Technology is suffocating rather than empowering us in the way it promises, and we are beginning to question if it is working for us, or we for it. Technology and subsequently brands pervasion into our lives is reaching an unhappy peak for some, who are shunning connectivity via the act of unplugging.

In ‘The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World Report an anonymous research scientist and professor said:“The grand internet experiment is slowly derailing. Technologies that we created with so much faith and hope in their power to unite us and make us freer, have been co-opted into tools of behavioral manipulation and addiction.”

In practice

Such is the momentum behind this movement, facilitators and facilities are popping up left, right and centre to enable the tech-fatigued to disconnect from devices and find quiet in their lives.

Disconnection retreats and digital detoxes are the preferred means of switching off for those with the disposable income, but supplementing these premium offerings are a raft of ‘phone free’ cafés that have used everything from simple pleas to faraday cages, encouraging and enforcing a behaviour that is becoming increasingly necessary for us to partake in.

We’re all familiar with the ‘quiet’ carriages on UK trains, providing a retreat for tech-weary travellers.  Retailers are also embracing the concept. Selfridges launched a ‘no noise’ initiative where shoppers could access a special room shielded from busy store traffic. And lockers were provided so they could leave technology distractions behind.


This shift presents an interesting challenge for retailers and brands that expertly leverage this connectivity to communicate and engage their audience. Without it a line in is lost, and that is a devastating proposition for any marketing manager.

Balance and embracement is the answer – respect the desire of your audience’s need to disengage, and look to create environments in which they can do this, both on and offline. You will find that when they do re-engage it will be with more focus and affinity towards your brand.

This is an excerpt from the free downloadable report Retail Trends 2020 and Beyond