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1 Ericsson  |  10 Hot Consumer Trends 2019


10 Hot Consumer
Trends 2030
The internet of senses

Ericsson ConsumerLab
December 2019
2 Ericsson  |  10 Hot Consumer Trends 2030

10 Hot Consumer Trends 2030

Welcome to the internet of the senses.

01. Your brain is the user interface

Fifty-nine percent of consumers believe that we will be able to see map
routes on VR glasses by simply thinking of a destination.

02. Sounds like me

Using a microphone, 67 percent believe they will be able to take on
anyone’s voice realistically enough to fool even family members.

03. Any flavor you want

Forty-four percent predict a device
for your mouth that digitally
enhances anything you eat,
so that food can taste
like your favorite treat.

04. Digital aroma

Around 6 in 10 expect to be able to digitally visit forests or the
countryside, including experiencing all the natural smells of those places.

05. Total touch

More than 6 in 10 expect smartphones with screens that convey the
shape and texture of the digital icons and buttons they’re pressing.
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06. Merged reality

VR game worlds are predicted by 7 in 10 to be indistinguishable from
physical reality by 2030.

07. Verified as real

“Fake news” could be finished – half of respondents say news reporting
services that feature extensive fact checks will be popular by 2030.

08. Post-privacy consumers

Half of respondents are “post-privacy consumers” – they expect privacy
issues to be fully resolved so they can safely reap the benefits of
a data-driven world.

09. Connected sustainability

Internet of senses-based services will make society more
environmentally sustainable, according to 6 in 10.

10. Sensational services

Forty-five percent of
consumers anticipate
digital malls allowing
them to use all five
senses when
4 Ericsson  |  10 Hot Consumer Trends 2030


Methodology About Ericsson Consumer & IndustryLab

04 Methodology This report presents insights based on Ericsson Consumer & IndustryLab delivers
Ericsson’s long-standing consumer world-class research and insights for
05 Welcome to the internet of senses
trends program, now in its ninth year. The innovation and sustainable business
06 Your brain is the user interface quantitative results referred to in the report development. We explore the future of
are based on an online survey of residents connectivity for consumers, industries
07 Sounds like me
in Bangkok, Delhi, Jakarta, Johannesburg, and sustainable society by using scientific
08 Any flavor you want London, Mexico City, Moscow, New York, methods to provide unique insights on
09 Digital aroma San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, markets and consumer trends.
Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney and Tokyo, Our knowledge is gained from global
10 Total touch carried out in October 2019. consumer and industry research programs,
11 Merged reality The sample consists of at least including collaborations with renowned
500 respondents from each city (12,590 industry organizations and world-leading
12 Verified as real respondents were contacted in total, out universities. Our research programs cover
13 Post-privacy consumers of whom 7,608 qualified), aged 15–69, interviews with over 100,000 individuals
who currently are either regular users of each year, in more than 40 countries –
14 Connected sustainability
augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) statistically representing the views of
15 Sensational services or virtual assistants, or who intend to use 1.1 billion people.
these technologies in the future.
Correspondingly, they represent only
46 million citizens out of 248 million All reports can be found at:
living in the metropolitan areas surveyed, www.ericsson.com/consumerlab
and this, in turn, is just a small fraction of
consumers globally. However, we believe
their early adopter profile makes them
important when exploring expectations on
technology for the next decade.
5 Ericsson  |  10 Hot Consumer Trends 2030

