What the Future

Ipsos asks What the Future about a different key area of our economy. We talk to key experts about the “big questions” they’re asking themselves, their companies, and their industries. Then we do the research, get the data on how today’s trends will affect tomorrow’s trends.

The future of America’s wealth will be driven by America’s aging population, growing diversity among the rich and the digital era. Ipsos imagines how these shifts will impact wealth transfer, fiscal policy, luxury retail and luxury through crypto and the metaverse in this Wealth issue of What the Future. Read on for more on how these evolutions will shape who owns the wealth, how they spend it, and how they show it off in the real world and virtual spaces.

Download the What the Future: Wealth issue

How will the digital era impact America’s wealth and wealthy?

It’s hard to talk about the future of wealth and not talk about inequality. America…

Will impending wealth transfer change the picture?

The impending wealth transfer between the Baby Boomers and their heirs could remake the financial…

How can financial providers assist in the big wealth transfer?

Americans age 70 and older have stockpiled more than $35 trillion, more than a quarter…

What will luxury consumers consume?

Luxury shopping has become more digital as the pandemic and Gen Z consumers redefine expectations…

How can high-end brands redefine luxury shopping for the digital age?

Nearly a quarter of luxury shoppers prefer to shop online versus in-store, and nearly four…

What is luxury in the metaverse?

NFTs are a sort of digital collectible. If you know the term, you know the…

Where do luxury brands fit in the metaverse?

Across the metaverse and Web 3.0, digital communities are springing up around things like bored…

What role can the Fed play in wealth and inequality?

Wealth and income inequality are extremely complex problems that could take decades to solve given…

Will inequality drive policy changes that will impact wealth?

Despite its reputation as the land of equal opportunity, the U.S. leads all G7 countries…

The future of sports, like entertainment writ large, is diversifying, stratifying and fragmenting. In this issue of What the Future, Ipsos explores how we will consume sports in the future. Sports fandom is becoming even more interactive and crossing many platforms. Read on to see the changing roles that the worlds of collecting, engaging with brands and betting will play in how we engage with the teams and players we love — even if someday those players are virtual, not human.

Download the What the Future: Sports issue

How or will we engage with sports in the future?

It says something that a perennial sports underdog is opening a sportsbook. Yet that’s exactly…

What will it mean to watch sports in the future?

It’s frustrating to be a sports fan these days. Teams, leagues and networks are all…

How can brands help solve the chicken/egg dilemma in women’s sports coverage?

It has been nearly 50 years since Title IX laws granted women equal opportunities in…

What is the smart bet for how gambling will impact fan engagement?

Laila Mintas is the CEO of PlayUp USA, a global online sports betting and fantasy…

How are the futures of fantasy sports and betting linked?

Fantasy sports have been around for ages in various formats and are entering a new…

How will esports impact traditional sports fandom and marketing?

When Jason Lake left the law business in 2003 to form a professional competitive gaming…

Are consumers ready to embrace esports stars as endorsers?

Celebrity endorsements continue to be a go-to strategy for brands, despite mixed results. As brands…

How will the blockchain shape sports fandom?

Who knew a blockchain game to breed and collect digital cats would shape the future…

How will digital collectibles factor into Affluent sports collections?

Look at any sports collector’s “fan cave,” and you’ll likely see trading card albums, autographed…

America’s education system faces multiple changes that will impact how it prepares the workforce of tomorrow. The skills that workers need are rapidly evolving. The technology to teach those skills is advancing exponentially. How and where they will converge is the focus of this Education issue of What the Future where Ipsos asks, how do we ensure that we’re aligning education for the future workforce?

Download the What the Future: Education issue

How will we educate our future workforce?

Where did you go to school? It’s a pretty common question in the business world…

Will employers embrace nontraditional credentials?

Lisa Gevelber is chief marketing officer, Americas Region at Google and the founder of Grow…

Did the pandemic boost credibility for e-learning?

The pandemic has shifted how we acquire new skills from kindergarten to graduate and continuing…

Do you need college to learn the most sought-after skill?

Rita J. King is the co-founder of Science House, a future-focused consultancy in New York…

What would free college change?

Higher education can be one of the largest expenses in a person’s life. Many young…

Did education lose a decade or gain a new path forward?

When Steven Wolfe Pereira talks about his ed tech company, Encantos, it’s easy for his…

Can the classroom transcend our partisan times?

Virtually all Americans support the importance of education and believe that schools set up students…

How should we fund and evolve the supply chain of the future workforce?

As vice president of education programs at the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference…

How can employers support an equitable employment recovery?

In the workforce, women and people of color were disproportionately impacted during the pandemic. Partially…

As American workplaces reopen, two patterns will emerge: more traffic and an upheaval in our routines. These changes will profoundly affect where and how people live, their sleep patterns, apparel, grooming, meals and snacks, and how they get around. In this Commuting issue of What the Future Ipsos asks how will hybrid work impact our commuting life?

Download the What the Future: Commuting issue

Do we really want flex in the city?

Two major themes emerge in this issue. First, it is undeniable that our future is…

Will people change cars if they commute less?

Dustin Krause’s automotive career has been focused on the future of vehicles. He started with…

Is safety the way to pitch autonomous vehicles?

