2020 – how will life likely change for you?

Expect huge technological advances that will be experienced by almost everyone on the planet, changes in driving habits and vehicle types, working modes, large scale migration to cities in many countries, continued growth and rising affluence in the developing world and the beginnings of distributed power: away from central power generation among many others.
What is changing?


  • By 2020 there could be 26-50 billion things connected to theInternet.
  • Global Internet access is projected to reach almost 5 billion users by 2020.
  • Mobile connected devices are expected to increase globally from 6 billion in 2012 to 12 billion by 2020.
  • 75% of business will be digital businesses or preparing to become one.
  • There will be 40,000 Exabyte’s of data by 2020.
  • Gartner predicts an increase in total spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) to climb from $69.5 billion next year to $263 billion in 2020.
  • Wireless technology enabled by advancement in cellular networks, satellite networks, RFID, Wi-FI and WiMax will lead to IT infrastructure and other services to be 80% wireless on a single integrated platform in 2020.
  • Data centers are expected to register the highest annual growth rate of 13 percent per year between 2011 and 2020.
  • More than 50 percent of analytics implementations will make use of event data streams generated from instrumented machines, applications, and/or individuals.
  • In 2020, 30% of new cars will have a “driverless mode”.
  • Over 90% of cars sold will be connected.


  • Consumers will buy $1.4 trillion worth of goods and services in 2020.
  • Cloud service will be the primary IT consumption source for 90 percent of individuals and enterprises.
  • Global mobile broadband subscriptions are predicted to reach 8.4 billion by 2020.
  • Mobile data traffic is expected to rise at a CAGR of around 40 percent (2014-2020).
  • More than 45 million electric bicycles, cars, buses and trucks are expected to be sold annually. Electric vehicle sales could be up 25% by 2020.
  • China will be selling around three million luxury cars while the U.S. will be selling around 2.3 million.
  • Consumer data collected from wearable devices will drive 5% of sales from the global 1000 firms.


  • Nominal global GDP will increase by ~5% annually between 2012 and 2020.
  • Google Inc. will be the first $1 trillion company by market capitalization.
  • Cloud platforms will generate $44 billion in revenue by 2020.
  • Cloud computing could create $3.72 trillion in value by 2020.
  • Distributed power applications will account for 42 percent of global capacity additions.
  • Smart Cities will create huge business opportunities with a market value of USD1.5 trillion by 2020.
  • Assets owned by mass affluent and HNWI investors are expected to rise to more than $100 trillion and $76 trillion respectively by 2020.
  • Asian economies will account for 40 per cent of world GDP in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms by 2020.
  • Western Europe, which isn’t expected to reach pre-financial crisis levels until 2020, accounts for only 12% of global spending now and is projected to generate less than 10% by 2025.


  • Over 60% of world’s population is will live in cities that are networked and integrated.
  • The urban population is expected to grow globally from 3.6 billion (as of 2010) to 4.3 billion (in 2020) and to 5 billion in 2030.
  • The size of the global middle class could increase from 1.8 billion people to 3.2 billion by 2020 and to 4.9 billion by 2030.
  • At least 70 million new consumers are expected to enter the global middle class each year.
  • 90 percent of the world’s population over 6 years old will have a mobile phone.
  • Millennials will account for one-third of the adult population by 2020 and 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.


  • Agricultural yields are projected to be halved in some countries and 15 million children may be malnourished.
  • By 2020 yields from rain-dependent agriculture could decrease by 50% due to climate change.
  • Between 30 percent and 40 percent of the planet will no longer have direct access to clean drinking water.
  • Distributed power will grow 40 percent faster than global electricity demand between now and 2020.
  • Shale oil could displace around 35-40% of waterborne crude oil imports to the US.
  • Cyber-attacks fallout could cost the global economy $3 trillion by 2020.


  • More than 40% of the American workforce, or 60 million people, will be freelancers, contractors and temp workers.
  • At least 60% of jobs in 2020 will require some degree of higher education.
  • More than 2 billion jobs will just disappear out of the market.
  • 1.9 to 3.5 million jobswill be created by robots by 2020

If you are in one of these groups you will almost certainly need to know just how the above dramatic changes are going to impact upon your organization in the next five years and to know when and know how to respond.

Planners | Innovators | Risk managers | Marketers | Consultants| Change agents | Researchers Portfolio managers |Security advisers | Educators HR managers 

A deep understanding of how these changes will affect you, your competitors and stakeholders is a pre-requisite for good strategy building, agility and resilience building today and ultimate success.

Try answering our fast, ‘Fit for the future‘ global survey and see if you have what it takes to be successful in the next five years and where your opportunities to quickly improve are.

Learn more
To find the sources and more resources on Shaping Tomorrow about the future of medicine some of which were used in this Trend Alert. View 2020 report.

Also, click here to find out how Shaping Tomorrow can help your organization rapidly assess and respond to these and other key issues affecting your business.


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