Welcome to the
internet of senses

Mind Smell Sight

Taste Touch Sound

You are sitting in your kitchen. As you think 5G – materializing dreams with Consumers expect an internet of senses
about having an Arabian Nights dinner the internet of senses This vision is not only based on expected
party, the room starts to change. Arabic Today, technology interacts primarily with technological advances, but also on
music plays softly, the plain kitchen tiles two senses – sight and sound. At Ericsson consumer research: urban early adopters
take on bright patterns and the smell Research, our vision is that advanced expect that we will be using all of our
of fragrant lamb stew hits your nostrils. technology will enable a full internet of senses online by 2030. Of those, 68 percent
You turn your gaze to the table, which is senses by 2025, and include the ability to want to use at least 1 of 6 conceptual
now covered with a rustic woven cotton digitally communicate thoughts by 2030. internet of senses applications we have
cloth, flowers, lit candles and exotically We live in a screen-based 4G world asked about, and 81 percent are open to
decorated plates which you touch where smartphones are integral to our the idea overall.
and rearrange. lives, but people aren’t expecting this Of those who want an internet
Avatars of your friends appear in to be the case for much longer. Half the of senses, 40 percent see immersive
the chairs, with calendar access so you world’s smartphone users predict that by entertainment as a main driver for this
simply think: “create invitation”. While the 2025 we will all be wearing lightweight, change; 33 percent think better online
calendars are populated, your table fills up fashionable AR glasses. Consumers also shopping will be key; and 31 percent think
with ingredients from a digital store letting predict wearables that can instantly this change will come about due to the
you check their freshness and taste-test translate languages, allow us to control our climate crisis. The big five tech companies
a new yogurt sauce. Since two guests are sound environment and experience smell, along with industry-specific companies are
vegetarian, you also taste a plant-based taste, textures and temperature digitally. expected to dominate and run roughly half
stew before placing your order. As consumers step further into this sensory of all internet of senses services by 2030.
digital world, they will require hyper-fast
connectivity, imperceptible edge computing-
based lag and advanced automation.
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Your brain is the user interface

Many predict that the lines between

“thinking” and “doing” will blur.

More than 2,000 years ago, Greek would display a map right before their eyes, using only thoughts, while 40 percent even
philosophers thought that each human and that they could search for routes simply believe they will have the ability to directly
was alone and could never truly know by thinking of the destination. share thoughts with their friends and loved
the existence of another. This isolation With these capabilities, many ones. Consumers have shown interest in
is simply part of the human condition other applications that are almost thought communication before: in our
– but maybe not for much longer. By unimaginable today suddenly become 2015 trend report, more than two-thirds
2030, technology is set to respond to our quite straightforward. Have you ever met believed this would be commonplace
thoughts, and even share them with others. someone who seemingly knows you, yet by 2020.
Think what that will mean; think, and that you cannot place them or even remember With this technology, the concepts
will mean. their name? This problem will be eliminated of integrity and privacy will take on new
Using the brain as an interface could by 2030 as, according to 54 percent meanings. For example, people don’t want
mean the end of keyboards, mouses, game of consumers, in response to thought advertisers to access their minds: well
controllers, and ultimately user interfaces requests, AR glasses will show them above 50 percent say data will be private
for any digital device. The user need only information about people they meet, such for any thought service concept we asked
think the commands, and they will happen. as their name or where they met before. about, with 7 in 10 saying that thought
Smartphones could even function without The implication is that our thoughts data for locking and unlocking their front
touch screens. will be fully accessible by technology. doors needs to be private.
This opens up new device categories Therefore, around half of all respondents Today, advertising revenue powers
with entirely new interaction paradigms. believe that by 2030 the ancient Greeks many, if not all, application categories.
Among those, the highest consumer will be proved wrong and our minds will So what will be the new business model
expectations are on AR glasses, with 6 in essentially be connected; they expect to in 2030? This is a subject in need of some
10 expecting that thinking “show map” have the ability to reply to short messages serious thought.
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Sounds like me

How we listen to, speak to and understand

each other is due a big digital upgrade.

