Weekly dose of microtrends that will shape our future

The Year of Trends: Which Ones Will Last?

by Corinne Rivera

Hello Forecasters,

Welcome back to the Inflection Point.

It seems like everyone in 2023 took a crack at 'predicting the future.'

In the words of Matt Klein,

Trends are trending!

Problem is:

Most trend reports are biased and rarely disclose their methodologies.

NWO.ai is different. 

We use millions of data signals to forecast where and why cultural shifts are happening.

How do we do it?

We combine powerful propriety future estimate scores with human analysis.

Just because it's trending on TikTok doesn't mean it has long-standing cultural influence. Our global coverage observes a three-year time scale to ensure forecasts are rooted in culture, not hashtags.

Let's find out*

*(be sure to click each signal name for the original article deep-dive)

#1 Skin Streaming

Why we wrote about it:

  • Part of the ‘skinimalism’ trend. 
  • Fueled by rising inflation and going back to the office. 
  • A backlash to the 10-step Korean skincare routine and overuse of products that caused sensitive skin. 

What’s changed? 

  • While consumers are still using fewer high-impact and multifunctional products, we’re seeing an uptick in beauty and wellness “habit-stacking.” 
  • For example, beauty influencer Steph Flockhart will meditate with her legs up while using an LED face mask. 

  • While at-home beauty devices are ‘additional’ steps in a routine, consumers are finding new ways to incorporate them into wellness practices. 
  • Brands can help their customers by offering suggestions on how they can habit-stack their products. 

What we’re keeping an eye on: 

  • A signal expected to peak in August 2024 is ‘double cleansing.’
  • It’s a longstanding K-beauty habit that the US is finally catching up with. 
  • The Sephora of Korea, Olive Young, has also been steadily increasing in consumer interest, offering advanced formulas at more affordable prices than their US and EU competitors.

Korean brands forecast to see growth in 2024:

#2 WaterTok 

Why we wrote about it:

  • 2023 was the year hydration became a lifestyle.
  • Part of the ‘water packet’ trend #WaterTok has accumulated over 996M views on TikTok.
  • Consumers explain that flavored packets help them drink enough water but health experts are concerned about artificial chemicals, like Aspartame, in syrups and powders. 

What’s changed? 

  • Because of the #WaterTok trend, a growing awareness of carcinogenic flavor powders has shifted purchase preferences toward healthier options.

What we’re keeping an eye on: 

  • Consumers are still interested in the convenience and variety of water packet flavors.
  • Functional packets, like electrolytes (see signal above), are expected to see significant growth in September 2024. 
  • The Stanley Cup craze is merging hydration and trendiness with new competitors, Owala, and air up on the rise.  

Health-focused water packet brands forecast to see growth in 2024: 

#3 Medical Aesthetics 

Why we wrote about it:

  • Gen Z is driving the ‘prejuvination’ movement and normalizing ‘tweakments
  • Growing demands and accessibility of MedSpas anticipate a $23.42B industry by 2026.
  • Cultural drivers include photo filters, zoom call reflections, and celebrity injection endorsement

What’s changed? 

  • Instead of coming into consultations with photos of models and celebrities, customers are showing doctors images of themselves using photo filters. 
  • France has outlawed influencers from promoting plastic surgery and requires them to disclose the use of photo filters on social posts. 
  • In 2017, Allure Magazine banned the term ‘anti-aging’ – this marketing term, especially in the US, is being replaced with ‘healthy-aging.’ 

What we’re keeping an eye on: 

  • Of all the ‘non-invasive’ procedure categories we researched, Radio Frequency Microneedling has seen the most significant growth in the past three years and will continue to rise in 2024. 

At-home laser brands forecast to see growth in 2024: 

#4 Halal Beauty 

Why we wrote about it:

  • Ties into the ‘cruelty-free’ beauty trend. 
  • ‘Halal Beauty’ is the gold standard of ‘ethical consumerism’ due to its strict rules against chemicals and mandatory fair labor practices. 
  • Consumers are more aware of their skin inputs in relation to a healthy skin barrier and microbiome. 

What’s changed? 

  • The rise of Halal Beauty has its roots in helping people align their purchase behavior with their ethical and personal values. 
  • The Halal certification is a quick way for conscious consumers to make product choices that are clean and fair across formulas and supply chains.

