The Meta Trending Trends: 2022

Top 14 Overlapping Cultural Trends From 40+ Reports

Matt Klein
On Advertising
Published in
14 min readJan 22, 2022


By: Matt Klein

The fifth annual Meta Trend Report synthesizes 500+ trends from 40+ reports, ranking the 14 most frequently reported cultural trends for 2022.

Reports were sourced from: Accenture Retail, Bombas & Parr, Canvas8, Catawiki, Deloitte Insights TMT, Dentsu Creative, Dentsu Media, Deposit Photos, Exploding Topics, Falcon, Foresight Factory, Fjord Accenture, Future Laboratory, GWI, Instagram, Lippincott, Mintel, MTM, Nourish, Mind Body Green, Pinterest, Sparks & Honey, Spring Wise, Trend Hunter, Trend Watching, Ultra Violet, We Are Social, Webby, Well + Good, WGSN, Wunderman Thompson and more.

Why? We can forecast accuracy by using reliability and collective intelligence as a proxy. In distillation is value. Synthesis > Curation.

However, over the last five years my opinion on the purpose and value of this exercise has evolved — after all, changing minds today is underrated.

My excitement for this tradition is waning. Year after year, the same Meta Trends are surfacing… just with nuanced variation. The repetitiveness of these companies’ trends, AND now the Meta Trends reveals why relying upon these reports (and even this one) is flawed. While Meta provides confidence, it doesn’t speak to the more valuable and disruptive, quiet forces at play.

Rather than treating these Meta Trends as an accurate forecast, we must now also use them as filters to seek out what’s NOT discussed.

The edges are the sharpest, and the fringes are the future. To see what’s coming, we must respect the bizarre and validate the weird. These reports don’t. In the nicest way, one who perceives a Meta Trend as an emergent opportunity is late to the party. Meta is table stakes. (But, they’re also contextual by brand / vertical — these are not one-size-fits-all territories.)

It’s the weak signals and under-discussed which continue to spur true threats and opportunities: the messy, uncomfortable and complex concepts these report will never face. The overlooked — not the mainstream reportage nor this report — must be our focus. Until then, we have an incomplete picture.

Meta Trends are not the final product.

They’re the start.

Deeper, these sourced reports often lack a quantitative, let alone cohesive methodology. We should at least expect quant support, but even that’s rare. These reports are also regularly produced in isolation, without third-party collaboration nor consultation. Subjectivity abounds. This is not great news when we’re dealing with an alarmingly homogenous industry. These reports are also authored by orgs with bottom lines, selling services. So not only is there dangerous demographic bias, but there’s also an agenda. Lastly, putting trend reports behind paywalls is antithetical to their purpose. We must democratize the future, not sell it.

All of these components constrain us from achieving our original goal: attempting to understand the current moment and what lays ahead.

We can do better.

This year I’ve embodied these learnings, and ultiamtely altered the approach to Meta 22.

I’ve sought outside collaboration from quantitative futurist (and friend), Sarah DaVanzo who spearheads Curious Futures, a non-profit collective increasing access to futures work. With a similar interest in the meta — her’s Meta 2030 — we’ve partnered up to add more value…

Solutions & You

This year we’re doing more with Meta 22. If you’re into what you’re reading, subscribe, because in the coming months we’ll be publishing:

1. A Meta-Meta retrospective, analyzing the evolution of Meta Trends
2. Quantitative scoring of Meta 22 for sizing + strategy prioritization
3. Future pieces unpacking the more valuable overlooked trends

We’re committed to openly sharing these learnings for all, for free via Zine.

The 2022 Meta-Trends —

01. Eco- Everything ♻️

Sustainability is embedded everywhere — we want action but delivery now
Keywords: green-washing, compromises, buy for life, circular, zero-impact

