2021 is sure to hold a lot of new opportunities and challenges for us all both collectively and as individuals. As ever the new year gives us a chance to wipe the slate clean and think about re-setting our own personal goals.
We're all looking to take on the new year with a new mindset and make it our own, whatever is thrown at us. Team Swifty have put together a list of what we think are likely to be the biggest trends to encourage positive change this year.
Trend 1. Taking Action!
In 2021 we’re all connected. We hear and see the news from all over the world all the time. Viral videos get billions of views, popular songs have millions of streams and marches have hundreds of thousands of attendees. Modern media makes you feel small and somewhat helpless in comparison, but 2021 is the year individuals will start taking action on a wider scale.
The scale of a single person's impact on society is becoming clearer, just look at the likes of Greta Thunberg in 2019. The amount of support and attention she gained was astronomical in such a short time, whether you agree with her message or not the influence is undeniable.
If one person can rock the boat and create such an influence, it’s going to lead to a great deal more people (young and old) getting involved in the issue the world faces. Collectively this will make a huge impact.
The importance of the individual is a topic we’ve discussed on The Swifty Podcast too. In Episode #15 Jason talked with Olympic Bobsledder and Swifty ambassador Toby Olubi who does a lot of work with schools and communities to inspire people to achieve their goals.
When discussing the impact his work has he says ‘It doesn’t have to be on a mass scale, you can affect one or two individuals and you’ve done a great job’. It’s the personal connection of going out and talking to people that resonates with people more nowadays and is going to continue to gather momentum this year.
In a culture that is pushing us to engage with screens more and each other less it’s easy to feel helpless, but in 2021 the global movement for positive progress will see more individuals step up and take action!
We all have things we’d like to change about the world around us, but without action who knows how long we could be waiting for policy change? The likelihood is that you’re not alone in your thinking, everyone’s just waiting for someone to talk up first.
2021 is going to see more of the population having their say, standing up and spearheading movements. Be the change you want to see. Every great movement in the world was started by an individual, so why could that not be you?
Trend 2. Embrace The Slow Movement
Modern society is obsessed with speed. Everything needs to be the fastest it can be, from cars to broadband to deliveries. This year we’re going see popularity in ‘slow culture’ rise as a counter-movement to the endless cycle of short life products.
You don't have to look far to find examples of an industry that wastefully manufactures for the masses. When the attention is on quick profit over being environmentally viable then we need to take another look at how things are run. The public is starting to wake and react up to this. Living ‘slow’ is one of the main ways we’ll see people fighting back against these unsustainable practices in 2021.
Disruptions to supply chains for many industries are likely to be quite a direct way we'll be experiencing this. It may be a trend we're forced to try rather than by choice! It will take longer to get products from certain places, so we'll learn to live without the constant cycle of new amenities, and instead use what we have until we can't anymore.
To embrace slow living is to embrace the idea of buying second hand, from charity shops or small local businesses. To upcycle clothes and mend holes so they can still be worn rather than just chucking them and getting something new. In our current society, we can easily find ourselves in excess of what we need, but the public are starting to fight back against this.
We expect to see a rise in this trend because it’s multi-faceted in the ways it can be adopted to usher in positive change.
Another example of how live ‘slow’ is by scaling down the place you live. There is a growing trend to live in small self-built houses. Many younger generations today are going to struggle to buy a home similar to that of their parents, especially in cities, so this their generations workaround to owning their own place. By scaling back what we need and have we open ourselves up to living more sustainably, making the most of the space available and cutting down on unnecessary expenditure.
A further way we’re likely to see this trend develop is through buying quality products, 'buy well buy once' as the saying goes. People are becoming more willing to spend extra money on quality products that will last and save them in the long term rather than cheap quick solutions. The public are looking for ways to cut down using mass-produced products that use single-use plastics etc, and this is one of the best ways it can be achieved.
Learn how Swifty manufacture our adult scooters to be a durable 'buy for life' product in Episode #5 of The Swifty Podcast
Trend 3. Home Fitness
People will always be looking for ways to get fit and healthy whatever the time of year, but with the ongoing global situation we have lost the ability to rely on the gym. As a result we think we're going to see an increase in the popularity of home fitness in 2021.
We've all found ourselves spending a lot more time at home in 2020 so we know how versatile the spaces can be. Kitchens have become offices, gardens become and the walk down the stairs is the new commute. Just because we can't get outside it hasn't stopped people working out and pushing themselves to new personal bests.
With so many online videos for us to follow along with now we don't need the gym to know how we can improve ourselves and reach our goals. You also don't have any other gym goers to feel intimated by or taking up the equipment you want to use. There are no rules with home fitness, do what you enjoy and makes you feel good.
The rise of this trend is in part one of the reasons we introduced Swifty Fitness to the Swifty brand. We wanted to provide top quality fitness equipment that can comfortably be used in the home!
Our balance board is the first product in our Swifty Fitness range and encapsulates everything that home fitness can be - variable, sustainable, effective and fun!
Balance boarding works by destabilising your lower body which activates muscles in your feet and ankles and up into your legs, hips and core. Using a balance board activates synapses in your brain which helps to improve balance and muscle coordination.
There are a tonne of different ways balance boards can be used to complement you existing workout and give you an extra edge. To learn more and get an idea for how versatile it is head to @SwiftyScootersFitness where we cover balance boarding tips, ideas, benefits and specific exercises!