Despite continuous advances in autonomous technology, American drivers still need more safety evidence to embrace…

Did the pandemic doom mass transit?

While we only have a handful of cities in the U.S. with major mass-transit systems,…

What will your brand’s role be in the new morning commute?

For workers returning to some pattern of the morning commute, the new routine will bring…

Will hybrid commuting models change how people use public transportation?

Commuting in the pandemic for many meant ditching public transportation for driving or other modes,…

How can grocery brands make the hybrid evening commute simpler?

As workers adapt to new hybrid commuting models, they’ll need to manage a split schedule…

Can a little hybrid go a long way to changing our commutes?

Most commuting happens not to downtown, but to and among our suburbs, where most of…

How will urban and suburban workers reenter the commute?

Employees who commuted to urban areas, within urban areas or to and within suburbs have…

Americans’ dependence on screens is growing. In 2019, pervasive media was a theory. Today, multiple screens mediate nearly all aspects of our lives. We’re not going back, we’re pushing forward, into the metaverse. In this new reality, creators, platforms, companies, brands and even our cars compete for the audience’s attention. For this Entertainment issue of What the Future, Ipsos asks how can brands engage audiences where they’re headed?

Download the What the Future: Entertainment issue

How will we entertain ourselves in the future?

MTV turns 40 this year. Give or take, half of Americans have only lived in…

How will technology shape entertainment content?

New and emerging technologies have dramatically changed how people access and consume entertainment. Ted Schilowitz…

Will better representation on TV drive more viewers in mainstream content?

The protests in the latter half of 2020 stirred a renewed relevance about the lack…

Who will control the future of entertainment content and marketing?

Entertainment talent and creators are increasingly writing their own tickets to fame or building their…

How can brands convert scrollers into shoppers in the Golden Age of social buying?

Digital buying, and more specifically, social buying, accelerated in the upheaval of 2020. With America…

What are the limits of virtual today and tomorrow?

Dave Meeker is an old friend of mine. The polite thing is to say our…

How can brands put virtual measurement in a real-world context?

In a typical year, half of adults attend a visual or performing arts activity at…

Will the metaverse be the next Madison & Vine?

Entertainment and commerce have always gone hand-in-hand in the real world. So why wouldn’t they…

How will we research in virtual spaces?

Imagine a world where information, social connection and purchases are not constrained by physical location.…

What happens to the future of vacations if business travel shrinks for the long term? Americans are eager to escape their pandemic cocoons. Yet leisure travel today depends heavily on the business travel infrastructure, which has an outsize economic impact. In this What the Future: Vacation issue, we’ll explore how the changing dynamics of business travel, hotel stays, the points economy, and virtual technologies will shape our future getaways.

Download the What the Future: Vacation issue

Vacation: All I ever wanted?

While Dolly Parton might be getting a ton of much-deserved love lately, I’ve had her…

How will our hotel stays change?

Being the biggest hotel company in the world would be considered a strength, except in…

How to get business travelers back on the road

There are two sides to the business travel incentive coin: incentives and rewards. On the…

Can vacation travel survive without business travel?

Roger Dow is CEO and president of the U.S. Travel Association, which represents the entirety…

How to be ready for the Big Reset in travel

While 2020 was very much a year of survival, there are several things travel- and…

How will the post-pandemic points economy impact the dream vacation?

Brian Kelly built a hobby of collecting travel loyalty points into a blog and then…

Will luxury travel conquer its race issue?

As Americans look forward to a post-COVID-19 world, travel will be a top priority. African…

Will virtual travel play a bigger role in our future vacations?

As director of visuals and immersive experiences at National Geographic, Whitney Johnson oversees all forms…

How brand partnerships can make virtual vacations more real

The coronavirus pandemic continues to keep the prospect of a vacation remote for many. For…

In the disruption of 2020, the trends toward online and omnichannel shopping didn’t just accelerate. They jumped years. As people look forward to returning to stores, they won’t abandon their new ways to buy and pay for goods and services; they’ll expect even more from retailers. Read the What the Future Buying issue to find out what’s coming next in the move from physical to online to virtual shopping.

Download the What the Future: Buying issue

Will we buy better in the future?

There has never been a period of disruption to the ways in which we buy…

Will a seamless shopping experience everywhere help people buy more?

As senior vice president of strategy and analytics at DICK’S Sporting Goods, Steve Miller oversees…

How do you mystery shop an omnichannel world?

The past year has changed the way we shop and raised our expectations for the…

How will new ways to pay change how we shop?

Lisa Ellis is one of the top-ranked and most-respected Wall Street analysts covering payments, processors…

What brands and retailers need to know about ‘buy now, pay later’

Payments analyst Lisa Ellis sees “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) financing as a niche, but…

Will the metaverse make shopping better?

If people ever needed virtual ways to shop, it’s now. That’s kept tech futurist Cathy…

Why it’s time for brands to go all-in on augmented and virtual realities

The promise of augmented and virtual reality as development and marketing tools for brands and…

What purpose do brands serve?

2020 put the topic of brand purpose front and center. Afdhel Aziz is co-author of…

Do people really care about purpose at the point of purchase?