Neutral Footwear — Trend Hunter
Algae Footwear — Trend Hunter
Sustainable Sneakers — Well + Good
Carbon Negative Sneakers — Sparks & Honey
Bio-Based Activeware — Future Laboratory
Net-Zero Steak — Sparks & Honey
Net-Zero Alcohol — Wunderman Thompson
Climate Adaptive Wineries — Future Laboratory
Sustainable Sips — Future Laboratory
Sustainable Smartphones — Deloitte
Eco Retailer — Trend Hunter
Eco Wedding — Trend Hunter
Eco-Motional Fashion — Future Laboratory
B2B Waste — Trend Hunter
Zero-Waste Cosmetic — Trend Hunter
New Beauty Labels — Wunderman Thompson
Interactive Eco-Labels — Future Laboratory
Conscious Decoupling — Dentsu Creative
The Responsible Rebuild — Dentsu Media
Planet Positive — Ultra Violet
Cyan Shoppers — Spring Wise
Carbon Accountability — Spring Wise
Chief Heat Officer — Sparks & Honey
Re-Gen Resorts — Future Laboratory
Expat Experiences — Future Laboratory
Bio-Positive Fashion — Future Laboratory
Offset Sellers — Future Laboratory
Climate Complexity — Mintel
Regenerative Brands — Wunderman Thompson
Haute Veganism — Wunderman Thompson
Second Souls — Trend Watching
Earth Definition — Trend Watching
Climatarians — MTM
Biodegradable Tech — Trend Hunter
Pollution Protection — Trend Hunter
The Greater Good — Accenture Retail
Waterless Washing — WGSN
Carbon-Neutral Browsing — Wunderman Thompson
Green Mapping — Wunderman Thompson
Rewilding the Office — Wunderman Thompson
Cognizant Consumption — Reddit

Out: Branded upcycled sneakers
In: Branded caps on yearly purchases
Drivers: capitalism, short-termism, bad incentives, impatience, guilt
Lean In By: Going beyond green-washed drops and play long games
↳ To Win: Race to the bottom of sacrifice and compete against loss
+ Related Dive: Degrowth Economics, Mindsumers

02. Digital Default 🌐

Life moves online and the IRL vs. URL distinction blurs, becoming moot
Keywords: phygital, metaverse, VR, gaming, meat-space, avatar, pluriverse

Metaverse Expansion — Trend Hunter
Metaverse Brands — Future Laboratory
The Brandverse — MTM
Metaverse Recruits — Wunderman Thompson
Metaverse — Deposit
Building the Metaverse — Wunderman Thompson
Metabeauty — Wunderman Thompson
Metawork — Wunderman Thompson
Metasocieties — Wunderman Thompson
Meeting in the Metaverse — Stylus
Fashion Meta-networks — Future Laboratory
The Food Metaverse — Bombas & Parr
Games are the New Malls — Instagram
The Games Console — Deloitte
Online Gaming & Virtual Worlds — Webby
Virtual Worlds — Dentsu Media
Virtual Lab — Trend Hunter
Virtual Teleportation — Wunderman Thompson
Virtual Flagships — Wunderman Thompson
Branded Virtual Worlds — Wunderman Thompson
Brand Escape — Trend Hunter
Alternate Realities — Dentsu Creative
Mixed Reality — Falcon
Phygi-fun — Trend Watching
Portals of Possibility — Trend Watching
Shoppable Room — Trend Hunter
Coterie Consumerism — Future Laboratory
The Next Frontier — Fjord Accenture
Liminal Spaces — Wunderman Thompson
Advanced Avatars — Wunderman Thompson
Digital Twins — Wunderman Thompson

Out: “Fortnite Concerts” highlighting this blur
In: “Digital Carbon Footprints” highlighting this blur
Drivers: physical / mobility limits, health, escapism, self-fulfilling sci-fi
Lean In By: Focusing on the here and what make this reality so special
↳ To Win: Don’t mashup, but dial up the best of each space
+ Related Dive: Undecorated (Online) Homes

03. xX~VIBES~Xx 🍄

Tune in, drop out, and slow down — sacred set and settings fulfill and focus
Keywords: psilocybin, shrooms, cursed, mood, cringe, manifest, ick

The Vibe Economy — We Are Social
Mood Makers — Foresight Factory
Psychedelic Expansion — Trend Hunter
Psychedelic Art — Deposit
Psychedelic Mindfulness — Trend Hunter
Psychedelics — Well + Good
Mycological Retreats — Wunderman Thompson
Higher Frequency — Pinterest
Y2K Aesthetics — Deposit
Y2K Nostalgia — MTM
90s Nostalgia — Catawiki
Retro Retail — Wunderman Thompson
Retro Revolution — Falcon
Hypnotic Dining — Bombas & Parr
Hypnotherapy — Wunderman Thompson
Biophilic Design — Pinterest
Flower Therapy — Future Laboratory
Microforests — Wunderman Thompson
Indoor Trees — WGSN
Renewed Intimacy — Wunderman Thompson
Erotic Eating — Future Laboratory
Eatertainment Spaces — Future Laboratory
Remedy Drinks — Future Laboratory
Binge Slow-Down — Trend Hunter
Zen G — MTM
Express Yourself — MTM
Healing Hedonism — Stylus
Sensorial Self-Care — Stylus
Emotional Health — Wunderman Thompson
Comfort Commercial — Trend Hunter
Contemplative Stores — Future Laboratory