Trend 4. The Electrification of Everything and Clean Technology
We’ve already mentioned sustainability a couple of times in this blog, as it’s something that should be on everyone’s minds. This 2021 trend is potentially the most important positive movement towards fighting climate change. Moving towards the electrification of everything and embracing ‘clean technology’ (technology that aims to reduce reliance on non-renewable resources and promotes sustainability) is a sure-fire way to move us away from the reliance on fossil fuels.
Due to the climate emergency, the shift towards clean tech is going to gain some serious traction this year. Of course, this will come with its own problems but ultimately through electric power, there is a clear path to ‘zero-carbon electricity’.
Renewable energy, in fact, overtook fossil fuels as the main electricity source in the UK for a record 137 days in 2019. It’s clear there is already positive movement in the industry so it’s our guess (and hope) that this will continue to grow through the year and start being seen in our day to day lives much more.
What is also interesting about the rise of electrifying is that it can be seen at every level. Whether it’s at the scale of factory manufacturing right down to micromobility terms like your e-bike or e-scooter. There is always a way for it to be implemented in our lives.
The rise of electric vehicles is something we’ve seen for a while, it is in fact, one of our main takeaways from our time at Autonomy & the Urban Mobility Summit 2019. At the event, we saw ‘Companies promoting the electrification of travel at every possible stage from walking to trucks’. We have no doubt that this momentum will continue to grow throughout 2021.
Swifty have recently launched our new range of kick assist electric scooters to help people move away from the car and towards a more sustainable way of travelling.
Trend 5. Adopting a Flexitarian Diet
The dictionary definition of a flexitarian is ‘a person whose diet is mostly vegetarian but sometimes includes meat, fish, or poultry’. It’s sometimes also known as ‘casual vegetarianism’ and it is set to be the popular way to eat in 2020. The focus is on making environmentally conscious food choices, limiting your meat-based meals in an average week and shifting bit by bit away from a meat-based diet.
‘If every family in the UK swapped a red meat meal to a plant-based meal just once a week, the environmental impact would be the same as taking 16 million cars off the road.’ This is a staggering fact, is enough to make anyone think twice about their eating habits alone! A recent study has also estimated that going vegan can reduce your carbon footprint by 73%.
So why has vegetarianism and veganism not been more widely adopted?
Jumping ahead to a vegan diet can be too extreme of a shift for a lot of people, many underestimate how much of a lifestyle change it is. In fact, a study showed that around 84% of people that adopted veggie or vegan lifestyles gave up on them and that 53% of them had enough within a year.
Clearly it’s a challenge for those of us that are trying to make the change to our diets. But, what this also shows is there’s a great deal of the population who are actively looking for more sustainable and cruelty-free ways to eat. As you can see below from Google Trends; interest in ‘vegan’ and ‘flexitarian’ has gradually and consistently increased over the past five years. As awareness about the climate crisis grows everyone is looking for a way to do their bit!
The flexitarian diet is going to keep growing in popularity this year for plenty of reasons, whether it’s that shops will be cheaper or the health benefits it brings. For the times that they choose a meat meal flexitarians are embracing seasonal and local produce too. This allows them to be more conscious in their food choices and make sure you’re getting them from sustainable sources. Meat in supermarkets is price-driven, so quality is often sacrificed for profit and inevitably this means it will be significantly less environmentally friendly.
Trend 6. Getting back into Nature
If there’s one thing we can guarantee it’s that cities will continue to grow outwards and upwards in 2020. Inevitably, populations will grow with them. The UN predicts that two-thirds of the world population will live in cities by 2050. To counter this, people are taking a step back from the urban lifestyle that has become the norm and looking to embrace nature again. 2020 will see a growing trend of the number of people actively ‘rewilding’ their lives.
Are you looking to get your family outside to embrace nature? Learn how scooters are the best way to do it!
There’s a rise in the popularity of ‘urban gardening’ be it through window boxes or plants in rooms of your home. Millennials, in particular, are driving the popularity of house plants through the mass embrace of succulents. Low maintenance, relatively cheap and perhaps most importantly 'instagrammable' they're acting like a 'gateway plant' into larger-scale gardening.
Gardens are in general getting smaller so those who have their own are getting creative with the spaces they have and popularity in allotments is on the rise again as people look to do their bit to become self-sufficient.
People living in cities are making the most of the wealth of information available online about how to grow and nurture plants in their home, it’s never been easier to get the information you need. In a study, it was found that ‘82% of Brits would like to attract more wildlife into their gardens’ and ‘37% deem wildlife to be the most appealing garden feature’ so the desire to re-wild our lives is clear!
For those that live in flats without gardens, green spaces in the city are the main way to embracing nature. The ‘average distance to a functional green space in Great Britain was 259m’ so the ability to surround yourself in nature is easier than some think. A study by the European Centre for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter has, in fact, found that living in urban areas with green spaces will have a long-lasting positive impact on your mental health. The growing awareness of mental wellbeing may be one of the reasons we’re looking to get back to connecting with nature.
A lot of people are living without cars so unable to get to one of the many national parks we have in the UK, as a result, they're turning to the green spaces around us. Research from a couple of years ago showed that 'Visits to city parks and green spaces in England were up by 25 per cent in 2016 as compared to 2010'. We have no doubt this will continue to grow exponentially through 2020.
The unfortunate facts are that the nature around us is declining. The 2019 State of Nature Report found that since rigorous scientific monitoring began in the 1970s there has been a 13% decline in average abundance across wildlife studied and that the declines continue unabated. This fact and the growing national understanding of the detrimental effects climate change is causing are going to be key drivers behind this trend gathering further momentum this year.