Reports Media & Marketing

Cultural trends of 2022 A year of inflection points

Report by Hanna Kahlert
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The 20,000 foot view:  Digital-first life is now a bygone fact, from remote working to streaming as the default mode of entertainment consumption. Social media has evolved from its role as a personalised update feed, to a world of its own – encompassing basic creator tools from recording, to editing, to self-promotion. The digitalisation of skills sharing has enabled ever more people to take up the mantle of creator, rather than simply being a consumer. Ever-improving discovery algorithms are linking niche content to audiences of superfans, allowing localised content to spread globally, reaching levels of success that are impossible in a mainstream market. Fundamentally, digital-first life has prompted the need for a rethinking of the distinction between ‘real life’ and ‘online’. For digital natives, these realms have never been distinct, and with increased online familiarity and control, the rest of the world is catching up. 2022 will see the dissolution of traditional entertainment borders: between content categories, artists and audiences, and the worlds of online and ‘reality’. 

Key Insights

  • The current changes in consumption habits are largely due to the two-pronged advance of both content proliferation and technology innovation
  • Fans are now going beyond pure consumption, with the barrier to access for digital creation lowering exponentially, often either engaging directly with creators or creating their own things in response – further blurring the lines between consumers and creator
  • These ‘lean through’ behaviours exhibit a high degree of fandom, but they are difficult to track using traditional metrics
  • At the convergence of too much content (including that which is produced by consumers) and high discovery, anything unique stands out as appealing
  • This, combined with digital-first habits, means that ‘localised’ content can now (more easily) see success on a global scale
  • Heightened competition brought about by the growing phenomenon of unique, international content will cause problems for advertising – which, rather than being created for the sake of artistic expression, is made to influence for purpose, and thus is less likely to capture attention
  • For digital natives, IRL and digital-first experiences complement – rather than compete with – each other
  • Be it games overlapping the real world, sports franchises branching into esports, music listening now being primarily on-the-go, or digital natives preferring social media platforms that enable their IRL activities, the worlds of digital and IRL have ceased to be distinct
  • Digital and IRL are not beginning to overlap, but rather have already merged
  • The rise of NFTs highlights the final phase of this blended reality, wherein real value can now be exchanged for digital-only items
  • Radio listening is declining in younger generations, while streaming music is growing, as        of        listen to the radio weekly (compared to half of all consumers) and        stream music every week (compared to        of all consumers)

Companies and brands mentioned in this report :Amazon Prime Video, BandLab, Bridgerton, Dark, Donda Stem, Facebook, Google, Instagram, McDonalds, Meta, Microsoft, Money Heist, NBA,        Netflix, Pokémon GO, Queen’s Gambit, Rick and Morty, Snapchat, SoundCloud, Spotify, Squid Game, The Witcher, TikTok, Twitch, Vans, YouTube, Zoom

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