Currently, one of the most important megatrends worldwide is the shift of global economic growth. Dominance of G7 economies (the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Italy and Canada) is decreasing, and concentration of business activity is transitioning to E7 countries (China, India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Mexico, and Turkey). The projected combined GDP for E7 countries in 2050 is estimated to be at 138 trillion U.S. dollars. The forecast for G7 is far less optimistic. The aggregate GDP is expected to shrink to 18.8 trillion U.S. dollars, nearly half the total of 2015.
In 2030, Japan is expected to have the highest median population age worldwide at 51.5 years, followed by Italy, another member of the G7 economic block, with 50.8 years. Germany, currently one of the largest economies, is projected to have a median population age of 48.6 years in 2030. The other side of this demographic trend is the decrease in birth rate in developed countries, particularly Europe. In contrast to this, developing regions are experiencing a demographic explosion, especially in African countries. Nigeria is projected to be the country with the lowest median age by 2030, with only 15.2 years.
In 2014, about 54 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas. By 2050, it is expected that even more people will migrate from rural areas to cities, and the percentage of world’s urban population will increase by about 12 percent. Much of the growth in urban population will likely take place in Asia; in fact, some of China’s administrative regions are expected to have completely urbanized populations.
Technology use will expand further. By 2020, it is projected that an average person in the world will use about 7 network connected devices. This is a 50 percent increase from 2015. Another aspect of the growing technology dependence trend is the use of robots to replace human labor to improve efficiency. In 2016, the global spending on robotics amounted to 92 billion U.S. dollars. By 2020, it is expected that the spending will increase to 188 billion U.S. dollars.
Climate change and resource scarcity is a growing concern. According to OPEC projections, primary energy demand worldwide will generally increase; however, a shift is expected in favor of renewable energy sources. It is also projected that the global demand for renewable energy will increase from 3.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2014 to 11 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2030. And, forecasted renewable energy consumption worldwide is estimated to reach the equivalent of 1244.6 million metric tons of oil annually by 2030 –approximately three times more than in 2015.