Research firm Frost & Sullivan has revealed its forecasts on some of the important social trends that will shape Britain in the future. 

Among its projections for 2025:

  • 81% of the UK's population will be living in urban areas;
  • there will be 200 million connected devices and one in four British citizens will be shopping online – the highest number in the world, per capita;
  • the over 65s will represent one fifth of the population, becoming one of the largest consumer groups with increasing healthcare needs;
  • the country’s South East region will grow to become the second largest region after London, accounting for 15.3 % of total GDP.

This is how the UK will look like in 2025 according to analysis by research firm Frost & Sullivan titled 'New Mega Trends in the UK'. 

The new report will officially be launched during Frost & Sullivan's Growth, Innovation and Leadership (GIL) congress GIL 2013: Europe, which will take place on 14th May at the Guoman Cumberland Hotel Marble Arch, in London. Over 200 industry leaders will have the opportunity to hear firsthand what the future holds for the UK and the world. They will also discuss strategies and share best practices to make their business choices successful.

In this new analysis Frost & Sullivan details and analyses '12 New Mega Trends' that will drive growth and innovation in the UK. "These are new areas of growth in key industries that will help economic development, boost private sector investment and promote partnerships with overseas companies," explains Frost & Sullivan Partner Sarwant Singh.

One of the most interesting and important Mega Trends in the UK will be Connectivity and Convergence. The UK will have 200 million connected devices (six for every household) by 2020 which means that the country is on the path to becoming a digital economy with new business models and digital innovation hubs. One of the major industries that has benefited from the proliferation of digital devices is retail. Retail in the UK is transitioning from brick and mortar supermarkets to virtual stores and online hypermarkets – merging both bricks and clicks.

The Bricks and Clicks Mega Trend is influencing most British retailers to transition from having a single/multiple channel to an integrated cross-channel model, merging physical and virtual forms of retailing. The UK will have the largest online retail penetration in the world as 26% of all retail sales will be online by 2025. Over 80% of entertainment products will be sold online by 2025. New retailing business models in the UK have also opened up new commercial opportunities for allied industries such as logistics (with demand for vans suited to making more deliveries to households set to rise). 

Frost says that we are witnessing the introduction of innovative last mile options such as click and collect, addressing challenges associated with making urban deliveries, given the Mega Trend of Urbanization in Britain.

It says the UK will follow the global pattern of cities – not countries – driving wealth creation in the future. London accounted for 20% of UK’s GDP in 2011 and could contribute about 25% in 2020.  This rapid rate of urbanization will compel companies to target cities as their growth markets, with most UK cities also expected to become the micro manufacturing hubs or digital hubs of the country by 2025. Urbanisation will also influence companies to become more rational and optimal in their operations, creating a new ‘smarter’ UK.

Frost also concludes that 'smart is the new green'. This Mega Trend will see smart initiatives replacing green concepts in many parts of the UK. For example, smart technology will find its way into most homes, with nearly five million broadband homes expected to have at least one smart home system by 2017, generating GBP1bn in digital revenues. Smart Mobility will save millions of pounds from reduced congestion as more door-to-door integrated mobility solutions are introduced. A key aspect of dispensing any smart initiative would centre on smart grids which are expected to increase energy efficiency by 30 %. Nearly 43 million Smart Meters are expected to be installed in 30 million UK homes by 2019.

The study also reveals other social trends. For example, one out of five people in the UK will be aged over 65 by 2020. The 65+ group is expected to contribute GBP77 billion to the British economy by 2030 (from GBP42 billion in 2011), with spending power to increase to £130 billion in 2030 (GBP78 billion in 2011). Future opportunities from Social Trends include new services and solutions in Healthcare, and neighbourhoods for ageing citizens with new technologies such as robotic care for the elderly. Health, Wellness and Wellbeing in fact would become a key Mega Trend for the UK as preventive care becomes more important and relevant to its ageing society. The future of Healthcare will be focussed more on wellness and well-being that define mind, body and soul.  This will create new opportunities in e-health, regenerative medicine, personalized medicine, health kiosks, tissue engineering, nutraceuticals, healthcare tourism, cybernetics, and non-invasive surgery.

With multiple growth opportunities, the UK is undoubtedly at one of its most crucial development stages of this decade, Frost maintains. In addition to identifying these Mega Trends, Frost & Sullivan also provides insights on the implications of these trends on the UK through its Macro to Micro analysis. The ‘Macro to Micro’ scenario analysis carried out by Frost & Sullivan presents the micro impact of each Mega Trend on a business and helps design the company’s future strategy for product and technology planning in Britain. Urbanisation, for example, at the micro level, creates many investment opportunities in smart infrastructure and new market/business opportunities for innovative products targeting urban households, according to the research firm.