Sounds are all around us,

from soothing melodies
we choose to play through our physical world other sensorial experiences. For example,
earphones to nuisance noises like the sounds totally real. For instance, you could change voices into sensations on
jangle of the subway train. By 2030, a room full of digital objects would produce your skin or the sound of the traffic around
consumers expect to be fully in control of fewer echoes compared to an empty room. you into colors.
not only what they hear but also of what It is believed by 6 in 10 that they will
others hear from them. Consumers will be able to hear the breath and footsteps

more actively shape their sound world of in-game characters, such as a Pokémon
and no longer be content with exposure to behind them, and locate it by those noises
unwanted ambient sounds. exactly like they would a real person or Around half expect to have
Going forward, people expect to be animal. Furthermore, half believe we will headbands that can transmit sound
even more in control of how their voices not even need earphones for these things directly to our brains.
come across in any language. More than at all; instead, a headband will transmit
7 in 10 expect to have earphones that sound directly to the mind.
automatically and flawlessly translate Being actively in control of what we
languages. With such earphones they
could call anyone in the world, in any
hear is positively perceived by many;
54 percent expect to have the ability to 54%
In crowded places such as buses,
language, and sound just like themselves. create a digital sound bubble, enabling
They could even choose to sound like them to hear only what they want, for 54 percent expect to be able to
create a digital sound bubble to
someone else; 67 percent believe they example while on a crowded bus. Social
block out unwanted noise.
will be able to take on anyone’s voice, media services are sometimes criticized for
with such realism they could even fool being echo chambers – but what will
family members. happen to communication when everyone
The ambience of sound will also make can create an actual echo chamber?
digital and physical experiences equally Maybe such potential isolation will be
natural. Thus, sounds are foreseen to broken when our hearing goes beyond its
become spatially embedded in such a natural limits. Almost half expect to be able
way that any digital object placed in the to use a headband that converts sounds to
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Any flavor you want

Our taste buds produce powerful, personal experiences,

and they are about to be digitalized.

Video data accounts for the most online 44 percent forecast the ability to enhance
traffic today. But seeing isn’t always such memories with digital taste going
believing – looks can deceive. That’s why,
as newcomers to the physical world, babies
forward – pictures from parties and holidays
will let you not only see what happened, but
More than 4 in 10 consumers expect
learn about an object by instinctively putting also savor the sweet and sour of it all. to be able to taste their memories in
it in their mouths. Until now, our online Food samples are usually popular among the future.
existence has not allowed us to practice customers in grocery stores so people can try
digital “mouthing”, but that is set to change. before they buy. Many accept a taster even if
Could you imagine putting a device in they’re not actually considering a purchase.
your mouth that digitally enhances the food More than 4 in 10 expect a revolution in
you eat, so that anything can taste exactly
how you want it to? By 2030, 44 percent
online shopping as we gain the ability to
digitally taste samples from the comfort of 38%
The ability to share what you taste
expect this to be possible. This could have big our own devices. Nearly as many believe
with your friends is predicted by
implications for our health and diets there will be TV cooking programs that allow
38 percent of consumers.
by enabling us to eat healthy foods, and you to experience the taste of the food on
yet have them taste like five star screen. In addition, 4 in 10 predict that this
restaurant cuisine. type of digital sensory information will be
Taste greatly informs the way we financed by advertising, indicating that
remember the past. Think back to your our taste reactions are not perceived to
childhood and you will almost certainly be as sensitive as many other kinds of
remember the taste of certain treats or home personal data.
cooking. Not surprisingly then,
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Digital aroma

Currently, smell is almost impossible to

convey digitally – but this is all expected to change.

More than half of the world’s population consumers are open for
already lives away from nature, and innovation in this field, with
continued urbanization drives have 47 percent expecting smell data
We may have all but lost our increased our need for natural experiences. to be available for companies to use
understanding of fragrances. For this reason, 6 in 10 expect to be able commercially. At least for now, many
Modern people use deodorant to to digitally visit forests or the countryside don’t see the need to keep their digital
conceal their body odors, and traffic and experience all the natural smells of smell private.
exhaust fumes in our bustling megacities those places. This is the most highly held Finally, this technology doesn’t have
make us numb to olfactory sensations. We expectation among the smell-related to cause a stink – we will be able to avoid
may even think of our noses just as a place concepts respondents were asked to rate, bad smells whenever we choose, with
to put our glasses, or as a reminder that we and it indicates a strong need for deeper more than half expecting a device that
have caught a cold. immersion than videos can offer. digitally transforms stinky smells into nice
In reality, smell is important; the The experience of watching any type fragrances in their noses. Almost half also
chemical language of scent is a physical of video would feel more immersive if you expect to be able to control how they smell
sensation that affects us directly and could smell the action. In 2030, 56 percent to others, using digital perfume
deeply. This is why, for example, car expect to be able to digitally savor all the and deodorants.
manufacturers make sure that their cars smells in films they watch. Although there
smell new, or why coffee shops are so have been attempts to incorporate scent
much more alluring than vacuum-packed during films as far back as the early 1960s,
coffee from the supermarket. their failure to gain popularity have likely
Typical online experiences don’t involve been due to a lack of effective technology
scent today; however, consumers are rather than of popular interest.
estimating our sense of smell to be a key Given our shallow acquaintance with
part of the internet by 2030. many of the world’s aromas, it also seems
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Total touch

