Futurist Faith Popcorn and her BrainReserve company have a pretty good track record on spotting trends. Back in 1981, she predicted the Cocooning trend, people staying at home and cocooning there. Then in 2008, she envisioned it would intensify with her prediction of Über-cocooning, brought on by the economic downturn, causing people to retrench even more inside their homes with the option of many new at-home digital options for entertainment and socialization. Now she has come out with her predictions for 2016. She now predicts that Über-cocooning is getting more extreme and evolving into a new lifestyle trend she has labeled as Bunkering.
With Bunkering, Faith sees Americans seeking safety and an escape from reality by retreating into the seclusion of their homes, brought on by fear from the Paris attacks (and now the most recent ones in Brussels), natural disasters, multiple mass shootings in the US, other bad news, and most of all ISIS. 74% of Americans are worried ISIS will strike in the US. For many people, the outside world has become a very stressful and scary place. Today people can watch movies via the Internet, binge watch TV shows, order groceries and restaurant meals that are delivered to their door, bank and socialize with friends and family via their digital technologies, all from the secure comfort of their own home. In many professions we can now work from home. And with all the digital options, people can escape reality by bunkering down in their homes. They no longer have to leave their homes for the scary outside world, and that is exactly what many are doing, or at least minimizing their trips away from home.
Faith says there is a new associated lifestyle trend underway with Digital Cocoons (people who cocoon in their homes with digital technology), which will be carefully curated to reinforce our beliefs and buffer us from anxiety. She sees the Internet sheltering us in what she calls curated connections in PLUs pods (people like you) - we connect with people from around the corner and around the world with like beliefs, values and interests, what you might think of as digital clans. Unlike the third places of the past, such as coffee shops, the digital world has becomes the new third place where we hang out, in the safety of our home bunkers, wearing pajamas if we want.
Our company has written a number of articles about this disruptive digitally enabled retreat into our homes. We call it the digitalization of place. Just about everything you once had to leave your home to do at some other place can now be done from your home via digital technology. Heck, today even criminals no longer even have to leave home to steal money. We call this new breed of thieves cyber criminals.
So, what Faith Popcorn is predicting is that even more so than in the past, just staying home is becoming even more serious competition to location-based entertainment, social and other leisure venues. This definitely raises the bar of what it will take to people to leave their digital cocoons in their bunkered homes to visit a location-based entertainment facility.
Additional reading in this issue: