Trend Tracking: 2022 Baby & Kids Macro Trends

Angie Smith for TIME

First forecast over two years ago, our 2022 Baby & Kids Macro Trends identify an overwhelming desire to regain connection and control, whether that’s with ourselves, our children or the world around us. For some families, this provokes very insular and inward behaviours, where protecting individual interests is the utmost priority. For others, a more globally-minded approach is adopted, with children and caregivers doing everything they can to protect people and the planet.

Here we take a look at how brands are beginning to respond to the key shifts and opportunities identified in two of our 2022 Baby & Kids Macro Trends: Youth Revolution and Play Therapy.

Macro Trend 2022: Youth Revolution
What’s driving this trend?

From climate change and mental health to systemic racism, progressive youth are fronting the fight for a better, more compassionate world and won’t stop until they achieve it. Apathy is traded for action as children and their parents rally together to revolt against social injustice, gender disparities, environmental damage and economic inequality. Brands and businesses are urged to do the same and those who fail to respond, readdress the balance and align themselves with an increasingly diverse society, risk being perceived as outdated or obsolete.

TrendBible Baby & Kids 2022 Macro Trend Report

What we said: In 2022 Baby & Kids Macro Trends we’ll see the most forward-thinking brands take steps towards shaping the new landscape of gender by adopting a beyond-binary approach.

What we saw:

  • Lego announced it was to remove gender bias from its toys. This followed findings of a child survey which found 71% of boys surveyed feared they would be made fun of if they played with what they described as ‘girls’ toys’ – a fear also shared by their parents.
  • In the same week, a new law in California was announced, requiring large retailers to create non-gendered children’s toy sections in stores by 2024. Those who fail to meet the requirements by January 1st 2024 will face a $250 fine for their first offence and $500 for subsequent violations. It applies only to ‘retail department stores that are physically located in California that have a total of 500 or more employees across all California retail department store locations.’
  • In January, Sims 4 developers announced plans to introduce fully customisable non-binary and gender-neutral pronouns during a developer Livestream. Whilst still a work in progress, the feature will allow players to select and customise their preferred pronouns.

Macro Trend 2022: Play Therapy
What’s driving this trend?

From a world in a state of constant stimulation, emerges a new understanding and appreciation of sensory withdrawal. In response, softer forms of stimulation come to the fore, aimed to soothe children rather than overstimulate. Following increasing concerns of a childhood mental health epidemic, achieving a greater state of wellbeing is high on the agenda. The home becomes a cocoon of calm and tranquillity, allowing children and parents to carve out time for introspection, facilitating focus and being in tune with the deep thoughts within themselves and those around them.

TrendBible Baby & Kids 2022 Macro Trend Report

What we said: With such a focus on emotional wellbeing, creating calming, anxiety-reducing sensorial experiences becomes a key opportunity area for designers. In response, play therapy methods and sensory development, once only associated with autism, moves into the mainstream, placing emphasis on therapeutic play for all children.

What we saw:

  • Early signs of this trend was spotted in 2021 as Headspace and Sesame Workshop teamed Up to Help Kids Wind Down with Goodnight, World! Podcast.
  • Maloka became the world’s first mobile and VR meditation game where you can recharge in zen locations across the universe. It offers guided meditation using psychedelic patterns that are designed to encourage you to align your breathing, an entrancing alternative to closing your eyes.
  • Mindfulness app Calm launched a dedicated kids section filled with lullabies, bedtime stories and guided meditations to meet a growing demand from parents for content that improves the mental health of children. The app is partnering with DreamWorks Animation to launch Kung Fu Panda content and has teamed up with singer P!nk to create a new series- both will launch in 2022.

Our Baby & Kids Macro Trend reports are an essential insight resource for developing commercially successful product ranges, ad campaigns and marketing strategies for products used or consumed in and around the home. Join our trend platform free membership to see how more brands have responded to the key opportunities identified in our 2022 Macro Trend report. You can also download a free demo of our 2024 Macro Report as part of your free membership.