Consumers are expecting that we’ll be able to touch

anything, anywhere, completely digitally.

digitally transfer the physical impact of live Why stop at the narrow borders set by
concert bass sounds to their chests. physical touch? We might even be able to
After years of swiping on smooth feel things beyond human senses;
glass surfaces, 63 percent also expect 59 percent foresee wearables that let us
smartphones with screens that convey the feel the oncoming weather, such as storms,
Anyone who has played Mario Kart can shape and texture of the digital icons and rain or heat waves. Literally, we may be
attest that a vibrating controller adds to buttons that they’re pressing. It would be able to touch the sky before long.
the experience. However, those who have great to feel the buttons and icons retract
tried the VR arcade version might agree it when force is applied.
takes everything up a level, with a mock-up
kart that shakes in sync with the game to
But the ability to feel digital textures
might go way beyond the confines of the 62%
More than 6 in 10 predict wristbands
create an impression of a moving vehicle. smartphone screen. In fact, 6 in 10 think
Digital touch is set to grow way beyond wristbands that stimulate the nerves that stimulate the nerves so you can
feel any digital object.
the rumble of your game controller or the so you can feel any digital object will be
haptic feedback of current VR systems. available by 2030. We could digitally feel
Going forward, people will think of digital anything, from something simple like a
touch as something affecting their whole ball to the skin of another person; the
body and not just their hands. applications of touch tech may be nearly
The most easy-to-imagine feature for limitless. In addition, 6 in 10 think such
consumers is the physical impact of sound, armbands will transmit the sense of weight
with 7 in 10 foreseeing earphones that can and motion, so that digital objects they
touch seem fully real.
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Merged reality

Many believe that our physical and virtual realities

will be interchangeable by 2030.

When the internet was introduced, it consumer traffic, visuals are likely to be believe holographic 3D displays for
divided the world into two – our physical at the forefront when our physical and everything from handheld devices to
existence, and its digital shadow. We digital perceptions eventually do merge billboards will be available by 2030.
call these halves “offline” and “online”, beyond the point of meaningful separation. Interestingly, those who foresee that
but in fact these words no longer carry The first such merged visual experience is we will experience merged reality by the
much distinct meaning, as most everyday projected by consumers to be in gaming: end of the decade are the ones who also
experiences are becoming a spaghetti-like more than 7 in 10 respondents believe VR see potential issues more astutely than
tangle of on- and offline activities. game worlds will look indistinguishable others. Alarmingly, 48 percent of them say
By 2030, half of respondents imagine from physical reality by 2030. that they often feel that they have already
the difference between physical and The physical and virtual realities will become slaves to technology, whereas only
digital reality will be almost completely merge from both directions. On the one 27 percent of other early adopters agree. It
gone. Interest in merged realities was hand, digital objects will become part may be almost as fun to play with a digital
highlighted in our 2017 consumer trends of physical reality; for example, 7 in 10 fire as with a real one but when digital
report, where we found that four in five AR foresee AR glasses that allow you to place turns real, it might burn you.
and VR users believed these technologies digital objects anywhere in such high
would be used as commonly as the internet quality that they look completely real.
within three years. While that may be true
for such users, these technologies have not
Meanwhile, physical reality will become as
transient as digital data, with 56 percent
Seeing through walls with AR
hit the mainstream as quickly as early expecting that AR glasses will let them see glasses will be possible, according
adopters predicted. through walls or even whole buildings. to 56 percent of consumers.
However, given that video currently However, glasses may not even be
accounts for the majority of online needed for merged reality; 68 percent
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Verified as real

When technology can mimic and manipulate our senses,

how will we know what is real and what is fake?

