Mega Trends and Implications to
Business, Society and Cultures
Definition of a Mega Trend
What is a Mega Trend?
• Mega trends are global, sustained and macro economic
forces of development that impact business, economy,
society, cultures and personal lives thereby defining our
future world and its increasing pace of change.
• Mega trends have different meanings and impacts for
different industries, companies and individuals. Analysis
of these mega trends and their implications forms an
important component of a company’s future strategy,
development and innovation process, and impacts
product and technology planning.
• The following document sets the stage for visionary
thinking by identifying the most important global mega
trends, potential scenarios of specific trends in 2020,
and the implications of these mega trends in
transforming society, markets and cultures. These mega
trends can be used as a base for strategic decision-
making by understanding their impact on organizational
functions such as marketing, Research and
Development (R&D) budget spending , product planning
and development, human resource management,
technology planning and innovation scouting.
Impact of Mega Trends on Key Organizational
Why Do Mega Trends Matter?
Selection of unique mega trends through macro-economic analysis, interviewing and
10 brainstorming sessions with 150 analysts globally.
Scenario building of unique factors and implications to society, market, and other
key sectors by a Global Work Team of 15 analysts over a period of 200 man days
Analysis of the impact of the scenario developed in step 2 to the Business Market
(e.g. Personal mobility)
Analysis of opportunities/threats to industry (e.g. automotive) and generate
suggestions for design/development and technology planning *
This document follows a four stage research process
* Not covered in this document but in separate Frost & Sullivan’s 360 industry studies
Summary of Top Megatrends
Urbanization: Increasing pace of urbanization will lead
to integration of core city centre with suburbs and
daughter cities resulting in expanding city limits. This will
have massive impact on the future of mobility, working
life and societies. Three concepts of urbanization will
emerge: megacities, mega regions and mega corridors.
Mega Cities : Integration of core city with suburbs and
housing over 5 million people
Mega Regions: Integration of two or more cities or
expansion of city to join with adjoining daughter cities to
form Mega Regions housing over 15 million people
Mega Corridor: Urbanization Corridors Connecting Two
or More Mega Cities or Mega Regions Converging to
form Mega Corridors. These can be 100 km plus n
distance and having population of over 25mn living
within the corridor
Generation Y: Most educated, affluent, assertive and IT
literate generation in history, these digital natives
between 15 – 35 years will have distinct values, beliefs,
attitudes, lifestyle and behavioural patterns influencing
product, technology development and marketing
strategies in 2020. Constituting 34% of global population
in 2020, Generation Y will be the most adaptive to
change, ready to experiment with new technologies with
high purchasing power. Particularly in emerging markets,
these young people provide a huge opportunity
Women Empowerment and Women CEOs : Around
25 of the Fortune Global 500 Companies will be
headed by women in 2020. Constituting of over 40%
of future labour force in US, India and China , women
will have more decisive power over finance and
business development thereby gaining more
prominence in the boardroom and at the family front.
Salaries of women will be equal if not higher than men
in most countries, signalling a definite break in the
glass ceiling. Goods, services and advertisements will
be specifically targeted to women. Legislation in future
will push this trend .
Power to the Middle Class : With over 1 billion
coming from India and China alone in 2020, the
middle class income group will have the greatest
impact on products and services and the biggest
purchasing power as compared to other classes. In
countries like South Africa this middle class is
already nicknamed the “black diamond”.
Reverse Brain Drain and CXO Positions in
Developing Economies Mostly evident in countries
like India and China, reverse brain drain as a concept
implies a massive reversal of highly educated and
skilled workers back to their homeland. This trend will
also see proliferation of non-resident population filling
up CXO jobs and salaries and benefits in these
countries will eventually outstrip the Western World.
Many Europeans and Americans will seek jobs in
these developing countries in the future.
SMART Cities and SMART Infrastructure: With the
advent of technology and infrastructure development,
there will be a shift from “GREEN” to “SMART” concept.
Some of the SMART initiatives will find its way into
elements of Energy, Technology, Grids, Cars, Buildings,
Utilities and Infrastructure . Energy efficiency and zero
emissions will be the basic premise of such initiatives.