If 2020 has taught brands anything, it’s that they must play an active role in…

This issue of What the Future is a homecoming of sorts as our inaugural 2017 issue also focused on housing. While the patterns of how and where we live have barely changed, Americans have new expectations for home. This year’s Housing issue explores whether and how these shifts will stick, with Ipsos research to guide brands and retailers to help people get more out their homes.

Download the What the Future: Housing issue

Will the pandemic really change how we live?

The last 12 months have been a year unlike any other. You might even believe…

Can our homes support our newly flexible needs?

When we interviewed Mary Lunghi, country consumer and customer insights manager at IKEA, for the…

How our changing home life is changing how we buy and store pantry items

The acquisition and storage of food and household goods has been a roller-coaster ride for…

Will the pandemic permanently shift where we live?

Bill Frey of the Brookings Institution is arguably the leading demographer in the U.S. Since…

Why home financing needs innovation beyond the pricing game

All things financial are getting faster, digital and almost invisible. The friction between shopping for…

Will we ever go back to our offices?

Before he joined the job-listing site Indeed as chief economist, Jed Kolko held a similar…

Has the commute finally changed?

In a November survey, half of full-time workers in America reported working from home more…

Has the pandemic expanded our definition of home?

The hearth, that gathering spot of coziness and community, is increasingly moving outside since the…

How brands can help people make the most of their home sanctuary

COVID-19 has amplified the role of the home as a sanctuary. We are spending exponentially…

As market researchers, we attempt to understand the similarities and differences in people’s attitudes and behaviors. This issue of What the Future is about one main division: party identification, that is, whether we are red or blue. Ipsos research will help navigate this complex political atmosphere, share insights on the future of democracy and what citizens and companies can do to keep it together.

Download the What the Future: Democracy issue

[PODCAST] What the Future: Democracy

[PODCAST] What the Future: Democracy Host: Matt Carmichael, editor of What the Future and vice…

Can democracy create a more perfect union?

Market researchers study the world through division. We and our clients want to know what…

Can we fix politics?

Katherine Gehl, like so many, thinks politics is broken. Unlike most, the founder of the…

Is Party ID the only ID?

More than 15 years ago, journalist Bill Bishop made the case that Americans are physically…

Is there a role for brands in supporting democracy?

Natalie Tran’s role as co-founder of the Civic Alliance grew from her job as executive…

How companies and brands can safely support democracy in action

With the 2020 U.S. presidential election behind us, the lingering question is how much damage…

How can we make democracy work for all Americans?

Eddie Glaude, professor and chair of African American Studies at Princeton University, is one of…

What we agree on in America’s path forward

Do Republicans and Democrats agree on anything these days? Against the backdrop of a presidential…

Can media still cover politics without being political?

Bob Garfield’s career contains multitudes. He’s written books, he hosts public radio’s “On the Media,”…

Each American produces nearly ton of trash per year. Ipsos research finds that consumers want to waste less and want brands to help them. In this issue of What the Future, expert interviews backed by fresh data and research, explore how consumers want brands to innovate and lead to a more sustainable tomorrow.

Download the What the Future: Waste issue

[PODCAST] What the Future: Waste

December 11, 2020 10amPT/1pmET (Duration = 25 Minutes) Each American produces almost a ton of…

Will we waste the chance to cut down our consumption?

The average American produces almost a ton of waste each year, making the U.S. the…

Must brands lead the way to a more sustainable world?

As the chief sustainability officer for a global consumer products company, Colgate-Palmolive Company’s Ann Tracy…

Where brands should focus for sustainability

Sustainability is vital for the long-term health of businesses. Consumers expect brands to play a…

Can we guilt our way into wasting less food?

Kris Malkoski joined Newell Brands in February 2020 as CEO to lead its Food Business…

Eight ways brands are redirecting COVID-19 waste awareness to boost sustainability

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, people traded their concerns about packaging waste for…

How do we power our existence without powering ourselves out of existence?

To Argonne National Laboratory scientist Venkat Srinivasan, batteries are the single-most important technological revolution of…

How to gauge effective messages for electric vehicle shoppers

Most people agree climate change is the result of human activity, and that they need…

Can we waste less stuff by wasting less time?

One thing people hate to waste is time. That’s a foundation of what has come…

There’s a prevalent narrative that trust and truth are dead. In this issue of What the Future, Ipsos research finds truth and trust to be alive, important, and more valued than ever. Using exclusive new Ipsos data and research, coupled with expert interviews, we set the scene with the state of truth and how that plays out in the news media and for brands.

Download the What the Future: Truth issue

news trust
People globally seek news they trust but have a blind spot with disinformation

Most adults around the world look to get their news from sources they trust. Yet,…

The truth about shared truth

There’s a prevalent narrative that trust and truth are dead. Some even call this the…

Where do you fight for the truth?

Rachel Botsman is the author of “Who Can You Trust? How Technology Brought Us Together…

Brands need not fear sharing ad space with political ads

This election season will bring an estimated $4.4 billion in spending on 8 million ad…

How should brands protect their truth?

Shiv Singh has been a top digital marketer for more than two decades, including for…

Can we protect truth from disinformation?

Among her roles at the nonprofit think tank Rand Corporation, Jennifer Kavanagh studies disinformation and…

Why we are susceptible to disinformation

Do populist or nativist sentiments impact the spread of fake news? That was one of…

How brands can move beyond purpose and become trusted news sources

In this complex news landscape, brands have an opportunity to maintain and even earn more…

Who can you trust if you don’t trust the news?

