In the quest to achieve ultimate happiness, Americans are embarking on exhausting, expensive self-help seminars, meditation retreats, workplace wellness programs, and endless positive self-talk—and yet, despite all of these safeguards, they are more anxious than ever before. The abundance of self-care doesn’t seem to be shielding anyone from an endless list of stressors, from financial insecurity to job instability to political upheaval.

The Anxiety Economy explores how instability and disruption are having a profound impact on culture and emerging trends. Behavior driven by fear, from the extreme (and the paranoid) to the more justified, is creating new market opportunities as consumers seek ways to self-soothe and navigate the storm. A few topics covered in the report includes:

Workplace wellbeing

According to the Global Wellness Institute, workplace wellness is a $48 billion market that is only set to grow. Startups are addressing the uptick in work anxiety with innovative products, while firms are investing in programs designed to improve their employees’ mental and physical health.

Merger hero 169 HD
Merger by Keiichi Matsuda

Dystopic landscapes

These dark times are changing the way creatives and designers approach the concept of beauty. From Instagram to the catwalk, a wave of young makeup artists are channeling the grotesque and changing the look of beauty. And luxury fashion designers are joining them, commissioning makeup artists to transform their models into otherworldly dark creatures with the help of makeup and prosthetics.

In addition to fashion and beauty, the media and entertainment industry are tapping into this dystopian mentality with TV series set in alternative worlds or futures.

Backstage at Rick Owens AW19. Photography by Christina Fragkou

The sex recession

Yes, these anxious times are impacting our sex lives. Millennials are reportedly having less sex and experts have been quick to link it to everything from the anxiety surrounding Donald Trump’s presidency to the uptick in rates of depression.


From the fake news frenzy of the 2016 presidential election to the disastrous scandals of the Fyre Festival and Theranos, the age of post-truth continues as questions of accountability and transparency fray the relationships between consumers and brands. Companies seeking to survive these turbulent times and sidestep distrust are taking steps to become more transparent and establish more intimate connections with their target audiences. The trend is even apparent in the influencer world, where nano-influencers—those with just a few thousand followers, but stronger and more personal ties to their fans—are on the rise.

Full analysis and more topics are featured in The Anxiety Economy report. Download here.

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