Summary of Top Megatrends
Beyond BRIC: The Next Game Changers: The next big
Game Changers will be the future economic engines of
growth – signalling a shift in economic power in 2020 from
BRIC countries to nations of Mexico, Argentina, Poland,
Egypt, South Africa, Turkey, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam
and possibly Iran.
New Shores: Emerging Outsourcing Hotspots : The
future outsourcing markets in 2020 will not be defined by
overall labour cost or productivity but by specialization in
niche areas like business analytics, software application
development, product development and software testing.
Most of these emerging hotspots will be located in Eastern
and Central Asia and in Latin America.
Future Fortune Global 500: Companies in developing
economies, particularly Asia will wield greater commercial
progress in 2020. We will see around 30% increase in the
number of Asian companies in the Global 500 Companies
list signalling a shift of economic growth from Europe,
United States to developing countries.
SMART Clouds: The Next Trend in Cloud
Computing: The next paradigm shift in cloud
computing will be the advent of SMART Clouds.
These flexible customized clouds can address a
particular business (or personal) need for a specific
period of time and can be integrated with existing on-
premise IT infrastructure base - seamlessly and
securely. This new cloud momentum is expected to
throw open new business models leading to a
confluence of new technological applications and
opportunities for software vendors.
SPACE JAM: Future of Satellites: With the launch
of GALILEO, and around 900 new satellites by 2020,
new navigation and communication technologies will
be enabled, leading to multiple innovations in
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications, Mobile
Satellite Services (MSS), and increase in broadband
Virtual World: Digital networking, online communities
and computer-simulated environments will govern
businesses, healthcare, education, mobility and even
personal relationships in 2020. 3D virtual
environments and avatars will interact and simulate
real-life situations enabling users to experience and
interact in virtual reality.
New Trade Zones: Governments are entering into
new trade agreements which will spur the
development of new trading hubs and increase in
trade volume in 2020. These trade agreements will
also lead to zero tariff rates and favourable prices for
goods in 2020, particularly for countries in Asia,
Africa and Latin America.
Geo-Socialization: The next platform of social networking
will rely on geographic services and capabilities such as
geocoding and geotagging . These collaborative web
mapping techniques will result in new trends of networking,
digital marketing and innovative ways of socializing
furthering the evolution of interaction between individuals
Summary of Top Megatrends
Future of Consumer Electronics: Wearable Computing,
3D HDTV, Video Calling, E-Paper, Mind-Control Video
Gaming are some of the future technologies which will hit
the mainstream market by 2020. These will change the
way people think, interact and work resulting in greener,
smarter and technology-savvy lives in the future.
Wireless Intelligence: Wireless technology enabled by
advancement in cellular networks, satellite networks,
RFID, Wi-FI and WiMax will lead to IT infrastructure and
other services to be 80% wireless on a single integrated
platform in 2020. With real-time video surveillance, virtual
Monitoring and secure, high-speed, wireless data
networking, this intelligence will be managed by a central
server which commands different emergency services to
detect, react, prepare, respond and even predict events.
Future Broadband Applications: Around 50 billion
devices will be connected by broadband in 2020 with
innovative applications in healthcare, business, education
and entertainment sectors. Evolving Artificial Intelligence
(AI) and broadband technologies will lead to sophistication
of major applications resulting in virtual companies,
business conferences, defense simulation, virtual
classroom and even virtual space tours to name a few.
Innovative Technologies of the Future: The next
emerging technologies to watch out for will be in areas of
nanomaterials, flexible electronics, lasers, SMART
materials and so on, These technologies will drive multiple
applications and present a potentially high ROI for
companies in 2020.
Future Global Power Generation: By 2020, nearly half of
world electricity will be produced in emerging regions.