Out: Talk therapy, LED lights, and 80’s & 90's nostalgia
In: Ketamine therapy, lava lamps, and Y2K & March 2020 nostalgia
Drivers: cannabis norms, wellness desperation, faced mortality, escapism
Lean In By: Producing intangibility, offering / complimenting altered states
↳ To Win: Relieve, soothe, and honor spectrums of feels without judgment
+ Related Dive: Techno-Paganism, Functional Unwinding

04. Radical Inclusivity 🌎

Needed diversity and equity beget belonging and integration
Keywords: gender, neuro-, accessible, income, fluid, generation, neighbor

Improved Inclusivity — Falcon
Radical Inclusivity — Ultra Violet
Inclusive Haircare — Wunderman Thompson
In-Game Inclusion — Trend Hunter
Women in Tech — Deloitte
The Shecovery — Wunderman Thompson
Brands for Gender ID — Lippincott
Reading Gender Gap — Deloitte
Anti-Aspirational Beauty — Future Laboratory
The Demise of “Normal” Beauty — Wunderman Thompson
More than Skin Deep — GWI
Accessible Care — Trend Hunter
Accessible Package — Trend Hunter
Adaptive Packaging — Wunderman Thompson
Empowering Every Body — Stylus
Boomer Tech — Trend Hunter
Cross-Generational Marketing — Falcon
Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation — Nourish
Generation ‘Also Me’ — Dentsu Creative
LGBTQ+ Therapy — Trend Hunter
Queer Care-givers — Future Laboratory
Diversify & Decolonize — Foresight Factory
Equity Zone — Trend Watching
Anti-osteentation Attitudes — Future Laboratory
Affirmative Banking — Future Laboratory
Neighbourgooding — Stylus
New Company Manifestos — Wunderman Thompson
Gen Alpha Retail — Wunderman Thompson

Out: Seats at the table
In: Owning the table
Drivers: inequality, injustices, majority minorities, guilt, polarization
Lean In By: Constantly refreshing ideologies — move over and hand over
↳ To Win: Systematizing end-to-end inclusion, in- and externally
+ Related Dive: Retirement Crisis, Representative Emoji

05. Kid’ing 🪁

Purposeless fun is purposeful — youthful levity is the antidote to our fear
Keywords: maximalism, memes, irony, play, absurdism, youth, catharsis

Playfulness — Catawiki
Play-tail — Future Laboratory
Playful Pivots — Trend Watching
Radical Optimism — WGSN
Unbounded Optimism — Wunderman Thompson
Prescribing Happiness — Wunderman Thompson
Away from Minimalism — Lippincott
Maxamilistic Fashion — Instagram
Absurdist Makeovers — Wunderman Thompson
Exertainment — Future Laboratory
Imbibing Irony — Future Laboratory
Enjoyment Everywhere — Mintel
Be Jeweled — Pinterest
The Contrarian — Canvas8
Youth Goggles — Trend Watching
Immersive Info — Trend Watching
Kidding Around — Pinterest
Stop-and-Think Humor — Instagram
Memes as Control — Instagram
Fear — WGSN
Post-Traumnatic Thriving — MBG
Euphoric Ads — Wunderman Thompson

Out: Success as aspiration
In: Playfulness as aspiration
Drivers: constant dread, faced mortality, existentialism, fatalism
Lean In By: Bearing childhood wonder and rebelling with optimism
↳ To Win: Don’t be sloppy, refine silliness, let loose, lower stakes and twirl
+ Related Dive: Bo Burnham’s Inside

06. Home Hubs 🏠

Our house is our heart, central to our wellbeing and all functions
Keywords: flex, hybrid, DIY healthcare, remote, tele-, office clubhouses

Health Hub — Trend Hunter
Tracking Home Health — Well + Good
Telehealth Boom — Well + Good
At-Home Health — Exploding Topics
At-Home Beauty Tools — Well + Good
Food at Home — Instagram
Home as Hub — Exploding Topics
WFH Prosumer — Trend Hunter
WFH Culture — Trend Hunter
Workspaces 3.0 — Future Laboratory
Modular Work — Trend Hunter
Nomadic Workforce — Sparks & Honey
Flexible Spaces — Mintel
Fans of Flexibility — Dentsu Media
Adjustable Office — Trend Hunter
Personal Bubbles — Dentsu Creative
Emotional Escape Rooms — Pinterest
Personal Training to You — Well + Good
Revitalized Residences — Reddit

