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Accenture Life Trends 2023

Explore the evolving power dynamic between people and businesses


This year, people are seeking ways to adapt in an uncertain world.​

Emerging technologies are giving control to people, with never-before-seen outcomes for businesses and individuals.

Artificial intelligence (AI) lets people express their natural creativity, Web3 offers the chance to help shape the brands they love, and tokenization may soon hand them full control over their personal data.

These seemingly small shifts in control will alter power dynamics on a systemic level. Business leaders must wonder: How much of themselves will customers be willing to give to brands? How will brands build trust and use new technologies for growth?

Building on the 15-year legacy of Fjord Trends, this report—Accenture Life Trends 2023—has the same inspiring content. This year's report is rooted in life centricity and examines the ways in which people are adapting their lives and making use of emerging technology to meet their changing needs.

We’ve identified five emerging trends that will alter the power dynamic between brands and customers in the coming 12 months and beyond.

5 trends

People are internalizing instability as a norm. How they adapt will affect what they buy and how they view brands and employers–and companies need to be ready. 

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New technologies are enabling a new wave of community-first, product-later models that will transform loyalty programs into true relationships.

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The return to the office is not yet a success and leaders need to redesign their solution with clarity of purpose at the core and a life-centric approach to getting employees on board. 

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Once a tool for repetitive tasks, AI has become a co-pilot that’s available to everyone as part of their creative process, and organizations have decisions to make. 

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People may soon regain control of their data through digital wallets, and the devil is in the detail when we design to help ensure adoption.

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AI-generated art: Approach

Learn about our approach to creating the images you see here and in the full report, a true partnership between our creative team and generative AI.

Trend 1: I will survive

The world’s in a “permacrisis,” but we’ll adapt.

The world is lurching from one global catastrophe to the next. Pandemic, war, extreme political division, cost of living crises, and the increasingly tangible impacts of climate change—the challenges are coming from every direction.

But, as they have for millennia, people will adapt. This time, they’re switching between four responses: fight, flight, focus and freeze.

The way people adapt will affect what they buy, how they view brands and their employers. For example, families seeking to make ends meet are cutting back on non-essentials like media and subscription services, resulting in a phenomenon dubbed the “Great Cancellation.”

People are canceling gym memberships, pausing contributions to pensions, and abandoning health and life insurance policies. The cost of living crisis may also exacerbate loneliness, as one of the first expenses people drop will be their social activities.

As people internalize instability as a norm, they will evolve into new versions of themselves. The by-product of that evolution will be the generation of products and services that are defined by their choices.

How people are adapting


Fight: People will increasingly raise their voices against injustice


Flight: People will look for alternative options


Focus: People will cope by focusing on what they can control


Freeze: People will switch off entirely

Trend 2: I’m a believer

Building a community will be essential to growing a customer base.

In an unstable world, people seek out places where they feel they belong. As a result, next-gen brands will be built as communities first, reshaping loyalty and brand participation.

Three threads are converging to enable this model: communities of belonging, token-gated access to content and experiences, and digital collectibles.

Crucially, technology isn’t the most interesting thing about the model for customers—companies should focus on benefits

Already thinking this way is Starbucks, whose tokenized loyalty program, Odyssey, is introducing Web3 to the mass-market by focusing on rewards and brand engagement. Starbucks CMO Brady Brewer commented, “It happens to be built on blockchain and Web3 technologies, but the customer may not even know that what they’re doing is interacting with blockchain technology. It’s just the enabler.”

These Web3 developments will almost certainly give brands significantly more direct contact with and influence over their community, but they will have decisions to make around the dynamic. For instance, will they treat participants as customers, or as part of the brand

Three threads enabling the model


Communities of belonging: On platforms like Reddit, Discord and Twitch


Token-gating: Exclusive access reserved for “token holders only”


Collectibles: Digital arts, autographs, trading cards and more

Trend 3: As it was

Return to office isn’t yet a success for many—it still needs work

Everyone’s felt the loss of intangible office benefits like chance encounters, in-person fun, and development of junior talent. Now, the consequences are becoming clear, including unwanted compromises in mentorship, innovation, culture and inclusion.

