A new year brings with it new hope and opportunity, as well as a number of key trends that follow on from the year that was. In this regard 2022 is no different, and in a lot of ways the trends we’ll see dominating the next 12 months are set to accelerate at levels previously unseen. Interconnectivity, globalization and the shared experience of the pandemic are all factors in driving their speed, scope and scale. To get a better idea of what’s going on out there, let’s start by considering one of the real growth industries of the previous year, and see how it’s likely to shape 2022.
The continued rise of crypto and its entry into mainstream culture is shown no better than by its inclusion in the PayPal mobile app. At time of writing, you can now buy and trade four different types of crypto coins with nothing but a PayPal authorized email. This shows you that the major players of the world are waking up to this monumental change in the way we conceive of, and use, money. Not only that, but will we see other countries follow El Salvador and use crypto as a new form of legal tender?
This type of step change is hard to predict from a purely financial viewpoint, not least of all because of the large amount of political capital that’s at stake. The key thing to watch out for will be how the destabilized nature of crypto affects the future of an entire nation, and the changes in domestic buying power for everyday citizens that this opens up. You never know, there may quickly see the formation of a two-tier economy in which those rich in crypto have far more leverage than those equipped with just the national currency.
Covid causing sporadic disruption to professional sport is another issue that has to be looked at. Constant delays in the Premier League, the political wrangling Djokovic is working through with Tennis Australia, and the uncertainty around games in certain states in the NBA and NFL are just a few of the examples of Covid vaccinations and outbreaks compromising the delivery of elite sporting events. This is an issue with no quick solution, because not only is it a public health issue, but it’s also an issue of politics and perception. Expect this one to run and run throughout most of 2022, with the inevitable peaks and troughs mirroring the rate of infection.
The increased popularity of online gaming is also set to continue, with greater demand fueling innovation and creativity. Expect new games to constantly come into the market at a rate unseen before, with new MPGs and new online casinos hitting the market in big numbers. This is something that won’t be going away any time soon either, not least because a whole new wave of players have not gotten a taste for the fun you can have with nothing but a quick internet connection and their trusty smartphone. But there’s also a few other trends that point to the fact that 2022 won’t all be fun and games…
The rising cost of debt due to increased borrowing during the pandemic is set to continue, especially if future lockdowns and restrictions on certain industries continue into 2022. While the money was there for many to keep going, although by no means for all, there comes a time when it will have to be paid back. Expect the tail end of 2022 to be when this really starts to hit businesses and individuals, provided the pandemic begins to die down in terms of the severity of government-applied restrictions. Not only that, but the ability of governments to borrow money from central banks will also become restricted due to the unprecedented debts currently accrued. This will likely push up interest rates and cause rises to be passed onto consumers in the form of loans which offer reduced value for money and higher prices at the checkouts.
Last but not least, it’s safe to say that COP26 and the environment have never mattered more than they do right now, and this sentiment is only going to amplify in the weeks and months ahead. The next generation are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers that lie ahead, and mankind’s inability to do anything at a governmental level that comes close to slowing the rate of acceleration, let alone repairing the damage.
The year ahead is one that’s both uncertain and grounds for optimism. There are plenty of things that we can’t accurately forecast right now, but having a solid grasp of the fundamental factors driving the key trends is always a suitable starting point. From there, we can hopefully each make the changes and improvements that will take 2022 in the direction we all want to go in.