Half of consumers believe that by 2030 For instance, 4 in 10 see social networks technology. Half of the consumers surveyed
an internet of senses could advance to the with a no-bots-guarantee becoming think online shops featuring digital goods
point where physical and digital realities popular. As many as 43 percent foresee that are guaranteed not to have been
have for practical purposes merged into video calling services that only transmit tampered with in any way will be popular
one. When the digital world is perceived to unmodified, verified human faces. This by 2030. Consequently, almost as many
be as real as the physical world – what will trend is even more accentuated when it also see brands whose selling point is to
happen to our perception of real vs. fake? comes to dating services, where 46 percent provide goods and services with “verified
Today, a similar debate is centered see dating sites including only verified truth” becoming popular.
around fake news. By 2030 this could facts being popular in 2030. It will be
be a thing of the past, given that half of interesting to see if this will include upfront

respondents say news reporting services declarations of beauty surgeries such
that feature extensive fact checks will be as facelifts!
popular by then. In addition, 4 in 10 foresee Naturally this also translates into Exactly half of consumers think that
the rise in popularity of online photos that the world of physical goods. Today, for fake news will be a thing of the past
are guaranteed to be unedited. instance, customers buy fair trade and eco- by 2030.
In a world full of avatars, being verified label food to ensure that the production of
as human could be a real game changer, their goods is responsible and sustainable.
and perhaps form the foundation for Counterfeit goods are also mass-produced
exclusive social media platforms or services around the world today, a practice
ensuring genuine representation only. which could be counteracted with new
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Post-privacy consumers

In the data-driven future, consumers see regulation

and transparency as a means to resolving privacy issues.

Half of respondents in our study can be driver of the economy and productivity. everything we do will be possible to trace
classified as post-privacy consumers. On For instance, 70 percent of post-privacy and rate, and perhaps this is why privacy
the one hand, they expect digital data laws consumers believe that nearly all jobs will regulation is so important to them.
to clearly regulate public and private data involve advanced digital skills by 2030, Of the post-privacy consumers,
use, so that privacy concerns no longer compared to only 23 percent of other early 56 percent also foresee that digital
exist. On the other hand, they also believe adopters. That there will be a global digital invisibility cloaks will be commonly used to
that technology such as face recognition currency accepted everywhere is believed escape leaving an online trail. A reason for
will be used everywhere, to the extent that by 64 percent of post-privacy consumers, this might be fear of unfair AI treatment,
the concept of privacy no longer exists. whereas only 21 percent of others think so. since 45 percent foresee that we will
This may seem like a paradox, but Well over half of post-privacy consumers live with algorithm anxiety. However, AI
post-privacy consumers expect privacy are also firm believers that automation doesn’t just cause anxiety: nearly 4 out of
issues to be totally resolved so they can and digitalization will lead to drastic 10 expect an AI rights movements arguing
safely reap the benefits of a data-driven price reductions on products and services, for equal rights for robots, whereas less
world. An astonishing 83 percent of them compared to only 12 percent of other than 1 in 10 of other early adopters see
are interested in an internet of senses, early adopters. that happening.
compared to just over half the other However, there is more to the
respondents. Thus, removing personal data post-privacy society than just the upsides:
rights issues will be a key challenge for 59 percent of post privacy consumers
companies in the next decade. foresee social credit systems being more
More than other advanced internet common than loyalty points and airmiles,
users, post-privacy consumers envision whereas a meager 14 percent of others
a society where digital is an integral agree. To the post-privacy consumer,
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Connected sustainability

The ability to digitally “be” anywhere might save

more than just our time – it could help save our planet, too.