Out: Home -gyms, -classrooms, -offices, and -studies
In: Home -spas, -gardens, -doctor offices, and -salons
Drivers: health woes, closed workplaces, life online, time inside, control
Lean In By: Embracing home multi-functionality, meet all where they are
↳ To Win: Become the most convenient and lend a hand around the house
+ Related Dive: Prepping

07. Algo_Minded 🧠

0’s and 1’s ironically infiltrate the intimacy of our mental wellness
Keywords: app, group, online studio, live class, game, streak, data tracking

Mental Health Goes Mobile — Deloitte
Mental Health Communities — Sparks & Honey
TikTok Self-Care — MBG
TikTok Therapy — Wunderman Thompson
Tangible Therapy — Trend Hunter
Wellness Pollination — Ultra Violet
Financial Wellness Apps — Well + Good
Next-Gen Mental Wellbeing — Wunderman Thompson
Calm Commerce — WGSN
Mindfulness Market — Exploding Topics
Finite Social Networks — Wunderman Thompson
At Your Best — GWI
Radical Relief — Future Laboratory
Tech Fatigue — Trend Hunter
Handle with Care — Fjord Accenture
Meditation Pairing — Trend Hunter
Psych-E — Trend Watching
Prescription Gaming — Wunderman Thompson

Out: Headspace’s home feeds with push-notifications
In: Chronic illness subreddits with P2P support
Drivers: addiction, access, convenience + compromise, pursuit of balance
Lean In By: Leveraging networks with low barriers to support, not extract
↳ To Win: Don’t coerce or hook with tech, free people with and from it
+ Related Dive: Coercive Convenience, Soul Interfaces, Assisted Socializing

08. Renews & Reinventions 💭

At an impasse, pivots are made, prioritizing what’s (subjectively) important
Keywords: reflect, resignation, anti-work, F’ it, essential, power to people

Great Reshuffle — MTM
Great Wage Reckoning — Sparks & Honey
The Great Reskill — Wunderman Thompson
The Nomad Economy — Wunderman Thompson
The Romanticized Life — Reddit
Pursuit of Purpose — GWI
Virtually Imperfect Life — GWI
End of Abundance Thinking — Fjord Accenture
Desynchronised Society — WGSN
Simplicity Matters — WGSN
Personal Pace — Foresight Factory
Redefining 9–5 — Instagram
The Systems Skeptic — Canvas8
Blue Zone Living — Trend Hunter
Hot Horology — Pinterest
Equitable Resilience — WGSN

Out: System skepticism
In: System recreation
Drivers: VUCA, systems failing, faced mortality, opportunity, inequality
Lean In By: Seeing the irony and providing safety nets for risk and reform
↳ To Win: As a brand, assist with deconstruction and reinvention
+ Related Dive: Decentral Dropout, Power to the Players

09. Virtual Valuables 🔑

Digital assets unlock community + solve conspicuous consumption online
Keywords: NFT, collectable, Web3, token, signaling, (co-)own, scarcity

NFT Art — Trend Hunter
NFT Marketplaces — Wunderman Thompson
NFT Exhibition — Trend Hunter
Charitable NFTs — Trend Hunter
Sport NFTs — Deloitte
Gaming NFTs — MTM
Tarantino NFTs — Sparks & Honey
Direct-to-Avatar Commerce — WGSN
Direct to Avatar — Wunderman Thompson
Cryptonomics — Wunderman Thompson
Crypto-Elites — Wunderman Thompson
Gaming & Fashion Collide — Instagram
Redistributed Ownership — Dentsu Creative
Secure Scarcity — Dentsu Media
New Materialists — We Are Social

Out: Monkey .jpeg’s as sport car substitutes
In: Symbolic keys for membership and tools for expression
Drivers: life online, declining religion, novelty, financial FOMO, status
Lean In By: Creating new ways to show off taste, ownership, exclusivity
↳ To Win: Don’t copy and paste the trend, author net-new use cases
+ Related Dive: Crypto as Berghain, Digital Carbon Footprints

10. Now! Now! NOW! 🛒

Shrinking patience + infinite demands push the limits of commerce
Keywords: omni, social, BNPL, final mile, unlimited, super-app

New Ways to Buy — Dentsu Media
Everything Delivered — Exploding Topics
Multiple Payment Options — Exploding Topics
On-Demand Evolution — WGSN
AI Delivery — Trend Hunter
Cosmetic Deliveries — Trend Hunter
All-in Commerce — Accenture Retail
Social Point of Sale — Accenture Retail
Chefs on Demand — Future Laboratory
Communal Currencies — Trend Watching
Monthly Services — Exploding Topics
Restaurant Subscription — Trend Hunter
Shoppable TV — MTM
Omnichannel Everything — Dentsu Media
Paths To Purchase — Nourish