Several years ago, Sally Lehrman realized that she and her journalism colleagues had been bemoaning…

Would you ever use a virtual currency? A few months ago, you might have said no or thought that was far into the future. But in this issue of What the Future, one clear arc emerges. Currencies might not always be controlled by central, national banks. People who have historically been disenfranchised by traditional financial services can use new digital experiences. And finally, a true sharing economy could emerge. Ipsos combines insights from its research and surveys – including an exclusive global poll– to help brands and media understand our evolving relationship with money.

Download the WTF Money issue

Money (That’s what we’ll want.)

Would you ever use a virtual currency? A few months ago, you might have said…

Will cryptocurrencies change how people shop?

While cryptocurrency has been around for more than 20 years, few places in North America…

Painless payments aren’t without downsides

Paying hurts, both literally and figuratively. But as technology makes the process of payments and…

Would quantum computing break bitcoin or make it ubiquitous?

Some cryptocurrencies take immense computing power and complex mathematical problems to create and exchange them.…

Four ways to make cryptocurrency more user-friendly

A journalism startup called Civil tried a new way to finance the future: issuing crypto…

How will people participate in an increasingly digital financial world?

Professor Lisa Servon wanted to research Americans who don’t use or have access to the…

Will our current circumstances increase financial citizenship?

A tale of two markets suggests clues for increasing financial inclusion in the U.S. In…

What should the sharing economy of the future have in common with the Medieval Commons?

Douglas Rushkoff is one of the most interesting writers of the last couple of decades.…

How financial services can evolve for gig workers

According to the IRS, the share of workers earning at least part of their income…

WTF Pandemic

What does the COVID-19 crisis mean for industries? We created three vignettes of possible futures as a narrative exploration of how events could unfold. We are asking experts in different sectors to react and send us some virtual postcards about how their industries might react if we steer toward the hopeful timeline, fall into the woeful timeline or wind up somewhere in between. Their thoughts coupled with original, timely data are included here.

Download WTF Pandemic issues:
Travel and Hospitality
Financial Services


In This Issue »

Watch: How people will travel through the pandemic

“This is going to be the next six months to a year of domestic travel;…

Ipsos What the Future Pandemic
Watch: The transportation trends experts say COVID-19 will accelerate

The micromobility trend being driven by COVID-19 will lead to greater investment in autonomous vehicles…

Ipsos What the Future Pandemic
Watch: Why the future of finance is digital post-COVID-19

Financial services are facing seismic changes in the wake of COVID-19. For one, up until…

Postcards from the hopeful coronavirus future: How it could play out in the food industry

Vignette one drives our most hopeful future. Experts from various sectors of the food industry responded with their visions for a best-case recovery.

Postcards from the mixed coronavirus future: How it could affect the food industry

In the second vignette, infection spikes lead communities to slow or reverse reopening plans, further…

Postcards from the woeful coronavirus future: How it could affect the food industry

Our third vignette outlines a revolution that could shake up the food industry. Our experts…

Editor’s Note: Is food culture as we know it over?

In 2018, What the Future asked Americans if they wished their families had more time…

Postcards from the hopeful coronavirus future: How it could play out in the media industry

Vignette one drives our most hopeful future. Experts from various sectors of the media industry responded with their visions for a best-case recovery.

Disintegrating image of birds-eye view of multifamily housing showing different households using entertainment media.
Postcards from the mixed coronavirus future: How it could affect the media industry

For vignette two, businesses try to reopen but virus spikes hamper content producers in resuming…

Postcards from the woeful coronavirus future: How it could affect the media industry

In the third vignette, the future of media is grim. If live production is shuttered,…

Postcards from the hopeful coronavirus future: How it could play out in the travel industry

Vignette one drives our most hopeful future. Experts from various sectors of the travel industry responded with their visions for a best-case recovery.

Postcards from the mixed coronavirus future: How it could affect the travel industry

For vignette two, the urge for meetings and travel is hampered by virus flareups and…

Postcards from the woeful coronavirus future: How it could affect the travel industry

In vignette three, the future of travel is scary. If we can’t work toward common…

A hopeful vision for our coronavirus future: Fast intervention and smart investing

We created three vignettes of potential futures for our experts to react to. This is…

Postcards from the hopeful coronavirus future: How it could play out in the transportation industry

We created three vignettes of possible futures and asked experts from Ipsos and beyond to react: How will financial services react. Here’s their take on our best-case timeline:

A mixed vision for our coronavirus future: Uneven testing and reopening, fall lockdown, a slow road to recovery

This is the Goldilocks vignette — not too horrible, not too great. We get some…

A woeful vision for our coronavirus future: A depression, class warfare and a complete breakdown in our institutions

This third timeline is grim. Let’s not sugar-coat it. But it’s also avoidable. It takes…

Ipsos What the Future Pandemic
Editor’s Note: Are you ready to hit the road again?