Today, youth all over the world are crying available to anyone, while only 1 in 5 of other early adopters. The effect of this could
out to older generations to make a radical others think so. go both ways: 3D printing could just as well
u-turn towards a sustainable future. The recently published Exponential lead to increased consumption of materials
Simultaneously, digital technology is at Roadmap1 identifies 36 solutions to halve and energy.
a tipping point where it is viewed by top global emissions by 2030, and digital The internet of senses is expected to drive
researchers as a “wild card” – meaning that solutions are estimated to enable one-third new travel and commuting patterns, with
it can be used to either rapidly transform of that target. Given that nearly one-third of 57 percent of those seeing sustainability as
our economic systems, or to drive emissions respondents in our study state sustainability a main driver predicting that working and
even higher. It is up to us. as a main driver for adoption of an internet socializing totally virtually will be common.
The good news is that 6 in 10 think of senses, these evolving digital behaviors Also, 55 percent of them foresee remote
internet of senses-based services will make may well contribute to accelerating healthcare, education and work to have
society more environmentally sustainable. this development. advanced to a point where physical travel is
This group also view other questions about One sustainability benefit could be the needed less frequently.
technology and the environment completely continued transition to a higher consumption Perhaps this indicates the end of
differently to others. For instance, 55 percent of digital experiences over physical products. normalized global travel, giving rise to a new
of them foresee climate-proof internet However, a transformation of how physical kind of sustainable society built on steadfast
subscriptions that guarantee connectivity goods are produced is also needed. It turns settlers traveling only virtually. More than
during environmental disruptions, compared out that 6 in 10 of those who think an half of those seeing sustainability as a main
to only 24 percent of others. Half of internet of senses will help create a more driver for the internet of senses think we
them also expect water purification and sustainable society expect 3D printers to be will be online “citizens” of the digital worlds
desalination to become cheap and readily cheap and able to print almost any object created by global tech companies by 2030.
by 2030, compared to half as many among

Exponential Climate Action Roadmap, www.exponentialroadmap.org/
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Sensational services

Services spanning all of the senses

are expected to digitalize daily life.

In this study, consumers predict that by Vesuvius suddenly erupts. As many as slaves to
the next decade digital sound and vision, 43 percent want to experience such full- technology, while those who expect strict
complemented by touch, taste, smell and sense immersion in moments of historic privacy regulation are also the ones who
more, will transform our current screen- significance and drama. expect the end of privacy due to the rise
based experiences into multi-sensory Respondents also see the potential of of facial recognition technology. Much
ones that are practically inseparable from revolutionizing everyday life. More than remains to be said and considered about
physical reality. What would everyday life 4 in 10 want a digital workstation that the social and personal implications of a
be like in such a world? allows them to be virtually present at work full internet of senses – but we hope we
In part, this change is already or school from anywhere. Not only would have inspired some thoughts.
happening – elements of the other senses colleagues appear and sound totally real,
are coming into play, such as VR headset you could interact with every object in
accessories with aroma generators and
micro-heaters or coolers, haptic feedback
the room, including tasting a colleague’s
birthday cake and being handed a report. 43%
More than 4 in 10 would like to
bodysuits or simple vibrating game Other aspects of work, such as commuting
go on digital adventure holidays
controllers. Perhaps you will eventually be and the use of office buildings, would be
that engage all of their senses,
able to taste a glass of digital wine while forever changed. Moreover, as many as immersing them fully in other
hanging out with friends in a game. With 45 percent say they are interested in a places and time periods.
some luck, that won’t lead to a digital digital shopping mall where they can feel
hangover the day after. the texture of clothes and furniture, smell
Turning digital experiences into the freshness of the vegetables and taste
immersive adventures could truly samples of foods available for purchase.
revolutionize travel and tourism. Imagine Consumers who expect this
being able to not only see the ancient development see both challenges and
remains of Pompeii but taste ancient opportunities. Those who expect physical
street food, experience a traditional and digital reality to fully merge are also
bath, and feel the scorching heat as the ones most worried about becoming
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