1: The need to protect oneself from the harsh, unpredictable realities of the outside world.
2: One of 17 known cultural and societal undercurrents, first identified by Faith Popcorn, whose shifting dimensions reflect the human experience as it evolves to define future consumer behavior.
In the early 80s, Faith detected a deep shift in the way people were living their lives. Over were the heady days of staying out all night partying, as seen in the 70s. Restaurants had tables sitting empty on Saturday night. Being worn-out, overstimulated and exhausted became a “thing” – and tech enabled it. Cable TV beamed movies into the home. Soon, the birth of the Internet allowed us to search for and book reputable in-home services – from massages to prepared meals. A new era was dawning, and Faith Popcorn identified it, and in 1981, she coined the term “Cocooning,” which took off in popular culture and eventually became so well-known and often-used that it even landed in the dictionary. Nesting rose to prominence in new ways: Martha Stewart, the queen of Cocooning, was growing her empire; the extraordinary success, especially for women, of working from home; and the expansion of gated communities.
Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve has advised many businesses on how to harness this Trend: The team collaborated with IBM on the PS1, the first home computer and helped a top-tier hotel company understand the need for smart, curated lodging that borrowed the best from one’s home environment. In an ongoing consulting relationship with a Fortune 200 company, Faith and her Trend strategists developed the model for on-demand, home-delivered dinners; the team also helped a legacy beverage develop a home- and family-based brand positioning (versus their long-standing “on-the-go” imagery) that reinvigorated their business.
Cocooning has only strengthened since its inception and taken many different forms. The Armored Cocoon is evolving as tech leaders and the wealthy are snapping up luxurious bunkers, housed in former missile silos, in case Armageddon comes. Elsewhere, the Regenerative Cocoon is being pioneered: homes that foster optimal health by responding to your biodata and mood indicators to seamlessly create a perfect bubble of protective and life-lengthening wellness. The Mobile Cocoon is also morphing. It was once embodied by pumped-up SUVs lifting drivers above mere sedans and insulating them from the dangers of the road. Now, it has transformed as driverless cars become on-the-move pods with room for work, play, rest – and connecting with friends and family. Imagine a luxe hotel room on wheels, wending its way through time and space. Home will be wherever you and your pod are.
Cocooning continues to drive cultural shifts, expressing the desire for safety, comfort and privacy as the outside world proves wearing-and-tearing and un-navigable. Our civilization is looking for more and more protection as political divisiveness grows; rogue germs (like Candida auris) that don’t respond to medications spread; and crazy weather – like the floods caused by Cyclone Idai in Africa – surges.
Cocooning and the Being Alive (or wellness) Trend often cluster. Consumers increasingly crave health and medical services in their own homes, leading to the explosive growth of tele-medicine, and on-demand, bot-delivered care.
Another common Trend pairing: Cocooning and Cashing Out, in which people crave a simpler, less-stressed lifestyle. The rising interest in Digital Nomadism is redefining what Cocooning looks like: Home is still a retreat and a safety zone, but it’s going global, with networks of “home bases” being created for those who want to wander.
Tomorrow’s trends, Today