Top 7 Mega Trends Set to Define 2025

by Josh Howarth
June 6, 2024

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This is our list of the most important megatrends set to define 2025.

Specific trends are emerging that are certain to impact the global economy and business practices.

Businesses will need to explore new technology that can drive efficiency and profits if they want to remain competitive in the coming years. They’ll be faced with changing their perspective on how and where their employees work.

In this report we’ll focus on how businesses and investors can remain agile, constantly coming up with new solutions to tackle the challenges of 2025 and beyond.

1. Generative AI leads to new risks (and opportunities)

Generative AI has the potential to completely transform business, governments and culture in 2025.

Searches for "Generative AI" have increased by 9,100% over the last 2 years. 

Whether generative AI becomes a net positive or negative for society remains to be seen.

For skeptics, there are concerns about generative AI displacing the existing knowledge workforce.

In fact, it's estimated that AI could replace upwards of 300 million jobs over the next few years.

Goldman Sachs recently told the BBC that 300 million jobs could be replaced with AI.

Even if AI has a moderate impact on the job market, fears around AI taking people's jobs is on the rise.

In fact, nearly a third of all workers earning less than $50k/year are concerned that their job could be replaced with an AI tool.

However, AI also has the potential to create new jobs as well.

Some tech experts see AI as just another tool that will increase overall productivity.

So in the short term people may lose their jobs. But over the long term, AI may end up creating more jobs than it replaces.

For example, LLMs like ChatGPT (which acquired millions of users in record time), has led to growing demand for new roles including:

  • Prompt engineers
  • Deep learning engineers
  • AI ethics specialists
  • LLM developers

2. Rising inflation impacts a wide range of industries

Inflation is still hovering near all-time highs

Search interest in the “inflation rate” has increased 59% in 5 years.

For small and large companies alike, issues with inflation stand front and center: increased costs, reduced inventory, raised prices, and narrow profit margins.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index reported that 22% of small business owners view inflation as their single most important business problem.

Goldman Sachs reports similar findings. Their survey results say 84% of small business owners are feeling increased pressure due to inflation, and 76% of those people say inflation is hurting their financial outcomes.


NBC News recently reported on one example of how inflation impacts small businesses.

An event space owner hosted a wedding in March. But after paying expenses like flowers, decorating supplies, and rentals, she only made $25.

In a broader example, manufacturing companies are experiencing extreme pressure on their input costs.

For example, in February 2022, the cost of aluminum was at an all-time high, increasing 15% since the beginning of the year.

An S&P Global survey reported that inflationary pressures are “severe” in the manufacturing sector. In April, input prices were at the highest they’d been in the previous four months, they reported.

Nearly 70% of manufacturers say inflation is likely to remain elevated in the coming year.


Experts say some manufacturing firms will absorb these price increases internally, but at least a portion of the higher prices will be passed onto the consumer.

Real estate is one industry that can prove to be a hedge against inflation.

Zillow reports that the average home value in the United States has increased more than 24% over the past two years, making this a prime industry for investors and sellers.

Zillow’s home value index shows a steep increase in real estate prices that correlates with the increase in the inflation rate.

The energy industry is also expected to fare well in this inflationary period. Demand for oil and natural gas will continue, and the energy industry is expected to continue passing costs onto consumers.

3. Rapid adoption of technology continues

When McKinsey surveyed nearly 900 C-level executives, they found that their adoption of digital products and services jumped ahead six years as a result of the pandemic.

Post-pandemic, businesses are paying even more attention to their organization’s "digital transformation" - search volume has increased by 59% in 5 years.

In 2025, we expect companies across all industries to accelerate their tech spending. 

One survey showed that 60% of companies are increasing their investment in tech and 61% are increasing the number of staff members devoted to tech solutions.

Increases in tech budgets have been reported every year since 2015, excluding 2020.

As many sectors of the economy deal with labor shortages, automation is one solution we expect to see companies utilize in the coming years.

In the past two years, the healthcare industry experienced significant shifts in the use of tech solutions.

Experts say automated medical solutions aimed at reducing staff errors, enhancing patient safety, and providing a high ROI will dramatically expand in the coming years.

Another example is companies putting capital expenditure behind AI technology. Whether that's specialized chips, mainframes or simply Open AI credits.

For example, Meta is expected to spend $40 billion in capex in 2024 (largely on AI solutions). 

4. Hybrid work environments become the norm

According to a Gallup poll, 54% of American jobs can be done in a hybrid work environment.

Gallup reports that the majority of jobs in the US can be done with an in-office/remote mix. 

While some businesses may still be insisting that workers come into the office every day, most are not.

A Buffer survey showed that 72% of employees say their company is permanently allowing some amount of remote work. That’s up from 46% in 2021.


Finance, one industry that’s been resistant to remote work, seems to be moving toward remote and hybrid work.

Even some government entities are in favor of remote and hybrid work environments.

The state of Connecticut recently announced that its 13,000 employees will be able to work remotely for up to four days each week.