Shifting regional and fuel balance will see renewable and
nuclear energy increasing to 36% in 2020 of the total
Innovating to Zero! : “Zero Concept” World with zero
emissions, zero accidents, zero fatalities, zero defects,
zero breaches of security can now be a reality in the
future. Companies will shift focus and develop products
and technologies that “Innovate to Zero” such as zero
emission technologies (such as wind power, Travelling
Wave Reactor (TWR), Solar PV, Third Generation Bio
E-Mobility: : Over 40 million electric 2 wheelers and 4
wheelers will be sold annually around the globe in 2020. E-
Mobility, from electric cars to electric aircrafts, will usher in
a new set of players with new business models offering
innovative and customized set of infrastructure and
RoboSlaves: Robotic technology combined with Artificial
Intelligence will assist humans in manufacturing, space,
military, civil security and transportation sectors.
Additionally, robotics will soon enter into the realm of
personal relationships acting as a slave, companion and
even a decision maker in 2020.
Summary of Top Megatrends
Infrastructure Development: Power, Water and
Transport: With around $41,000 billion expected tp be
pumped globally for infrastructure projects (2005-2030),
there will be a tremendous improvement in the quality and
operational efficiency of sectors such as transport, power
and water. Emerging transportation corridors (eg. Trans
Siberian Rail, High Speed Rail Corridors n the United
States) will lead to mushrooming of economic and
technology clusters along these corridors. These integrated
hubs will be the future centres of innovation, R&D and
technical excellence attracting massive investment and
New Business Models: Next Generation Business models
will redefine future business propositions and influence
future technology and product development . These
business models will not only reshape the landscape of
business environment and but also influence industry
dynamics. Some of these evolving models are
Personalization, Car Sharing, “Pay by the Hour”.
Factory of the Future: SMART and GREEN: Fully
automated factories are now approaching reality.
Sophisticated machines, intelligent robots infused with future
technologies will soon allow a plethora of machinery to rapidly
manufacture and fabricate products on-demand, without any
human intervention. The entire production line will be
configured with artificial intelligence allowing direct access
and control to different machinery in the manufacturing
From Fat to Fit: Health, Wellness and Well Being (HWW):
Health and Well being are increasingly being viewed as an
integral part of improving quality of life. As HWW is
increasingly gaining more priority in personal life, companies
are now considering this factor whilst strengthening their
brand value and repositioning their products in the market.
Many future strategic innovations and technological
development will be built on this premise. (Eg. 2007 Toyota
Summary of Industry-Specific Trends
Healthcare: With Smarter Drugs, Virtual Hospitals, Cyber
Docs – the healthcare industry is poised for a radical
change with IT taking the forefront in R&D, diagnostics and
monitoring. Healthcare spending will account for 20-30% of
GDP in some economies by 2050 with a marked shift in
spending toward predicting, diagnosing and monitoring –
away from traditional treatment. In future, diagnostics will
become less invasive, preventative, and image based and
medicines will be marketed as molecular and personalized
Chemicals and Materials: Nanomaterials, Smart Materials
and Organic Electronics are just some of the materials of
the future that will impact new product development,
applications and technologies. These materials will possess
revolutionary features (including tailored responses to
external stimuli such as stress, temperature, moisture and
pH) and will impact on future innovations in all avenues of
life, such as green building materials, fuel efficient vehicles
and next-generation personal care products such as
nutraceuticals. However, the biggest change will be the shift
to genuinely sustainable feedstocks that will impact plastics,
[bio]fuels and cosmetic ingredients.
Energy and Power: Global Electricity generation is slated
to reach 26,620 TWh in 2020: with renewable energy, and
nuclear power accounting for more than a third of power
generation by 2020. Rapidly accelerating need for cleaner,
sustainable power will lead to resurgence of nuclear power,
rampant clean coal commercialization and improved power
storage solutions. Smart grids will be at the forefront of
efficiency and management of energy, both for users of
power as well as the utilities integrating the multitude of new
supply points onto the grid.
Environment and Water: Increasing water stress and
concerns on water management cycles will lead to
sustainable water & wastewater treatment solutions in 2020.
The value chain of the water industry will soon witness a
strong integration between engineering procurement and
construction companies, water & wastewater treatment
system assemblers and original equipment manufacturers
thereby leading to innovations in chemical free water &
wastewater treatment solutions, bio-gas generation from
wastewater treatment and recovery of material resources.
