Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

From Survival to Revival: the cultural and consumer trends shaping 2024.

By Marina Graham, Director of Cultural Insights, MTM

If 2023 was defined by survival, 2024 is set to be all about revival. So says our team behind MTM’s 2024 report, which details ten of the most compelling consumer and cultural trends to watch out for this year.

Consumers are set on preserving their energy, protecting their interests, and pursuing things that, above all else, bring joy. How are they planning on doing this, you ask? By slowing down, prioritizing digital downtime and dialling up on cheer, community and connection – which inevitably come with a lot of positive emotions and experiences.

The backlash against the all-encompassing role of technology in our lives is ushering in new mentalities, products and subcultures. From The Luddite Club, a New York based teen lifestyle group promoting “self-liberation from social media and technology”, to Kendrick Lamar releasing a limited edition anti-smartphone designed to be used as little as possible (which sold out in ONE DAY!) – digital withdrawal has never been more front and centre of the cultural conversation. What is perhaps most interesting is the social currency and clout being attached to disconnecting – the digital detox is no longer just a wellness exercise, but an aspirational lifestyle. 

This turn towards more screen-free living coincides with a growing desire for slower, more tangible media forms. We welcome one of our top 10 trends, the ‘Print Renaissance’, with a renewed interest in physical publications, including the likes of NME, Nylon and Paper, making a cultural resurgence. Remember newsstands? They are also getting a new lease on life with chains like News & Coffee creating hyper-local neighbourhood hangouts for city dwellers to watch the world go by. Celebrities like Harry Styles and Dua Lipa are also becoming book influencers in their own right and upping the ‘cool factor’ of consuming printed media. 

In response to increased loneliness and social anxiety created by our digital bubbles, a collective movement is emerging which sees values in slowing down and relishing the things that bring a sense of joy, purpose and belonging. The ‘Decelerated Dopamine’ trend reports on how consumers are opting to exchange consumption for creation, savouring the experiences and communities that offer a more fulfilling and interest-based use of time and money. On the other hand, the ‘Young Romantics’ trend sees a new generation yearning for deeper and more meaningful connections in a world typically characterised by instant gratification. 

That’s not to say that exciting things won’t be happening online. In the digital arena, Gen Alpha has made their entrance and they are already taking over the next era of the internet! With the likes of celebrity offspring North West and Penelope Disick dominating TikTok. For us Millennials, it’s finally our moment for sweet, sweet revenge, as the tech-savvy Alphas are already starting to call out Gen Z for being cringe. Look who’s laughing now! However, in true Gen Z fashion, they are taking ownership of their cringey ways and making it “fire”. Say hello to the pro-cringe era where expressing deep earnestness, enthusiasm and sincerity is now the in thing (think Taylor Swift who has become a poster girl for this new form of radical self-acceptance).

A quick recap of the 10 trends in the report: 

  • Decelerated Dopamine:  People are choosing to exchange consumption for creation to spend their money and time in more fulfilling and interest-based ways. 
  • Young Romantics: Today’s old-school romantics are looking beyond our instant gratification culture to seek connections that are deeper and more meaningful. 
  • Septuagenarian Society: As society breaks new ground in the quest for human longevity, life after 70 takes on a more active and fulfilling meaning. 
  • Print Renaissance: Screen-free living is ushering in a movement that re-embraces and aestheticises the printed form. 
  • Old Sports, New Stars: The emergence of new icons in ‘old money’ sports is revealing the cultural currency they hold outside the sporting arena. 
  • Gen Alpha Creators: The generation co-parented by YouTube are 
  • already finding their own online voices and taking over the next era of the internet. 
  • Eco Exhaustion: As consumers grow weary of the sustainability demands placed upon them, brands need to bring their own no-catch commitments to the table. 
  • Cringe Currency: Generational battlegrounds form over cringe comedy, but through radical self-acceptance Gen Z are taking ownership of this space. 
  • LinkedIn’s Moment: As the backlash towards other social networks increases, LinkedIn is becoming a sanctuary for users to feel safe and comfortable sharing in. 
  • Political Fakery: We’ve got 99 elections and AI ain’t one. Generative AI tools will give free rein for disruptors to sow seeds of doubt across 2024’s major election cycle. 

Download a full copy of the report here.