Who we’re keeping an eye on:

Top Trending Halal Beauty brands:

‘Clean’ beauty brands forecast to see growth in 2024: 

#5 Biotech Fermentation

Why we wrote about it:

  • Our CEO spoke at the Sustainable Cosmetics conference here in NYC. 
  • This tech is part of the ‘green chemistry’ trend and has emerged as a cutting-edge innovation to minimize cosmetic material supply chain risks. 
  • Biotech Fermentation uses fewer resources, reduces waste, and controls the production of product materials. 

What’s changed? 

  • This industry trend has yet to cross over into the consumer landscape. 
  • Conversations around Biotech Fermentation remain in Google search, news, and scientific literature. 

What we’re keeping an eye on: 

  • Brands will have an uphill battle removing the negative consumer connotations around ‘synthetic’ ingredients. 
  • Sustainable brands must educate their customers that “natural,” especially at scale, does not equate to “sustainable.” 

A biotech fermentation brand forecast to see growth in 2024:

#6 AI Girlfriends 

Why we wrote about it:

  • On May 2, 2023, the U.S. Surgeon General declared a loneliness epidemic
  • Influencers are turning themselves into chatbots – one made $75K in their first week. 
  • ‘AI Girlfriends’ are part of the larger ‘AI Companionship’ trend. 

What's changed? 

  • Several AI companionship platforms have placed safeguards on sexual communication, while others believe intimacy is a fundamental aspect of this new human-to-tech connection. 

What we’re keeping an eye on: 

#7 Hormonal Skincare

Why we wrote about it:

  • Hormonal imbalances are shaping a new market for skincare. 
  • Global decreases in fertility and sperm count are fueling IVF and egg-freezing procedures that affect hormone balances and skin. 
  • Environmental stressors, such as endocrine-disrupting chemicals in plastics and food, alter hormones and contribute to skin conditions. 

What's changed? 

  • Rather than marketing to a desired skin benefit, more companies are directly addressing the lifestyle experiences of their customers and how that may negatively impact their skin. 

What we're keeping an eye out for: 

  • Brands that are marketing products to address adult acne and hyperpigmentation due to pregnancy, miscarriages, menstruation, and fertility treatments. 
  • Beauty formulas that are free from chemicals and endocrine-disrupting substances. 

Hormone-inspired beauty brands forecast to see growth in 2024:

#8 AI Beuty Tools

Why we wrote about it:

  • Ties into the virtual try-on trend.
  • NARS is offering an ‘AI-Beauty Tool’ and reports a 300% boost in conversion rate and a 10% increase in average order size – Estee Lauder is experiencing similar growth. 
  • This tech supports less carbon emissions from product returns, helping brands leverage more favorable sustainability reporting and investment. 

What's changed? 

  • Like many other procedures and technology, we’re seeing an overlap between medical applications and aesthetics. 
  • This year, Google launched its skin diagnostic feature – offering free preliminary medical screenings. 

What we’re keeping an eye out for: 

  • Medspas across the country are using AI simulators to sell their cosmetic procedures. 
  • The signal for ‘Botox AI’ saw a sharp increase in September 2023. 

#9 Cycle Syncing 

Why we wrote about it:

  • Ties into the ‘femtech’ and ‘wellness tracking’ trends.
  • 300M women menstruate worldwide on any given day – 75% of them suffer from PMS and are looking for products to alleviate their symptoms. 
  • ‘Cycle Syncing’ is a female lifestyle trend related to fitness, diet, and emotional well-being. 

What’s changed? 

  • While every menstruating person is aware of the body changes that occur during this week, more people are learning about the four distinct hormonal phrases within their entire 28-day cycle. 

What we’re keeping an eye on:

  • Skincare brands specifically offering products for each hormonal phase, like Typology’s ‘Periodic Serums.’
  • Devices such as the Evie Ring and female cycle-focused platforms offer individualized lifestyle recommendations based on personal metrics. 

#10 Grief Tech 

Why we wrote about it:

  • Ties into the AI companionship trend – which millions of people are paying for. 
  • Grief Tech offers innovative ways for human storytelling and legacy presentation. 
  • Is a new psychological experience for humans to explore their memories and emotions.

What we’re keeping an eye out for: 

  • In times of uncertainty and polarization, Chatbots offer consistent, ever-present, non-judgemental support. 
  • AI platforms that can provide free and anonymous conversation are anticipated to see increased cultural integration. 
  • The signals for ‘AI Therapy’ and ‘Pi AI’ are forecast to see increased consumer interest in 2024. 

That's all we got for now.

Thanks for spending time with us on this week's Inflection Point.

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