Instead of continuing to improve what exists, companies should completely reimagine work, and set out to earn people’s commute by designing for both tangibles and intangibles. They will need to lead with a clarity of purpose, and prioritize factors like fun, validation, team dynamics and outcomes.

There’s a tension brewing between those who enjoy the autonomy of remote work and those who crave the rewards of being together. This is about shaping a new value exchange between employer and employees beyond money vs output.

Leaders will need to go back to the drawing board and create logical, mutually beneficial plans, with a life-centric approach. Make no mistake: it’ll take more than drafting new policy. Leadership needs to put their full weight behind shaping and driving a brand new approach.

Making the return to office a success


Define clarity of purpose, then clarity of policies


Earn people’s commute with the promise of community


Rethink rituals, tools and spaces with a focus on intangibles

Trend 4: OK, creativity

AI is becoming people’s co-pilot for creativity.

Until now, neural networks and artificial intelligence (AI) has mainly been used by enterprises to automate processes or services for people. That’s all changing, as neural networks are suddenly widely available to help anyone create language, images and music—putting AI squarely in people’s hands as a co-pilot for their creativity.

Brands and companies need to get on top of this right now, because developments are hitting the market at an astonishing speed. The pace of change is so extreme, it likely won’t be long before AI can create metaverse worlds.

As with all new tech, questions remain around ethics. If an artist’s original work becomes embedded in AI-generated content, how will copyright issues be unpicked?

Human creatives will need to upskill to use the tools, and pay close attention to their craft to ensure quality of output. Companies should think about how they will stand out in the sea of AI-generated content. How can these new AI tools enhance the speed and originality of innovation?

AI is helping people create


Language: Copy for blogs, emails and articles (plus human editing)


Sound: Music as raw audio in a variety of genres and artistic styles


Images: Artworks using text prompts and even other images

Trend 5: Signed, sealed, delivered

Digital wallets could end the digital identity crisis.

The use (and misuse) of personal data is long overdue for a transformation, but control could soon switch hands. Digital wallets containing tokens (representing payment methods, ID, loyalty cards and more) will allow people to gatekeep their own data. They’ll be able to make decisions about exactly what they share with organizations, and for how long they have access to it.

Non-profit technology consortium, The Linux Foundation, has launched the Open Wallet Foundation (OWF) with a mission to “develop a secure, multi-purpose, open-source engine anyone can use to build interoperable wallets.”

This is all great news for brands too. As cookies are phased out, the data they used to yield won’t be missed, as the data that people choose to hand over will be even more valuable. It’ll be accurate and shared voluntarily, giving conversion rates a much-needed boost.

Building customer confidence in digital wallets could be a challenge but one worth facing head-on. The technology exists and it works. Although it’s early days, companies can accelerate adoption in several ways.

The route to digital wallet adoption


Show people that data control is worth the time investment


Make tokens easy to obtain and use in day-to-day transactions


Help people understand a wallet’s function beyond payments


Understand the permission levels people can grant businesses

Get the full picture

The coming shifts in control and power will lead to a new picture of progress.

New power dynamics will present incredible opportunities for businesses to develop relationships with customers like never before. Loyalty and participation are at a tipping point, and creativity is on the edge of unlimited possibility. Are you ready for the aftershocks? Read the report for the full picture.

AI-generated art: approach

Using the power of AI to tell our story, our designers pulled words and phrases from the trends as initial prompts, then worked together with the tech to produce the final artworks. Generative AI presents incredible opportunities and creative ways of doing business with endless possibilities as it becomes a co-pilot for creativity and life.

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Mark Curtis

Global Sustainability and Thought Leadership Lead – Accenture Song

Katie Burke

Global Thought Leadership Lead – Accenture Song

Nick de la Mare

North America Design Lead – Accenture Song

Agneta Björnsjö

Global Research Lead – Accenture Song