Among the industries impacted by COVID-19, travel and hospitality have been hit especially hard. The…

Postcards from the mixed coronavirus future: How it could affect the transportation industry

In vignette two, we get some right, we get some wrong. Our experts weigh in…


For brands and media, the discussion about gender is evolving from representation to a more inclusive definition of expression. In Ipsos’ latest What the Future report, industry executives and thought leaders weigh in about how these changes will shape business in the coming years. For this edition, Ipsos surveyed more than 19,000 people around the world – and included a boosted sample of LGBTQ individuals – to understand global attitudes about gender today with an eye towards the future. There’s a handy glossary to get you up to speed on evolving terminology.

Download WTF: Gender
In This Issue »

WTF Gender Edition Cover

The Global View: Will my country be gendered in the future?

Ipsos asked more than 20,000 adults from around the world if they think their nation will become more or less gendered in the future. Here’s what they said.

What does health care look like in a post-binary world?

Dr. Aletha Maybank, chief health equity officer for the American Medical Association, discusses how social factors and institutions that affect people’s health. How does gender play in?

What can brands learn from Playboy about talking to men?

Shane Michael Singh and a team of young Millennials are reinventing the Playboy brand and shifting the idea of a certain kind of masculinity along with it. But do men feel like they’re part of the gender conversation? He shares what he’s learned and offers lessons for other brands.

Does advertising have a responsibility to be inclusive?

As more precise targeting, programmatic media and digital advertising help advertisers reach people on an increasingly individual level at scale, it leads to an ethical question for advertisers and agencies. Pedr Howard, Ipsos senior vice president of Creative Excellence and Brand, explores how brands must weigh showing targeted creative that reinforces stereotypes they already believe, versus showing a “real world” that is more diverse than many actually see every day.

Will social structures evolve to support the changing role of men?

With nearly three-fourths of moms employed, dads are spending considerably more time being dads than they used to. That’s leading to high levels of stress for men (and of course women, too). But as media depictions of dads on screen become more nurturing, involved and empathetic and less bumbling, brands have an opportunity to show how their products and services can support those relationships.

On the Fringe with Amy Webb – Gender

The future might not be female. Or male, for that matter. New technology and science breakthroughs are starting to blur the lines between gender and identity. What the Future asked quantitative futurist Amy Webb to give us some ideas of things to watch.

Gender means more than you think it does

The conversation around gender is shifting. No longer is it just about traditional gender roles. Now, it’s about the role of gender itself. No longer is it just about two genders. Now, it’s about the unbundling of sex and gender and identity and the spectrum of gender identities. Let’s unpack what this means for your business and marketing.

Could removing gender cues in marketing change what toys kids want?

Author and professor Christia Brown considers the role of media and retail in shaping gender norms. Does advertising play too big of a role in shaping how kids view gender?

Is the future gendered?

Wieden & Kennedy creative director Azsa West takes us through her process of thinking about shifting ideas of gender with her clients.

Can transgender visibility improve equality?

Sarah McBride, national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, and candidate for Delaware state Senate believes that simply knowing transgender people is a step toward equality. But how many Americans do?

Glossary of gender terms

Binary? Cis? Fluid? This glossary of gender terms, reprinted from the Williams Institute, will get you up to speed with gender terminology.

How we research a changing gender landscape

As researchers we must ensure we are accurately and inclusively representing the full spectrum of the population. We owe it to our clients to present an accurate picture of customers and consumers. Here’s how we’re addressing gender in our research.

Can gender-free shopping be scaled?

Rob Smith, founder and CEO of The Phluid Project in New York has set a new bar for gender-free retail. Can other retailers and brands adopt his strategies at scale?

Is the media capable of representing gender equality?

Shelley Zalis, founder and CEO of The Female Quotient, is seeing more women behind the camera for TV, films and advertising. But will that lead to more accurate and even representation in creative?

Could giving men more parental benefits help women gain equality at work faster?

From a record number of women elected to Congress, to movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, to declaring 2018 another “Year of the Woman,” America is in the midst of a new era of feminist activism and change.

Advertising needs to work on better reflecting people

If advertising is a mirror on society, then most people of the world don’t recognize themselves.


Our latest What the Future report explores several market forces creating seismic shifts in the cosmetics and personal care industries. Ipsos surveyed some 19,000 people around the world to mine their attitudes on these changes and spoke to top industry executives about what these insights mean for the future

Download WTF: Beauty
In This Issue »

WTF Beauty Edition Cover

WTF Live Beauty Event
What The Future event highlights complex portrait of beauty

Ipsos surprised beauty executives with a runway show at its recent What The Future event…

What makes you beautiful
What makes you most beautiful?

Physical attributes like facial appearance, body weight and shape, and sexiness come much lower in the rankings of a recent Ipsos Global Advisor survey across 27 countries.

A complicated portrait of beauty

The world is an incredibly diverse place, so the notion of one idealized sense of beauty seems antiquated. That is especially true for younger generations, who are increasingly of mixed race, mixed culture and accepting of fluid genders, and see these things as non-issues. It’s just the olds who are having a hard time adapting.

Are natural and clean beauty products scalable?

Alex Keith has concerns that many start-up and boutique beauty brands don’t.

How will Pan-Asian beauty culture shape ours?

There is a fair amount of historical evidence that suggests growing grains to produce beer is the reason humans morphed from hunter-gatherers to an agriculture-based society. Yet in the past 20 to 30 years, there’s been an incredible efflorescence. What does innovation look like in an industry that is as old as civilization itself?

