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Nikkei xTREND Announces Trend Map for the Second Half of 2021

Tokyo, October 12, 2021 – Nikkei Business Publications (President & CEO: Naoto Yoshida; Minato-ku, Tokyo) announced its Trend Map for the Second Half of 2021 with the aim of identifying upcoming trends in the fields of technology, marketing and consumption. The Trend Map was compiled by Nikkei xTREND, a digital news medium focusing on marketing and innovation in the most advanced technologies.

Technology, marketing and consumption are three notable areas that are changing rapidly, and various related buzzwords are emerging in rapid succession. To identify medium-to-long-term trends to watch in these three fields, the Trend Map makes use of the accumulated knowledge of experts from different fields, including reporters from its editorial team and a board of some 50 external advisors. The results of analysis are mapped onto a chart using scores for "current economic impact" and "future potential."

Compared with an earlier survey conducted in the first half of 2021, “token economy” and “GNSS” (“Global Navigation Satellite System”) in the technology field saw the most notable increase in terms of scores for future potential. Growth of significance was also obvious for "CRM” (“Customer Relationship Management”) and "OMO/omnichannel" in the marketing field, as well as "geek consumption" in the consumption field.

As with the category of future potential, “GNSS” and “token economy” were the keywords whose scores for economic impact increased the most in the technology field. In the marketing field, "D2C” (“Direct to Consumer") emerged, as did "OMO/omnichannel." In the consumer field, the keyword "subscription consumption" made great strides.

Increasing Scores for Keywords by Field (compared with the survey from the first half of 2021)

Field Keyword Score Over previous survey
Future potential Technology Token economy 3.81 +0.61
Technology GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) 4.10 +0.33
Marketing CRM (Customer Relationship Management) 4.04 +0.25
Marketing OMO/omnichannel 3.82 +0.22
Consumption Geek consumption 3.74 +0.26
Economic impact Technology GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) 3.57 +0.73
Technology Token economy 2.19 +0.30
Marketing OMO/omnichannel 3.21 +0.40
Marketing D2C (Direct-to-consumer) 2.97 +0.35
Consumption Subscription consumption 3.04 +0.25

Three keywords newly added in the second half of 2021 were "UGC” (“User Generated Content") and "MEO” (“Map Engine Optimization”) in the marketing field and "TikTok selling" in the consumption field. For the marketing field, the previous survey results included the keyword "omnichannel," but it was changed to "OMO/omnichannel" in this survey. In the consumption field, the two separate keywords "sustainable consumption" and "ethical consumption" were integrated into a single keyword, "sustainable ethical consumption".

Future Potential Scores of Newly Added/Integrated Keywords

Field Keyword Future potential score
Marketing UGC (User Generated Content) 3.73
OMO/omnichannel 3.82
MEO (Map Engine Optimization) 3.68
Consumption Sustainable/Ethical consumption 3.89
TikTok selling 3.00

The Trend Map survey for the second half of 2021 was conducted in August 2021, when a state of emergency had been declared for third time in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Major topics covered by the survey are given below. Scores for and details on all keywords in the latest Trend Map were reported in an article published on the Nikkei xTREND website ( on October 12, 2021.

High Scoring Trend Map Keywords for the Second Half of 2021 (top three keywords scoring over 4.00 points)

  Field Keyword Score
Future potential Technology AI (Artificial Intelligence) 4.55
Telemedicine 4.52
Autonomous driving 4.45
Marketing EC (E-commerce) 4.38
D2C (Direct-to-Consumer) 4.17
Subscription commerce 4.07
Consumption Cashless settlement (such as QR code settlement) 4.30
Personalization 4.15
Subscription consumption 4.00
Economic impact Technology Smartphone 4.61
Cloud computing 4.09
Marketing EC (E-commerce) 4.21
Consumption NA ---

