- The Trend: Although the concept of strolling sans soundtrack is hardly new (or unique), the current flurry of attention comes via TikTok. Influencers have been posting videos of themselves strolling without a podcast or soundtrack to clear their brains. Despite detractors (reasonably) pointing out that this is just walking, it has inspired countless imitators and articles.
- The Context: As we explain in Gen Z Youth Ascending, young people want a break from tech but aren’t sure how to disconnect. At the same time, there’s a growing backlash against relying on headphones as a shield from reality. And with loneliness skyrocketing – a topic we unpick in Cohesive Communities – trends that identify time and space for people to focus on their thoughts and their surroundings have a ready-made audience.
- The Significance: The appeal of such no-frills wellness practices demonstrates the relevance of back-to-basics self-care, which we identified in 10 Wellness Trends 2023. While walking in silence seems obvious, consumers find themselves constantly bombarded by noise and music, whether they’re scrolling through social media, watching movies or going out to eat. Relying on a personal soundtrack may seem like a natural coping strategy – even if it’s increasingly understood as potentially maladaptive. While silent walking as a trend may be short-lived, brands should remember that the desire to find space for one’s thoughts in a chaotic, loud modern world transcends a single wellness moment.
For more on the dynamic between technology and mental health, see Consumers & Screentime: Supporting Digital Lives.