In our modern world, we speak of trends which, besides the world of consumption, also shape the behaviour of society. Trends are short- to medium-term tendencies with a duration of five to ten and a maximum of fifteen years. They thus have a relatively short-lived influence on our immediate environment, such as interiors or fashion.
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The situation is different for the so-called megatrends. They can be described as remarkable phenomena, because in the course of time they reach and influence all areas of society and economy, politics, technology, and culture. Megatrends bring about fundamental changes in our thinking and actions. With their comprehensive and lasting effects, they have a global character and mark an entire era.
The Zukunftsinstitut in Frankfurt/Main, managed by Matthias Horx, defines a half-life of at least 50 years as the period of a megatrend. However, even more than the duration, the serious influence is the characteristic feature of megatrends. Global - across borders and generations. Like "avalanches in slow motion"*, megatrends reach us all: they come slowly, almost imperceptibly, but definitely and fundamentally.
Trends develop on the basis of megatrends, but their duration is much shorter.
Quite frequently, however, megatrends also provoke a counter-movement on the shorter-term trend level. Just like the return to homeland in a global, progressive and future-oriented world.
Terrorist attacks, worldwide data networking, smart home: society's need for security is increasing.
The rural exodus continues: all over the world, people are moving to cities, and the pace of urbanisation continues to increase.
The worldwide interdependence of the most diverse areas is increasing: from business and politics to communication, language and knowledge.
Comprehensive connectivity is created via the Internet: people (and machines) communicate, connect and organise themselves in networks.
Consumer behaviour is changing, and so are the markets. Growth is being redefined through environmental protection and resource conservation: besides economy and ecology, social commitment is also a determinant.
Source: *Harry Gatterer, Zukunftsinstitut