Coined by the American futurologist John Naisbitt (1982), the term “megatrends” refers to global, long-term, and profound transformation processes which affect not only the economy but also the society, politics, the environment, and technology. Megatrends act slowly and gradually over decades and occur with probability bordering on certainty. They are overarching trends that affect other short- and medium-term trends and can reinforce each other.
Megatrends, whether individually or in combination, have an impact on customer needs and consumer behavior. Trend research as a strategic planning tool allows organizations to detect and assess such changes in the market early on. This can help to reduce potential risks and create new opportunities for development and innovation, which in turn can lead to competitive advantages. The identification and proper interpretation of megatrends may thus result in an adjustment of the vision and strategic objectives of an organization.
Naisbitt, J. (1982). Megatrends. Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives. New York: Warner Books.