Your daily mix of foresight & futures

You can scour the Internet in search of the latest consumer trends and cultural shifts, or you can let us do it for you. T&T provides a daily snapshot of the world’s most intriguing happenings and what they mean for the marketplace tomorrow.


I’ll be honest; even though it’s been over 10 years since it originally aired, the first thing I think of when I see a deprivation tank is this episode from the Simpsons. But apparently there is more to the tanks than just being a Simpsons’ gag! For the uninitiated, sensory deprivation tanks are lightproof, soundproof tanks half-filled with salt water in which people float to meditate and relax. The practice has been around for 60 years or so.

Due to the gradual acceptance of alternative medicine, floating, as it is called, is having a renaissance. Promoted benefits range from reduced stress and elevated mood to increased athleticism and creativity. With floating locations in many major U.S. cities, this health and wellness trend may be about to hit its tipping point.

Learn more about Health & Wellness trends on The Futures Company’s PULSE microsite.

Image: The Simpsons



singlehood rising

About half of the adults in the U.S. are single; that’s the highest proportion since record-keeping on this sort of thing began back in 1976, when the figure was 37%.

When it comes to singledom, our clients are most nervous about Millennials: “Will they ever get married!?” According to last year’s U.S. Yankelovich MONITOR study, here’s the percentage of Millennial men and women under 30 who would be disappointed if various things didn’t occur by their 35th birthday:

Having kids: 26% of men, 46% of women
Being married: 45% of men, 56% of women
Establishing a career: 64% of men, 63% of women

The order of operations implied by these statistics speaks to the new face of young adulthood, where traditional timelines are stretched and sometimes discarded altogether. Learn more about Millennial priorities by checking out our MONITOR Download on Millennials.





In a climate where CSR programs and sustainability initiatives have become table stakes, French grocer Intermarché has recently upped the ante.

This year, Intermarché entered the fight against food waste in a brilliantly simple, innovative way: by separating “ugly” produce from its more aesthetically appealing counterparts and selling it for less. The campaign asked, “Why throw away perfectly good produce just because it doesn’t meet arbitrary cosmetic criteria?”

And like Charlie Brown bringing home his Christmas tree, Intermarché shoppers embraced the less than picture-perfect produce. In just two days the “ugly” fruit sold out and the store saw a 24% traffic increase. An amazing example of what a light-hearted, creative, and sustainable initiative can do to build a positive brand relationship with consumers.

See also: 100% packaging-free supermarket




Access to gratification is becoming increasingly convenient, so much so that we have come to need it. We have this desire to feel something. Anything. It’s more than just being entertained and having something to do; it’s a dull, full-body craving that seeks stimulation. We quench this desire when we pick up that coffee in the morning, or when we turn up the volume dial, or when we get home from work, pour a glass of wine and eat too much pizza.

According to The Futures Company’s 2014 Global MONITOR, 51% of Americans agree: “I am always looking for new experiences and sensations that will liven up my everyday activities.” Proof can be found in any convenience store: energy drinks have been given more space in refrigerators, a wall of tobacco still lingers behind checkout counters, and scary-looking bags of pills that say “HYpeR ENrgy BOOST extREME” sit beside empty penny bowls.

This goes beyond food and caffeine. In 2013, 7.3% of Americans regularly used marijuana, up from 5.8% in 2007. Abuse of ADHD medication has also been making headlines in recent years, as students turn to the pills to help them feel awake.

This any-time availability of satisfaction is leaving us fat, caffeinated, and indulging in excess.

Image credit: Vladimer Shioshvili via Flickr




What if you could choose a photograph as your password on any of your electronic devices or online accounts? An Australian teen’s early-stage app, called uSig, allows you to do just that. Choose an image from your device, and the app turns it into a 512-character password. Seeing as most passwords out there now are around 10 characters long, the concept could revolutionize cyber security.

Any type of data on the internet is at risk, as has become increasingly clear with the recent cyber-attack by the Russian group CyberVor, which stole over 1.2 billion different username/password combinations. This innovative app could dramatically increase the safety of all online information, ranging from people’s personal information to governments’ confidential data.




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