What do boy bands have to do with beauty?

The social media conversation around Korean beauty (K-beauty) spiked in April. It had nothing to do with a new snail treatment.

Is Korean skin care the future of beauty?
August 26, 2019 Is Korean skin care the future of beauty? Alicia Yoon // WTF…
Can beauty truly be inclusive?

Anastasia Garcia creates images featuring women across the spectrum of shapes, sizes, races, ages and abilities. Her work has been featured for brands including Chromat, Amazon and Lane Bryant and in the documentary “Straight/Curve” about the body image crisis in fashion. When she thinks What the Future, she asks, “What if we eliminated beauty standards?”

Are you feeling included in beauty inclusivity?

Ipsos conducted a survey for RiverMend Health that shows that many of us are not. When asked about situations in which we feel “dissatisfied” with our bodies, only one in five reports always feeling satisfied. In contrast, nearly twice as many people —and more than twice as many women— report feeling dissatisfied when they look in the mirror.

Who influences the influencers?

Beauty routines develop over time. Women experiment with new skin care and makeup products that meet their needs, but in order for a product to be used regularly, it must also fit with morning and evening beauty routines.

What does beauty look like in your country?

So beauty for beauty’s sake is a thing in nature, yet science also tells us that there are certain biologically-driven standards. Facial symmetry, for example, is something humans are wired to find attractive. And so, in an Ipsos Global Advisor poll, we see remarkable consistency in physical definitions of beauty across nations and cultures.

Is the future of beauty in serving unmet needs?

Back in the day, Tristan Walker was a Silicon Valley wunderkind. He was still working on his Stanford MBA when he joined then-red-hot startup Foursquare as director of business development.

Affluent Millennial men and the grooming paradox

Grooming has long been the domain of women. But as social mores evolve, affluent (household income $125,000+) Millennial men are making inroads into this formerly forbidden territory in ways their fathers couldn’t have imagined. Yet, while these men care as much about their appearance as women their age, old-fashioned attitudes about masculinity are creating tensions that brands and retailers should recognize—and resolve.

Are we ready for more functional beauty?

Katia Vega has an unusual specialty in her research. She adds technology to everyday beauty products to give people “superpowers.” When she thinks What the Future, she’s wondering if we’re ready for all the cool stuff she’s working on. WTF: How would you describe what you do?

Will technology enable a broader range of looks for beauty shoppers?

There is a fair amount of historical evidence that suggests growing grains to produce beer is the reason humans morphed from hunter-gatherers to an agriculture-based society. Yet in the past 20 to 30 years, there’s been an incredible efflorescence. What does innovation look like in an industry that is as old as civilization itself?

If beauty is art, how do we fund more of it?

Her rapt community of followers on the Patreon crowd-funding platform (15,000 strong, each pledging about $3 per month, she says) support her financially and emotionally. The emotional part isn’t a one-way street. When she asks What the Future, she is thinking about the role of art in beauty and the rapidly changing relationship between the artist and arts funding.


What even is a vice anymore? This issue of WTF, backed by a global survey, explores the changing morality of “vices.” Will consumer interest be enough to fuel the projected growth in industries like cannabis?

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What changes as cannabis becomes legal in more places?

William Weld is the former governor of Massachusetts, the 2016 vice presidential nominee on the libertarian ticket and a potential GOP presidential candidate.

Why wouldn’t people use cannabis?

Bruce Linton doesn’t understand people who use gummies in Canada. Edibles are unregulated, illegal or both, so dosages can be a mystery. “It’s like, ‘Hey buddy, just eat this, and it may or may not completely [mess] you up for somewhere between zero minutes and four hours.’ You wouldn’t do that!”

He likens using gummies to buying street meats—you never know if you’ll get a good meal, or botulism.

Will a new ‘vice’ disrupt one of the oldest?

The legalization of cannabis in Canada is showing that throwing open the doors doesn’t mean there will be a sudden stampede to get in. Ipsos’ Alcohol Consumption Tracker (ACT) and Cannabis Consumption Tracker (CCT) studies show that attitudes and behaviors regarding cannabis are slow to shift after legalization.

Can cannabis dining make Americans just say yes?

Andrea Drummer is one of America’s leading chefs who cook with cannabis. The founder of a catering business in Los Angeles called Elevation VIP Cooperative, Drummer will soon open one of the nation’s first legalized cannabis consumption lounges.

When Drummer thinks What the Future, she wonders what it will take for people to re-evaluate the negative bias against cannabis and embrace it as a food ingredient.

Will the term “authentic” still have meaning for wine and spirits?

For many drinkers, well-aged wine and spirits are the height of pleasure for their quality and smoothness. Now, entrepreneurs are using innovative technologies to speed up time-honored aging methods to mimic the qualities of beverages aged several years.

The Millennial-ization of premium spirits

Millennials are driving change in every category, and alcohol/ spirits is no exception. And the differences in their behaviors and preferences suggest big changes for the future of luxury and premium spirits marketing.

What does innovation look like in an age-old industry

There is a fair amount of historical evidence that suggests growing grains to produce beer is the reason humans morphed from hunter-gatherers to an agriculture-based society. Yet in the past 20 to 30 years, there’s been an incredible efflorescence. What does innovation look like in an industry that is as old as civilization itself?