Health organizations are also prioritizing remote work for certain employees.

A Price Waterhouse Coopers poll found that 32% of health leaders said that employee preference was the most important factor in returning on-site or not. More than 20% say they are focusing on implementing a hybrid work environment.

One New Hampshire hospital is offering remote opportunities to employees in human resources, IT, finance, and clinical secretaries.

5. Companies focus on sustainability

Society’s growing environmental concerns have led businesses from various sectors to emphasize sustainability.

Search volume for “sustainability” has been increasing for the past 5 years.

Nearly all of the world’s 250 largest companies publicly report on their sustainability performance.

More than 2,000 businesses have committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions in the coming years.

Consumer and business interest in “carbon neutrality” is on the rise. Search volume is up nearly 433% in the past 5 years.

The International Institute for Management Development reports that 62% of executives say a sustainability strategy is necessary to be competitive in today’s market.

Consumer data supports this opinion.

Many people today, especially younger generations, expect companies to be eco-conscious.

In one study, 1 in 3 Millennials (people between 25 and 41 years old in 2022) say they already exclusively buy sustainable products.


Another study reported that nearly 90% of Gen Zers (people between 10 and 25 years old in 2022) would be willing to spend 10% more on sustainable products. That’s up from just 34% two years earlier.

All of this drives revenue and brand value, according to a report from McKinsey. Companies with high ratings for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors outperform others in the market, both in the short and long term.

Etsy is one company that’s dedicated to sustainability, and it’s showing in their profits.

The 2022 Rankings of America’s Most JUST Companies ranked Etsy 102nd out of nearly 1,000 companies surveyed. They scored 99 points for their attention to environmental issues and were ranked first in the retail industry.

Search volume for “Etsy” jumped dramatically during the pandemic and has remained high.

The company has pledged net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Etsy posted an impressive revenue increase in 2023 as well.

Etsy’s revenue continues its upward climb.

6. 5G arrives in full force

The 5G mobile network promises to deliver a network with incredible potential.

Search volume for “5G” is up 733% in the past 5 years.

The technology uses shorter frequencies, which results in larger bandwidth. This translates to higher speeds, improved capacity, low latency, and better service.

The Boston Consulting Group agrees.

In the next decade, they estimate that 5G will contribute up to $1.7 trillion to the United States’ GDP and create up to 4.6 million jobs.

Research from The Boston Consulting Group shows a large jump in GDP and job creation by 2030.

An Ericsson Mobility Report estimated that half of all mobile subscriptions would be on 5G by 2027.

Experts say 5G will lead to smart factories, smart buildings, and smart cities — the entire business ecosystem will see improvements from the new technology.

With 5G, manufacturing businesses are expected to see huge boosts in terms of efficiency.

This includes possibilities for automation and robotic controls in factories.

Accenture predicts 5G-enabled factories will see up to 30% productivity gains and a 50% improvement in assembly times.

The financial industry is also poised to see new opportunities with 5G technology.

Because of its speed, 5G is expected to improve high-frequency trading and cryptocurrency transactions.

It’s also expected to improve fraud prevention efforts because data can travel in real-time.

7. Cyberattacks ramp up

Cybercrime is a $6-trillion problem and no industry is safe from the damage these criminals can cause.

Search interest in “cybersecurity” is up 206% over 5 years.

The average cost of a data breach in 2021 was more than $4.2 million — 10% higher than in 2019.

The use of 5G mobile networks, third-party apps, and remote work are making businesses increasingly vulnerable to cybercrime.

Disrupting normal business operations is one of the most common ways cyber criminals attack and extort money from companies.

In early 2022, New Mexico’s Bernalillo County suffered a ransomware attack that forced them to shut down government buildings and take their systems offline. It’s reported that the cyberattack was also able to block the county jail’s cameras and prevent officials from operating inmates’ cell doors.

The financial consequences of cyberattacks can also wreak havoc on a business.

Sophos’ State of Ransomware 2024 report says ransom payments have increased nearly 5x over the last 12 months alone.

According to data from Sophos, ransom attacks are sharply increasing. 

The increase in ransom payouts has led the United States government to enact a law requiring companies that provide critical infrastructure to report cyber attacks and ransom payments to the Department of Homeland Security and the Infrastructure Security Agency.

Another cyber risk is the theft of intellectual property (IP).

In one survey of North American CFOs, nearly one-third reported Chinese companies stealing intellectual property from their companies in the past 10 years.

Four Chinese nationals were recently indicted for participating in a plot to hack into computer systems and steal IP related to chemicals and infectious diseases. Their plot targeted organizations in 12 counties.


That wraps up our list of megatrends that are expected to impact businesses across all sectors in 2025.

As it has in previous years, technology leads the list as organizations look for ways to embrace automation, robotics, and 5G while maintaining strict cybersecurity.

These megatrends also show us why the businesses that are able to adapt will be the ones likely to lead us into the future. We expect that the way they handle pressures from the economy and the workforce will determine their success.