Our world in 2013, a few thoughts.

  • Img_2945
    Shopping dominated by the spending habits of the over 50’s
  • Internet on everything, and everything synced
  • Innovation from the East, tourism in the West
  • We will know more, have solved more

The changing age of world’s population will dramatically alter our lives. From the promiscuous spending of the over 50’s to the globally connected teenagers1.

In developing nations we will see ‘retro-technology’ being used to get round legislative or cultural barriers, From downloadable house plans to electronic payments without banks via 2G phones2

More of the UK’s inner cities will be re-jigged for pedestrian use as planners seek not only to ease congestion, but also to be able to better manage societal ills. (It’s actually quite hard to riot in an area of pavement cafes and sculptured paths)3

Car users will seek connivence i.e. shared ownership schemes while car buyers will demand more personalisation of both look and function4.

In the summer of 2013 you will see a huge number of new tourists in the UK, London will still be the world’s number one inbound destination, but our visitors will be increasingly from the east.5

Will you have an iPad in 2013? Yes, or an equivalent. Tablet style devices will be a default for publishers and consumers of long form text, whether magazines, books or instruction manuals

We will have become digital omnivores consuming a single piece of information, film or story across multiple screens to suit our current location whether bath, sofa, car or desk.6

Shopping will be about collaboration of brands, more devices will be able to speak to each other, more shops will be dual use, more prices dictated by shopper behaviour of the minute.

2013 will be when we stop using the word digital and just talk about being ‘on’

All your devices will work everywhere, with the switch over to digital TV, the UK has large amounts of free frequency space that can fill in WiFi gaps, called White Space, the first transmitters were launched this summer7

But lets not forget in all this, that humans are, after all, analogue beings. We’re playing catch up with the full functionality of our electronic inventions. We like fuzzy stuff, we love products however clever, to have emotion, a soul. Mainstream use of many hybrid technologies will come when they stop looking like hybrid technology products and start just being good to be with.


1. Over 50’s. In the UK almost 55% of the population will be over 50 by 2013. But as with just about all trends in 2013 its Asia Pacific where we need to look. Japan will have the oldest population, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan the fastest growing and China will have the largest aging consumer population in the world. (The under 50 population in China will actually shrink by 117 million people over the 10 years to 2018) The big issue about this new generation is there per capita discretionary spend is two and a half times the average younger household spend.  Already in America 41% of Apple customers are over 50. Again in America the 46- to 64-year-old group now spends more money on technology than any other demographic (Forrester Research). The over 50’s over index on luxury items and random spending, even during the recession, driven in part by genetics. “Older brains...more positive emotional bias than younger adults” (Patricia A Reuter-Lorenz & Cindy Lustiz).

At the other end of the scale the school children of 2013 will be learning in not only smarter ways, but will be smarter about the world around them. Worth noting 65% of children entering school for the first time will end up working in careers that haven’t even been invented yet (Cathy N. Davidson, Duke University)

2. Retro Technology being used in developing nations to leap frog Govt. or cultural barriers to change. Social media access will bring more tyrannical governments to account. Open source house plans like www.os-house.org will speed up communities development from default slum zones. Person to person electronic payments scheme, driven by 2G Nokia technology originally from Africa (www.safaricom.co.ke/m-pesa) now in Afghanistan http://www.roshan.af
Bringing light to slums without electricity, with an innovative lighting system from recycled materials, globally spread via YouTube http://isanglitrongliwanag.org

Planning for pedestrians www.intelligentspace.com  et al.

4. Car use changes i.e. www.whipcar.com and open source car design: www.theoscarproject.org & www.local-motors.com

5. Global Travel survey; www.masterintelligence.com

6. Consuming content across platforms: Our current anxiety over which electronic device; tablet, smart phone, net book, Sat Nav? Will pale, as we all become digital omnivores consuming content across a variety of screens appropriate for moment to hand.

7. White Space filling in for WiFi = http://www.neul.com  &  http://media.ofcom.org.uk/2011/09/01/ofcom-progresses-with-new-wireless-techn...