What is the global view of vice over the next decade?
What is the global view of “vice” over the next decade

Many see an increase in usage. (Global results shown)

Will CBD be cannabis’ biggest high?

The popularity of and public interest in CBD has spurred significant innovation and product development efforts across an eclectic grouping of product categories. From bath bombs to pet food – everyone wants a piece of the pie. While there is an inevitable learning curve for consumers, since certain forms are still illegal in many states, there is already marked consumer interest in these products.

What are the odds that sports wagers will be bigger business

Sports betting, traditionally a Las Vegas-controlled industry, is inching closer to being legal, one state at a time. Jay Kornegay, who already runs the largest sports wagering facility in the world, Westgate SuperBook, is thinking about expansion.

When he thinks What the Future, he wonders what people are willing to bet on, and how mobile will impact that. There’s a lot of blue sky in betting – as long as people get over the stigma and misconceptions. Here’s what has him feeling optimistic.


Over the past year, we have talked about the trends impacting changes to three of the top areas of consumer spending: housing, transportation and health care. This issue is focused on a fourth key sector: food. Specifically, we have conversations with the difference-makers about how our food gets to us, where that food comes from today and will come from tomorrow. The answers to these seemingly straightforward questions are in a surprising amount of flux.

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WTF: Food Edition Cover


What's for dinner
What’s for dinner?

It’s about as fundamental a question as you’ll find in most people’s day-to-day lives.

Editor's note
Editor’s Note: Changing definitions in the future of food

Over the past year, we have talked about the trends impacting changes to three of the top areas of consumer spending: housing, transportation and health care.

Will delivery change our fast food culture?

Kempczinski wonders what will happen if quick service restaurants are disrupted by delivery the way Amazon has changed other industries. If consumers embrace quick service restaurant delivery as they have for books and furniture, that could redefine how convenience fits into our food culture.

Cooking? It’s about more than convenience

More than half of home cooks think their dinner routines could improve. Yet consumers are reluctant to add these options to their dinner planning. Today, just one in 10 of these consumers is planning to use a meal kit in the next three months. So how can emerging alternatives play a bigger role with dinner?

Who needs restaurants?

Luke Saunders and his company, Farmer’s Fridge, are bringing consumers meals they’re used to—fresh salads, wraps and more—by using a device they’re not expecting.

How will our food preparations change?

These are big questions with broad implications. Ipsos asked people to predict the short-term future to see how things might change for themselves.

Could better packaging help save our planet?

Packaging plays a critical role in selling, transporting, storing and protecting our food. But too much packaging (including recyclables) is still ending up in landfills where it can take hundreds of years to break down.

How packaging can balance being green and making green

The plastic drinking straw has become a symbol of society’s growing concern over packaging convenience at the expense of our planet’s health. Already, four in 10 consumers report they have started using fewer plastic straws due to recent attention on the issue, according to a recent Ipsos/Buzzfeed poll. Nearly half of those polled support local governments banning their use.

The global view: Few truly upbeat about the future of food

The global view: Few truly upbeat about the future of food

What is the future of sweet?

Around the globe, people are becoming more aware of their sugar intake. When Robert Long, senior vice president and chief innovation officer of The Coca-Cola Company asks What the Future, he is thinking about how to create new drinks to meet changing consumer tastes.

Summer 2018 – Health

This is the third issue in our What the Future series looking at the big trends in the four largest consumer spending categories. Each report features exclusive new research from Ipsos, including global surveys and deeper dives in the U.S. and Canada; interviews with experts with a wide range of perspectives on the topic; and insights from Ipsos thought leaders.

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WTF Health Summer 2018 Cover


Editors Note: WTF Health
Editor’s Note: Let’s talk about caregiving burden, in practice, not in theory.

This is the third issue in our What the Future series looking at the big trends in the four largest consumer spending categories. Each report features exclusive new research from Ipsos, including global surveys and deeper dives in the U.S. and Canada; interviews with experts with a wide range of perspectives on the topic; and insights from Ipsos thought leaders.

Some (not all) nations upbeat about their future health
Some (not all) nations upbeat about their future health

Traditional sources are still the leading trust brokers, but online information is catching up.

Are we prioritizing what we need to for a healthy future?
Are we prioritizing what we need to for a healthy future?

As an epidemiologist, Dr. Sandro Galea is always concerned with the aspects of our lives and environments that determine our health as individuals and society.

Can technology make the patient experience more human?
Can technology make the patient experience more human?

Three years ago, Zoë Keating lost her husband to an aggressive form of non-smoker lung cancer. At the time, she lived in a rural area outside of Santa Rosa, California, and was independently insured. She had to balance her career as a composer and cellist and her dual roles as mother to a young child and spouse to the patient.

Do people understand hospital ratings?

Zoë Keating asked if patients have ample opportunity to provide feedback to the healthcare system.

Today’s cost realities shape tomorrow’s fears
Today’s cost realities shape tomorrow’s fears
Today's cost realities shape tomorrow's fear Janine Beekman is an associate research scientist in Ipsos’…
Will caregivers embrace the technology they need?
Will caregivers embrace the technology they need?

For a Millennial, Arielle Burstein spends a lot of time thinking about aging. She works with businesses to understand how demography will change how they design products and services and manage their workforce.