Additionally trends such as Smart Water Grids and Water
Trading are set to capitalise on the overall sustainable drive
and become the mainstream by 2020.
Automotive: With the increasing urbanisation and formation
of mega cities across the globe, there is a growing need for
de-congestion and consequently, green personal mobility
solutions (Hybrids, EVs and Alternate fuels) are expected to
account for around 30% of global vehicle sales by 2020.
With consumers being offered new options such as car-
sharing and vehicle manufacturers offering integrated, door
to door mobility, the shifting dynamics in the automotive
industry will lead to emergence of new players called
“mobility integrators”. The automotive industry will soon
witness a paradigm shift in product differentiation (new
features such as Health, Wellness and Well Being) with
non-automotive suppliers entering the market with new
competencies, value propositions and business models.
Automotive App Store type concepts will grow
Aerospace and Defence: The Aerospace & Defence
industry is characterized by early adoption of innovative
technologies and globalisation. Technological advancements
in SATCOM and wireless technologies will enable the
development of capabilities such as Network centric
operations in defence and improved in-flight communication
in commercial aviation. Information management, particularly
the ability to collect, analyse and disseminate information will
also see unprecedented growth thereby driving innovations in
the field of information security. The A&D industry will see
increased need for integrating and managing information
more effectively to improve capabilities and reduce costs.
Information and Communication Technologies : The next
step of technology evolution will see the high speed
interaction between the physical and the online world through
interconnection between mobile devices, sensors, probes and
machines and objects digitally connected to the network. This
will led to various sub-trends such as: convergence of virtual
and physical payments, convergence of on-line and mobile
applications, convergence between the various levels of
realities, virtual, augmented, and physical, networked cities
and intelligent spaces. Other interesting futuristic trends in
the ICT space that will have multiple cross-sectoral impacts
are: wearable computing, widget based User Interfaces (UIs),
3D Video on Demand (VoD), and cloud portability.
Summary of Industry Specific Trends
Electronics and Security: Improvements to broadband
infrastructure coupled with advancement in wireless
technology will lead to seamless integration and real-time
interaction of disparate security systems enabling state-of-
the-art security solutions with real-time video surveillance,
virtual monitoring, and secure, high-speed, wireless data
networking and wireless video servers. Furthermore, with the
evolution of smart technology in buildings, grids, and cities,
enterprise security solutions will soon be based on IP-based
technology. This seamless convergence of IT and physical
security will lead to truly “intelligent” and interoperable
systems by 2020 which will be developed on an open-IT
Measurement and Instrumentation : Self-powered” wireless
sensor technology supporting energy harvesting are expected
to spur innovations in occupancy sensors, window sensors,
key card switches, CCD sensors, gas and humidity sensors
and temperature sensors by 2020. As complexity and speed
of chips, buses and systems increases in the electronics
industry, Test and Measurement (T&M) vendors will
increasingly shift from traditional to embedded
instrumentation. Additionally, innovations in material
technologies will lead to development of light substitute
materials such as composites, smart materials, etc. and
impact sectors such as aerospace, space tourism,
electronics, healthcare, military applications, information
technology, This is expected to give rise to a myriad of
innovations in the fields of material testing, inspection and
monitoring, to ensure quality and reliability of components
used in such safety critical applications.
Building Technologies: Future advances in building
automation systems will lead to integration of data, voice
and video with security, HVAC, lighting and other controls
on a single IP-network platform. These developments
combined with “green” and “eco-friendly” elements will lead
to the growth of “SMART, Green and Intelligent” Buildings
by 2020. Additionally, open architecture and integrated
hardware and software tools will soon enable the whole city
to attain a new level of inter-connectivity.
Key Strategic Conclusions
• All these Mega Trends are inter-related. This document will help
understand the inter-relations and implications of these mega
trends on you business and industry.
• These Mega Trends will help identify and evaluate opportunities
in the entire value chain.
Profitability in Value
• Companies need to play globally to garner a significant pie in
future markets. These mega trends will help you identify global
pertinent forces that influence business in the future.
• Tomorrow’s world will thrive on innovative applications. Do you
have a Innovation Council or Growth Team track these
Innovate to Improve