Geopolitical conflict & instability becomes key issue going into 2024

Welcome to our latest quarterly analysis of Tyto’s Relevance Index™, tracking the most important issues and themes discussed among Europe’s most influential tech experts in Q4 last year. As 2023 drew to a close, the tech and socio-economic landscapes across Europe witnessed significant shifts, most notably as Geopolitical conflict & instability became such a key issue across the globe. 

More generally, it’s worth highlighting how there appears to be more scope for conversation around a larger number of socio-economic topics compared to tech. Of the 15 socio-economic topics analysed, the top 5 make up 65% of all social posts published by European tech influencers in the last quarter, whereas the top 5 tech topics accounted for 81%.  

The greater plurality of socio-economic topics suggests that tech companies may have more success in reaching key audiences by placing and applying their technology within those key issues, as opposed to talking about the tech itself. There is a place for both, of course, but with such fierce competition on such a small number of tech topics right now, communicators need to know when and how to shift approach. 

The Index reveals interesting regional differences and priorities between the UK, France and Germany this quarter, which are critical to understand when planning pan-European communications programmes. 

The rise of Geopolitical conflict & instability as a dominant issue 

For the first time in 2023, Geopolitical conflict & instability was at the forefront of socio-economic discussions, accounting for 21% of conversation across the UK, Germany and France. This shift marks a significant reorientation of concerns among European tech influencers, as it saw by far the highest percentage points increase at 4.8. For comparison, the second highest rise was on the topic of Trust at 1.09 percentage points, while all other topics in the top four saw decreases in relevancy over the last quarter.   

As a result, Climate change drops to second place, accounting for 18% of the conversation with a drop in relevance of 3 percentage points, while Transportation maintains third place with a 10% share but also saw a downward trend of 2 percentage points.

Reflecting the broader trend across Europe, Geopolitical conflict & instability is the leading socioeconomic topic of discussion in France (38%) and Germany (22%). It rises in relevance the most in France, in comparison to other countries, by 4.4 percentage points, while in Germany it rose by 2.4.  

In the UK, it is the second most discussed topic but still shows a significant rise in relevancy, growing by 4.3 percentage points and moving up from fourth place in the previous quarter. The top topic in the UK is Climate change, a position it has occupied every month since the Tyto Relevance Index™ began, accounting for 23% of the conversation in the last quarter.   

 Other notable regional differences include Social inequality and Trust seeing the biggest gains – outside of Geopolitical conflict & instability – in France, rising by 1.3 and 1.5 percentage points, respectively. In Germany, the biggest rise in relevancy was Crypto at 2.5 percentage points, even outperforming Geopolitical conflict & instability which grew by 2.4 percentage points. Conversations around Supply Chain also saw a notable increase in Germany, rising by 1.3 percentage points.    

The ‘big three’ continue to dominate Tech but regional differences emerge  

Dominating the tech discourse are AI & ML (37%), Data economy (16%), and Cybersecurity (13%), accounting for two-thirds of all discussions. This trio has not only led the conversation for each of the last four quarters, but have also risen in relevance. AI & ML was up 1.4 percentage points, Data economy up 0.9 and Cybersecurity up 1.5 across the three countries last quarter.

The most significant rise in relevancy for AI & ML was seen in Germany, where it grew 3.6 percentage points, followed closely by the UK with a 2.5 rise, while France saw a more modest rise of 0.5 percentage points. Data economy is the second most popular topic in all three countries, again with its relevance increasing notably in the UK and Germany, by 0.8 and 1.7 percentage points, respectively. In France, the topic actually saw a decrease of 0.7 percentage points but remains comfortably in second place despite this. 

Bucking the trend of similarities between the UK and Germany, Cybersecurity ranks third for both the UK and France but fourth for Germany, where GreenTech occupies third place. The importance of GreenTech in Germany is further underscored by the fact that it ranks fifth in the UK and seventh in France over the last quarter. 

Other topics gaining ground across all three markets as a whole are Cloud, rising from ninth to sixth place, and Smart Tech, climbing from 13th to 11th. Conversely, DLT & Blockchain, Virtualisation, and Automation witnessed a downward trajectory.   

As we step into 2024, insights from Tyto’s Relevance Index™ offer valuable guidance for communicators as they look to adapt and implement new strategies in the coming year. They not only illuminate the current state of affairs in the European tech and socio-economic spheres but also hint at the emerging challenges and opportunities. Understanding these trends is crucial for businesses, policymakers, and individuals navigating the complex and ever-evolving European landscape. 

To view the data for yourself, you can access the Tyto Relevance Index™ here – it’s free to subscribe and you will also receive our monthly newsletter.