Will people trust AIs when they need to?
How can AIs get you get more time with your human doctor?

Dr. Joe Kvedar is doing the math and looking at trends. With a long career in connected health, he is eager for artificial intelligence technologies to take hold. Not for the sake of new and shiny things, but because he hopes they can bridge the gap between our growing need for care and the dwindling number of caregivers.

Who connects us to connected health?
Who connects us to connected health?

Millions of people increasingly use digital technologies to track their health, not their diseases. Connected devices monitor their workouts, diets, heart rates and sleep. The subsequent exponential rise of health data is transforming healthcare, much as data and analytics are disrupting most industries.

Woman Looking at Smart Watch
Can wearable or ingestible sensors tell us more about being human

With our run-trackers, step-counters and smart-watches, bracelets, rings and most of all our phones we are collecting more data about our health than ever.

Spring 2018 – Mobility

To get at the human side of transportation, we asked a series of smart people in the space about the Big Questions they’re asking themselves when they think about the near-ish future. Then Ipsos asked those questions of more than 3,000 people in the U.S. and Canada and thousands more around the globe to get at the answers.

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What the Future Spring 2018


Is being behind the wheel behind the times?

Autonomous vehicles are coming. In fact, to an increasing extent they are already here.

What the future - mobility
Editor’s Note

To get at the human side of transportation, we asked several smart people in the space about the Big Questions they’re asking themselves when they think about the near-ish future. Then Ipsos asked those questions of more than 3,000 people in the U.S. and Canada and thousands more around the globe to get at the answers.

Ready to let go of the wheel?

Percentage of respondents agreeing with the statement: “I am in favor of self-driving cars and I can’t wait to use them.”

Will a driverless future be heaven or hell
Will a driverless future be heaven or hell?

Driverless cars could make our lives better – or worse. The better we plan for their impact, the more we improve our prospects. But are we on the right track now?

Car culture war
Are we headed for a car-culture war?

Futurists and technologists promote a vision of the autonomous future that is shiny and bright.

What will Autonomous vehicles replace?
What exactly will Autonomous Vehicles Replace?

Peugeot isn’t coming back with a huge network of dealers and a full line of cars. It’s coming back as a “mobility partner” starting with an app called Free2Move that lets users access multiple ride-sharing, car-sharing and even bike-sharing providers in one place. It’s live in 10 countries, up and running in Seattle and expanding deeper into the U.S. this year. Actual car sales will follow. But as ownership models shift, Peugeot is in an unusual position for a legacy car manufacturer. When Dominique thinks What the Future, he’s wondering what it will take to get people to give up owning a car.

How can virtual reality help us prepare for potential realities
How can virtual reality help us prepare for potential realities?

As you sit in traffic today, you’re surrounded by other cars, trucks, vans and buses all with one thing in common: They have drivers. Now take those drivers away. It’s one thing to daydream about an autonomous future.

If you built it cheaply - will they come?
If you build it cheaply, will they come?

Matt Sweeney was one of the first employees at Uber’s Advanced Technology Center and helped build the company’s autonomous division, which now numbers in the thousands of employees. It’s fair to  say he’s been watching this space closely and given it more thought than most. When he asks What the Future, he’s wondering when autonomous vehicles will take over, especially in ride-sharing. Specifically, how much of a factor will price be in that adoption?

Will we be overwhelmed by advertising in our autonomous cars?
Will we be overwhelmed by advertising in our cars?

Combining all the data that marketers already have on consumers with real-time location and automation would open up a new frontier for advertising. Do consumers want to live in that world?

Automated Vehicle time usage
Automated vehicle time usage

The average American spends 52 minutes a day commuting, mostly by driving a car by themselves.

Winter 2017 – Housing

Here’s the set-up. We asked five smart people with very different perspectives this question: “Looking five or 10 years into your crystal ball, what is something you’ll wish you had tracking data on?” Then Ipsos conducted a survey to see how those questions are answered now.

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Ipsos WTF Winter 2017 Edition Cover


Question: If someone moves into my city and moves up the socio-economic ladder, does local government play a role in that success?

About 12 percent of the global economy and half of the U.S. economy is driven by the 20 largest U.S. metro areas.

Editor’s note: Welcome to What the Future

Welcome to the first What the Future. We put together a lot of smart people and asked them to ask us big questions about housing. How will the future of this key sector impact your industry?

How will the future of housing impact your industry?

Ownership has been a central part of the American Dream and a driver and shaper of our nation’s history.

Question: Are resident incentives the key to solving affordable housing?

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, poses a novel solution to affordable housing and we run the numbers to see if it’s plausible. Hint: it is!

Question: Can incentives for individuals jumpstart our stagnant mobility rate?

Government incentives are often offered to companies to get them to relocate to a certain city. Companies move because to places they can find the right workers. So why not offer incentives to people to get them to move? Would it work?

Question: Will today’s high-end urban amenities become tomorrow’s status quo?

Richard Florida, one of the world’s leading urbanists, thinks there is a new urban crisis. How is it impacting Millennial housing choices?

Question: How will your house itself make your daily life easier?

Throughout this report we’ve talked about the macro-trends and the questions we should ask ourselves as we think about what comes next in housing.

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