Productivity tech as we return to the office

Covid resulted in a large number of employees working from home which has been encouraged by the aggressive adoption of a broad range of collaboration tech. Productivity levels have risen and lots of businesses believe this trend will remain, but I tend to disagree. I believe the short term growth in productivity was as a result of fear for job losses, so most employees were doing their best to not be a standout poor performer. As the economy begins to turn post-vaccine, we will see job growth, making it more of an employee’s market. As a result I believe we will see employees start to slack off! Most of the new technology that was deployed has inbuilt telemetry reporting on what users are doing and big enterprises are going to use this to measure productivity. They will see it fall and quickly move to bring everyone back in to offices where they can better manage how their people are working!

Simon, 35, Director, Tech Company

Increase in digital attackers and tech partnerships

There will likely be an increased push of digital-led retail banks to acquire customers across Australia. It is unlikely that this will cause a significant shift in main bank providers for the majority of Australians, however it will put renewed pressure on the incumbent banks to improve their basic services and digital experiences.

As part of the response from incumbent banks, it is likely we will continue to see an increased volume of partnerships between technology providers and banks. This will allow banks to respond more rapidly, while not having to develop and own expensive technology architecture.

Joel, 35, Commercial Bank Strategist

Smart glasses arrive in earnest

I predict we are technically closer to ‘smart glasses’ being not only feasible, but able to go mainstream. Apple (the company I know most about when it comes to tech stuff) has been slowly changing their technology stack in ways that easily transition to AR, has been working on miniaturising powerful processors, and conditioning us to into seeing them as a fashion/wearable company. It’s only a matter of time before that all culminates into glasses. And judging how AirPods went from laughed at to loved so quickly, I suspect they’ll be popular sooner than we think.

Omar - big nerd who knows A LOT about Apple.


Homes amongst the gumtrees

2021 will be the year of Aussies realising their dreams of living in the country or along the coastline. Lockdown created a shift in values with many of us craving more space and a dose of nature as opposed to a fast-paced city life. With current WFH conditions, we can live just about anywhere in Australia, and a laptop on the verandah overlooking the shoreline doesn't sound too shabby.

Emily, 30, Content writer at REA and Author of @sharedliving

Adaptive office from home furniture

A lot of workplaces continue to embrace flexible working with people planning to WFH a few days a week. This means that people that had to set up a temporary office in their dining room may look to improve their set up for a more permanent one. I think we will see furniture and lifestyle stores promote study/office set ups for those that plan to make WFH a more regular part of their life but don't have the space or necessity for a full time home office. Maybe it's a sofa couch/desk pop up; maybe it's a TV that doubles as a monitor; or a side table that extends to a desk?

Sylvia, 27, Advertising, Pinterest lover

Source: via Pinterest

Manifesting the future

It's safe to say most people's 2020s looked a lot different to what they hoped for at the start of the year. With so many cancelled trips, plans on hold and job uncertainty, it's no surprise people have started looking for spiritual ways to manifest their goals for 2021. And since the future remains uncertain maybe some magic is what is needed to materialise these goals. Horoscopes, manifestation techniques and fantasy maps may creep into our horizon for 2021.

Sylvia, 27, Advertising, Stationary lover


Online and remote learning continues to grow

We’re going to see a significant increase in digitisation of learning, especially whole schools moving to embedding online platforms for communication and collaboration. Platforms like Teams and Slack are going to be permanent structures in schools and we will ‘start’ a system-wide inevitable drift away from traditional classroom learning (sit in desk, look at board) rather than it just being a handful of schools. Remote learning will be possible for students and teachers alike, so that education can flourish no matter where in the world kids are.

Andrew, 28, Learning Specialist in Digital Learning


Sports come back swinging

Sports will be in high demand - The Sports industry that has been hit hard by Covid but will turn around quick in 2021. I believe there will be a great demand for ticketed sporting events as we have already seen with the AFL in other states and the start of the summer of cricket. In Australia our need for entertainment & sport is part of our culture and although full crowd capacities at venues may not return for the first half of 2021 it is nearly guaranteed that whatever the venues are allowed to hold under restrictions they will sell out under those guidelines. As a result, events and major sporting venues will have to adapt and be innovative to accomodate the higher demand.

James, 31, Partnerships & Events (Sports)


Data directed marketing

Even greater privacy awareness will drive how we use data 2021 will continue to see privacy issues dictating marketing capability. As consumers become hyper-aware of how their data is used and distributed, demand will continue to grow for privacy-focused tech and services. This will have major implications to measurement and targeting capability, and will change the way business extracts value from data. Greater focus on probabilistic measurement, data-driven insight generation and development of strategic data partnerships between brands will future proof smart marketing teams.

Schalk, Media Agency


Low-key weddings

With a year that will be even more wedding-filled than most, ongoing financial impacts of 2020 and a new found reminder of those that mean the most to us will there be a reappraisal of big wedding culture? Think dressed down, intimate numbers and no bride or groomzillas to be found. Will we see local elopements? Who needs Vegas when you've got Wagga?

Zara , 30, Creative Strategy

The Current team and their clever expert network

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