Facebook have just released their 2019 report on social trends.
The conversation topics that grew in 2018, compared with 2017, include sustainable living, wellness, escapism in media and experiences, and connection to tech.
Whatever your business, staying in touch with social trends is a wise move. However ridiculous those trends may be.
What’s in Facebook’s report on social trends
It’s Facebook. Their focus is usually on the almost-mythical ‘millennial’, which is annoying. But it’s inescapable that they do huge numbers, so as a barometer for popular culture, they’ll do.
- Beauty and fashion
- Food and drink
- Mind and body
- Science and technology
- Travel and leisure
That feels like quite a breezy list but it forms a picture of people’s general lifestyle and interests. Yup, we mainly talk about self-indulgent nonsense of social media. Go figure.
Facebook reports a growth of 11.2 times for conversations about bioplastics. Consumers are more demanding of companies to not only be ‘green’ but also investigate ways to contribute to the wider environmental cause.
Lego plans to replace all its plastic bricks with bioplastics from renewal sources, like vegetable oils, cornstarch and food waste. That’s a huge step for an organisation to take for the greater good, but also reflects amazingly on their brand, which has always pitched itself as responsible.
In everyday items, straws became a huge discussion point. Searches for reusable metal straws on Etsy grew 205% and conversations about straws more than doubled. Alternative materials such as hemp and bamboo have entered the mainstream consumer culture.
Eco-friendliness has hit the beauty market as well, with 48% of American women seeking out natural or organic ingredients in their beauty products. Formerly-obscure words like phthalate (a potentially harmful chemical) and microplastics have grown in conversation, as we become more aware of what we put onto and into our bodies every day – and what we encourage companies to manufacture.
Conversation about sustainable fashion grew by 3.7 times – showing that it’s no longer considered a luxury to spend more for a more responsible wardrobe. Wider demand has lowered prices, bringing environmentally friendly clothing into the mainstream.
Conversations about self care were up 1.6 times, with intermittent fasting and detoxification seeing massive growth.
Facebook points out that ‘health’ and ‘wellness’ are very different things. Health is just the absence of illness; wellness is an aspirational thing that’s about reaching your full potential. Even if it is just as a status symbol.
Our main screen is in our hands nearly 24/7 but even when we can’t physically hold a phone, we’re consuming media. Stationary bikes with built-in screens and cars with automotive head-up display are everywhere – and both are conversations topics that have grown in 2019.
“Visual displays coupled with voice- and touch-activated interfaces are revolutionizing computing paradigms and form factors. Technology will continue to fade into the background while remaining ever present and aware.”
Scott Lachut, partner and president of research and strategy at PSFK
With all that focus on improving ourselves, helping the planet and consuming media – is it any surprise that escapism is a hot topic?
Conversations about Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR – usually YouTube videos of whispering or tapping that some find relaxing) increased 200% between 2017 and 2018, showing that grownup self-soothing has become a big part of ‘adulting’ today. My generation (so-called millennials) and the generation after (Gen Z) are often called snowflakes and that may very well be because of trends like this…
Talk of livestreaming also increased – hours of live video, often of gamers, that let you live in someone else’s reality for a bit.
“What’s behind the phenomenal success of this highly escapist entertainment? Audiences, especially younger ones, are hungry for emotionally resonant, stress-relieving experiences.”
Tessa Mansfield, Chief Creative Officer at Stylus