Examples of Technology Keywords in Trend Map for Second Half of 2021

Examples of Technology Keywords in Trend Map for Second Half of 2021

Trend Map Highlights for the Second Half of 2021

The scores for the “token economy” surged in terms of future potential and economic impact in the technology field

The booming "NFT” (“Non-Fungible Token”) trend, which has been attracting numerous Japanese companies entering the market this year, is seen as being behind the growing attention given to the token economy. Resembling crypto-assets such as Bitcoin, NFTs are based on blockchain (distributed ledger) technology and share transaction data involving a large number of computers connected to the Internet, which makes it extremely difficult to tamper with them. The digital marketplace is expected to grow if the rarity of digital data is guaranteed in the same way as is possible for precious art pieces, and if data have financial-asset-like values.

Similarly, "metaverse” (a kind of virtual space) is a keyword that received a great deal of business attention in 2021. The metaverse will allow participants to interact with each other using avatars on the Internet. Since the concept of the metaverse fits with that of with NFTs, it is expected to remain in the spotlight as a technology that will create a large-scale economic zone within the virtual world.

In the marketing field, “OMO/omnichannel” saw its scores increase for future potential and economic impact

Because the stay-at-home movement has become widespread due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the e-commerce market is expanding rapidly. As more consumer activities will continue to take place online, the concept of “OMO/omnichannel” is gathering growing interest as a post-COVID-19 business strategy for guiding consumers to a holistic experience that connects stores and e-commerce sites.

According to the survey, the future potential score for "CRM” (“Customer Relationship Management”) surged sharply. If the advancement of the OMO/omnichannel concept allows the storage of customer data both on and off the Internet, there is a possibility that CRM could become more sophisticated than it is now. In the future, it will be even more necessary to create a digital mechanism to connect directly with consumers and build relationships with them.

The future potential score of “geek consumption” surged rapidly in the consumption field, on the back of “oshi-katsu” fan activities among members of Generation Z

“Geek consumption” saw its future potential score increase in the consumption field, most probably on the back of the growing “oshi-katsu” boom in Generation Z. Oshi-katsu is the act of showing devotion (= “katsu”) to favorite performers or anime characters (= “oshi”). On Instagram, a hashtag that in English would read as “Life with my oshi” has garnered over 817,000 posts.

Moreover, many people are enthusiastic about making personalized goods featuring their favorite characters. Examples include "oshi glasses," which are drinking glasses covered with transparent tape sporting the name of a favorite character written with an oil marker pen, and “trading card case decoration,” in which stickers and rhinestones are used to decorate a transparent box used for collections of trading cards of a favorite character. Finding ways to incorporate or create such strong consumer enthusiasm into products and services will be of key importance for successful future sales.

Survey Method for Trend Map for Second Half of 2021
The survey was conducted from mid-to-late August 2021. The Nikkei xTREND editorial team selected 28 keywords in technology, 29 keywords in marketing, and 28 keywords in consumption. People who know about these keywords were then asked to judge the economic impact and the future potential of each keyword on a scale of one to five points. The following alternatives were provided to answer the questions.

[Economic impact]
1. No corporate profitability / 2. Profitable for a handful of companies (10-20%) / 3. Profitable for some companies (30-50%) / 4. Profitable for most companies (60-80%) / 5. Essential for society as a whole

[Future potential (= contribution to corporate profitability and impact on social transformation)]
1. Low future potential / 2. Somewhat low future potential / 3. Neutral / 4. Somewhat high future potential / 5. High future potential

[About Nikkei xTREND]
Nikkei xTREND ( ) is a digital medium that delivers updates on marketing strategies, product development and new business creation in relation to advanced technologies. We feature in-depth news based on data and case studies at the forefront of new product development by companies as well as marketing and business strategies changing with the progress of digital technologies. This assists with the identification of key elements in “hot-selling products” and “new service development.” Nikkei xTREND delivers its news mainly through its website and smartphone site, targeting a broad range of business professionals involved in corporate business planning, new business development, product planning/development, IT systems, marketing, sales and customer relationships.

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