Business Trends - 2020
The past year saw businesses of all sizes thriving as the economy continues to outpace expectations. However, a new year brings an opportunity to look ahead at the forces that will influence our workplaces and decisions in the coming months. Here is a list of trends to keep an eye on in 2020.
1. 5G Data Network. With the launch of the fifth generation wireless technologies (5G) network in 2019, expectations for its implementation in 2020 are high. Its biggest promise is speed—up to 100 times the speed of current 4G networks. These lightning fast download capabilities will allow us to entertain ourselves on the move, have faster networks at home, and quickly move large amounts of data via the internet. Currently, 5G is mostly limited to smartphones, but is expected to expand to other devices and networks. The increased bandwidth will lead to advances in the Internet of Things, smart machinery, and data analysis. Many businesses will need to take the much faster and more stable internet into consideration in their operating models, since it will result in increased web traffic to most sites and decreased production time for emerging technologies. As an example, companies utilizing Augmented Reality (AR) or Virtual Reality (VR) technology will benefit from the quicker delivery of these features to their customers or their production environments.
2. Sustainable Business Practices. In 2020, Generation Z and millennials will make up 40% of global consumers, increasing the importance of ethical consumerism, a generational shift in product loyalty. Companies will continue to take notice, focusing on making their brands more sustainable and transforming their supply chains to reduce how their products become waste. Think refillable shampoo bottles. Although these changes may be expensive for small and medium sized businesses, they can still participate in the trend by rethinking their approach to packaging, especially plastic, and sourcing from companies that are at the forefront of sustainable practices.
3. Company Culture. A tight labor market going into 2020 means that keeping employees engaged with the workplace is important to retain talent. Some methods that are in much broader use than before include flexible work schedules, maternity and paternity leave, and performance-based compensation. New research shows that an employee’s feeling of “mattering,” or making a difference in an organization, is critical to their longevity with the organization. Sustainable business practices, discussed above, also contribute to a company’s internal reputation and influence employee satisfaction and retention.
4. Machine Learning and AI. In 2020, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will continue to become more integral in all businesses operations, and expand its reach in new sectors. Global research and advisory firm Gartner estimates that AI will be a mainstream customer experience investment in the next couple of years as 47% of organizations will use chatbots for customer care and 40% will deploy virtual assistants. AI is a tool for interacting with customers online, and businesses will continue to use AI to analyze data to improve customer’s experiences. AI can also be used for cybersecurity, doing administrative work autonomously, and is the future of self-driving cars.
5. User Reviews. User reviews continue to drive consumers’ purchasing decisions for products and services. Online reputations can attract new customers and maintain customer loyalty. In fact, 92% of consumers hesitate to make a purchase if there are no customer reviews, and 97% say that customer reviews factor into their buying decisions. Having a four-star rating by hundreds of customers is appealing. Since medium to small businesses have smaller marketing budgets, the importance of online reviews becomes even more crucial. Customers knowing how real people feel about a product or service increases the brand’s trustworthiness and can result in increased sales.
Business Insights is hosted by the Law Firm of KPPB Law (www.kppblaw.com).
Sonjui L. Kumar is a founding partner of KPPB Law, practicing in the area of corporate law and governance.
Disclaimer: This article is for general information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or other professional advice.
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