• Trend Spotting in 2023

  • We take a quick look at three trends we believe will be prevalent this year, and how brands might want to approach them. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

    Moments of Decadence

    This century’s ‘Roaring 20s’ is not the free-for-all of its namesake, but consumers continue to react to “time lost” during lockdowns. The looming threat of climate change, wars and political conflicts are motivating individuals to express themselves and live for today and “to the fullest”, but the recognition of a global economy in turmoil is not being ignored. 

    Rather than all out extravagance, consumers are looking to elaborate through practical additions to their lives. Maximalism in interior decor and ‘dopamine dressing’ in fashion both encourage the use of bright and bold aesthetics without fear of clashing colours – ultimately allowing consumers to unapologetically seek happiness in uncertain times. This has spilled into meal habits, as seen this year with the relatively inexpensive, but pleasurable, butter board fad. 

    While consumers may still be conscious about what they’re eating – with the continued popularity of vegan meals and flexitarian diets – they are less apologetic about indulging in the foods that bring them joy – on a budget.

    For years marketers have looked to shy away from the less healthy aspects of their brand portfolios, but a savvier consumer, aware of the negatives of HFSS foods are now enjoying them for what they are – a treat. 

    In 2023 we could see the likes of Doritos or Cadbury reminding us that their snacks are a quick indulgence that can be used as part of wider self-care moments. 


    The Real Deal

    As forecasted by the Pangolin culture report in January 2022, consumers are becoming warier of perfectly curated content. Social audiences are now savvy enough to recognise the obvious time and effort that has been required to deliver the final, polished post – and are actively resisting the pressure to suggest their own lives should and do live up to these standards.

    This frustration with fabricated perfection has, in turn, seen a rise in popularity for ‘photo dumps’, a trend which sees Instagram users post carousels of unrelated images to recap a period of time, like a digital stack of Polaroids. 2023 will undoubtedly see a boom in brand-led candid-content, especially on apps such as BeReal, and be the year of “Unfiltered”.

    ‘Real’ is a simple enough concept for brands to co-opt, since it is a lo-fi approach to content. BeReal’s sees no shows no sign of slowing down with active users up 153% since July. 2023 will finally see brands harness the platform as part of their social strategy. 

    You can see the likes of Polaroid organically playing in the ‘photo dump’ and ‘real’ space. It would be great to see the brand lean into this and create UGC story competitions told in candid photos, ‘Plots in Polaroids’.


    The AI Creative Revolution

    Towards the end of 2022 the creative use of AI was bubbling up into mainstream conversation as social media timelines swelled with people exploring what AI can do with a couple of prompts.

    AI art continued to grow in popularity as the barrier to entry dropped significantly with the introduction of new apps and online tools. While NFTs required investment, consumers have found AI creative a lot more palatable, especially during the cost of living crisis. From sharing contrasting pictures of ourselves in differing artistic styles, to having poems generated about our daily lives – AI has delivered instant artistic gratification with no Crypto changing hands. 

    Artists have since united against the medium, highlighting that AI scans the web for existing artwork to alter – without sharing any compensation or credit to the artists from which the work is derived. But rather than scaring professionals (in the short term) they should view this as an opportunity. 

    Whilst some brands will undoubtedly use AI to creatively produce new marketing campaigns in 2023, others will use it as a chance to highlight the real skill of human creativity – whether that is sculpting or landscaping, drawing or designing. AI is still in its infancy, it is flawed, it is not as of yet a true replacement for a real expert. Perhaps Etsy will create a ‘Made by Humans’ museum in the near future, highlighting what the individual can still offer that computers cannot?