The 2020 trend reports predict the colors, styles, places, and products we’ll be seeing a lot more of this year.
Stories Stephanie Wilson
In the Information Age we’re living in, it’s increasingly becoming a borderless world. The lines are blurring—gender, age, season, personal or professional, conscious consumption but still consumers. We’re more connected than we’ve ever been—to information, to one another, to the planet’s pulse. We emit data. To companies, we are data. And that data tells us that there may be a lot that divides us, but there’s more that unites us.
“Every industrial revolution was catalyzed by a major technological evolution,” according to Deloitt’s first “Global Marketing Trends” report. “Today is no different. With 90 percent of the world’s data having been produced in the last two years and more than 26 billion smart devices in circulation, we are living in an era of unprecedented technological innovation—one that has spurred the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
This is the time of year when the companies collecting and analyzing the data we put out there in hopes of capitalizing on our dollars either by influencing direct spending or capturing and monetizing our attention release their findings and predictions about what topics, colors, and styles are going to shape the year to come. The color and fashion predictions are more speculative than quantifiable, and they are coming out of disparate parts of the industry. Sure, it makes sense for a stock photography site like Shutterstock to say what colors are captivating users now; a brand of painter’s tape isn’t quite as qualified to announce 2020 home design trends. Not that it stopped FrogTape from recruiting a celebrity interior designer to do just that.
To create their forecasts, Pinterest, Etsy, and Facebook comb through years of data, crunch a lot of numbers, and release reports filled with delightful info and insight bloggers pour over and magazines report. (Guilty!)
Pinterest determines what ideas are trending by looking at what its 320 million users around the globe are searching for. If an idea keeps getting more and more searches each month and that trajectory holds steady for six months: it’s a trend. “In a time when so much seems to divide us, these ideas represent what we share in common—from every day inspiration to the epic dreams-for-someday stuff,” reads the Pinterest 100, is the company’s annual report, released each December, showing what’s next, with ideas across a bunch of categories, including food, home, style, beauty, health, travel, and family. This year, Pinterest organized the trends into 10 themes that show broader cultural shifts and changes in consumer behavior. It’s wildly interesting, made especially so by telling us just how many more searches for a particular topic trended up in global search volumes from August 2017 to July 2018 and August 2018 to July 2019.
The topics are broken into 10 defined categories. There’s “Beyond binary,” because more products and services are moving beyond gendered labels and structured options. Searches for “gender neutral names list” were up 301 percent, “gender neutral haircut” by 625 percent. “Conscious consumption” finds that a push for more eco-friendly habits is changing how we live—from everyday choices to life’s biggest milestones. “Low-waste lifestyle” is up 446 percent. “Solar light crafts,” up 427 percent. “Thrift store crafts,” up 2,276 damn percent.
But that’s not even half of the biggest spike. That comes from the “90s rerun” category, where ’90s cartoons, grunge fashion, and music all captured attention. But the largest and truthfully most shocking item on the entire list is “hair scrunchie,” up 6,309 percent.
Other topics: space everything, responsible travel, re-wilding, internationally inspired, finding balance, home hub, and pampered pets. In the coming months, don’t be surprised if you see pieces on the benefits of sea moss, ylang ylang essential oil, art therapy, and cucumber juice in your media feeds. If you find out what bushcraft camping is, let me know.
Queries for the topic were up 1,069 percent. Etsy takes a similar approach to Pinterest to put together its beloved trend report, looking for searches and purchases of items in categories on the rise. It declared 2020 the “year of purpose,” predicting shoppers will be focusing on what’s important to them and what’s important to the world, making meaningful change and carefully considering their purchases.
Etsy trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson says color-blocking is hot in home decor, ’80s ensembles are the hit style, couples coordinating coats is a rising wedding trend, pampered pets is here to stay, and bespoke beauty is the result of buyers’ attentiveness to what they’re putting on their faces and bodies. Etsy offers them bespoke options that are one of a kind.
Chartreuse is Etsy’s pick for the color of the year—a bold choice. The shade falls right in the middle of yellow and green, known for increasing energy, encouraging unconventional thinking, and evoking feelings of growth and harmony. And, Johnson tells us, a nod to all of the ’80s neons making a comeback right now.
“It’s daring, statement-making, and unexpected—exactly what we’re all trying to embrace in the new year,” Johnson says. “I predict we’ll see this tone showing up everywhere from home goods to wardrobes. We’re already seeing shoppers jumping on the trend with searches increasing for various green tones.”
It’s starkly different than the shade the color experts at the Pantone Color Institute announced as the color of the year. Each December for the past 20 years, Pantone has released its selection of trending colors, chosen not by number but by instincts and the trained eyes of the world’s leading color authorities, who try to capture the mood of the moment with the selection, described by Pantone as “a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.”
For 2020, Pantone’s pick is Classic Blue, a timeless and enduring hue that the company asserts is elegant in its simplicity, suggestive of the sky at dusk, and its reassuring qualities “highlight our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.”
Leatrice Esieman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, elaborated on the selection in a press statement. “We are living in a time that requires trust and faith. It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on. Imbued with a deep resonance, Classic Blue provides an anchoring foundation. A boundless blue evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky, Classic Blue encourages us to look beyond the obvious to expand our thinking; challenging us to think more deeply, increase our perspective and open the flow of communication.”
The shade isn’t too different than Phantom Blue, a rich navy with significant depth that Shutterstock predicts to be a color on the rise in its “2020 Color Trends Report.” The company expects bold, saturated hues to dominate creative campaigns this upcoming year. By analyzing billions of pixel data from images downloaded, the report reveals which colors had the greatest growth between 2018 and 2019. Along with the dramatic blue, two other colors made the list: lush lava, a noticeably warm, fiery orange-red color that draws attention, and Aqua Menthe, a vivid cyan-tinged mint shade that conveys a playful, modern, and outgoing brand personality.
All of these hues and trends were seen on the runways for SS20, meaning top fashion designers don’t follow trends, they set them. The collections showed in the fall undoubtedly directed some of the “color of the year” declarations made by companies leading up to the start of this year—many of which came with a “back to nature” message.
The takeaway: Every shade of green inspired by nature and blues, both bold and subdued, look as great when paired with brilliant accents as they do when met with neutral hues.