Out: 2-Day shipping, payment installments, global, subscription bundles
In: 2-Hour delivery, alternative payments, local, bundling subscriptions
Drivers: life online, supply chain woes, competition, Eastern-influences
Lean In By: Doubling down on customer service — focus on ‘one click’
↳ To Win: Stop chasing, you won’t keep up, instead leapfrog or partner up
+ Related Dive: Anti-Work & Black Friday Blackout

11. Me Inc. 💼

The long tail of the market (creators) make what it doesn’t already offer
Keywords: side-hustle, artisanal, multi-hyphenate, career polygamy

Side Hustles — Instagram
Yay Job — Pinterest
Career Creators — MTM
Social Commerce — WGSN
P2P Community — Trend Hunter
Micropreneurs 2.0 — Wunderman Thompson
Hot Horology — Fjord Accenture
Sideline Studios — Future Laboratory
Out-of-Work Networks — Future Laboratory
Curator Kids — Future Laboratory
Noiseless Niche — Falcon
Crypto-Artisans — Wunderman Thompson

Out: Personal brands
In: Personal businesses
Drivers: student debt, system skepticism, no / low barriers, financial FOMO
Lean In By: Helping creators compete against The Man, not one another
↳ To Win: Invite fans in for survival and appeal to their desire to make
+ Related Dive: Influencer Burnout, Passive Income, Creator Clichés

12. Sounds Good 🔊

Audio, the intimate medium, is leveraged to deliver on new visions
Keywords: heal, sonic travel, sound bath, metaverse, AI, personalize, AR

Sound Healing — MBG
Audio Healing — Wunderman Thompson
Audio as Meta Gateway — Sparks & Honey
Audio-Only — Trend Hunter
3D Audio — Wunderman Thompson
Connective Audio — Future Laboratory
Sonic Luxification — Wunderman Thompson
Sonic Branding — Lippincott
Music is Social — Instagram
Music is Visual — Instagram
AI-Generated Music — Deposit

Out: Voice, ASMR, playlists, and audiobooks to entertain and educate
In: Binaural beats, soundscapes, radio, and frequencies to revive and focus
Drivers: screen fatigue, escapism, sensory amplification / deprivation
Lean In By: Connecting people to states and flows, not people or ideas
↳ To Win: Look beyond sonic-branding, focus on background and silence
+ Related Dive: Anti-Social Audio

13. Op-purr-tunity 🐩

The Furbaby Economy booms, their market / products and ours get tangled
Keywords: CBD, pet -spa, -resort, -beauty, -friendly furniture, animal NFT’s

More on Pets — Exploding Topics
CBD Treat — Trend Hunter
Barkitecture — Pinterest
Integrated Furnishing — Trend Hunter
Pet Beauty — Well + Good
Good for Me, Good for Fido — Nourish

Out: Keeping puppy paw prints, pet-friendly, digital tracking
In: Keeping up with the Fido’s, pet-first, digital companions
Drivers: delayed milestones, decline in sex, mental health, cost of families
Lean In By: Helping people feel better by making their “pets” feel better
↳ To Win: Don’t think rationally: definitions of pet / pet product are open
+ Related Dive: Hyper Empathy

14. Feed University 🎓

Screens and social feeds upend desks as education is now omnipresent
Keywords: remote, sprint, masterclass, [profession]-TikTok, Insta slide

In-Feed Syllabuses — We Are Social
Link ‘N Learn — Trend Watching
Thrills & Skills — Trend Watching
Micro Movement — Trend Watching

Out: Bored from learning: slow and expensive curriculum
In: Floored from learning: hyper-relevant and digestible content
Drivers: low / no barriers, long tail, debt, systems failing, multiple truths
Lean In By: Teaching your subject, measuring brand health by curiosity
↳ To Win: Own your category by positioning yourself as the new professor
+ Related Dive: Professional Amateurs, Lifelong Learning

What More?

Subscribe to Zine for:

1. A Meta-Meta retro, analyzing the evolution of five years of Meta Trends
2. Rigorous, quantitative scoring of Meta 22 for sizing + strategy prioritization 3. Future pieces unpacking the more valuable overlooked trends

Matt Klein is a cultural theorist and strategist analyzing the psychosocial implications of our technology to consult on business decisions.

Complete series: The Trending Trends: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 & 2022

This piece is an educational review and does not infringe upon any copyright material as covered by Fair Use, Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 107.



Matt Klein
On Advertising

Cultural Theorist + CyberPsychologist + Strategist. Foresight Lead at Reddit. Newsletter analyzing the overlooked: