2021 Business Trends
Introduction 2020 to 2021
After 2020 some clear trends are emerging that
look to be shaping our lives and economy. We are seeing pivotal
long-term changes in everything from how we work to how we live.
Embedded in that are the preferences and re-alignment of our day
to day sustained demands.
Top 15 Business Trends in 2021:
- Remote Work
- Employee happiness
- Gen Z is starting to work
- Purpose and meaning in work
- Leadership as pragmatists
- Mobile work engagement
- Consumer demand shift
- Social Commerce
- Personalized omni channel experiences
- Focused experiences
- Augmented VR
A few more
- Growing gig economy
- Voice Recognition
- Alternate capital raise funding
- Diversity funding and monitoring
Data suggests 22-28% of the workforce will be
working from home in the years to come compared with 4% in 2019.
With such a large shift in the workplace its
plain to see the tectonic shift in almost all
segments of the broader economy. Consumer
personal consumption needs, and habits are changing at a
blistering pace to keep up with working from home. Everything
from what and how much we eat, to how much more we have to keep
Employee’s like to work at home, and their
priorities are changing at work, as are there expectations from
employers. (see below).
(**See our blog post: Consumer Brands Bet
Working From Home is Here to Stay.)
Employers are adapting quickly to remote
workers and recognizing the new management styles that are
needed to both manage the new remote workforce but also
accommodate the changing workforce preferences. Studies are
showing that upwards of 67% of remote workers prefer working
from home for some time during the regular work week. Remote
work is here to stay for the foreseeable future
Employees are now looking for other ways to be
satisfied professionally that have intrinsic personal value.
Being happy at work is tied to feeling like what they do
matters. In fact, employees are more likely to value their
importance in the work they do and its contribution to the
bottom line. When they feel like they are making a difference
and are happy the results have a direct relationship to their
Back at the office having open workspaces with
colorful walls, and pets is a sure way of attracting new hires
and increasing morale and engagement and higher performing
Gen-Z In the Workplace
This year also brings an even younger group in
to the workplace. Generation Z is entering the workforce. In
fact, Generation Z makes up around 40% of consumers and is
around 86 million people right now. In order for you to fully
take advantage of Generation
Z employees coming into the workforce, you need to
understand how their needs and priorities differ from
generations. It would be a good time to brush up on what to look
for in your new younger hires and what questions you should be
Mobile Work Engagement
Currently, millennials represent 50%
of the workforce and are projected to represent 75% of
the workforce by 2025. Millennials are tech-savvy and mobile-
motivated. It’s clear you want to keep your teams focused and
engaged, you need to adapt
your communication efforts to their communication style.
Some really relevant data shows: Emails, intranet,
calls, and meetings show that 73% of attendees aren’t
paying attention. To boost employee communication, businesses
are shifting to using communication apps. Results show increased
productivity, expanded engagement, and reduction in
misunderstandings. Communication apps offer managers and
direct, immediate communication channel.
Consumer Demand Shift
Consumers habits are changing from the change
in their lifestyles.
2020 has seen a 27% increase in sales from
25% for frozen foods, household, and cleaning
12% increase in the sale of perishable
groceries being purchased this year.
Those are staggering trends that are shaping a
landscape in transition.
Staying at home more often also resulted in a
massive uplift on online purchases and store pick-ups.
Perishable groceries have seen an increase of 17% deliveries and
9% for pick-ups. (Frozen is up 7%)
It’s easy to conclude American consumer
behavior has changed dramatically this year. People are spending
much more time engaged online or doing things at home like
playing games. Interestingly there has been a shift in consumers
willing to try new things.
An idea of some of the evolving trends in
trying new things:
50% are trying out new products.
48% are acquiring health and
fitness habits, and 28% are picking up new
So, the extra time at home is allowing the
mental and emotional flexibility to stretch what has been
familiar and now trying something new.
Experiences are more important than acquiring
things, and companies are expected to know everything about
their customers while still offering personalized shopping
experiences. Consider the depth that is required to approach
this and the Ai and ML technologies that will need to be
developed and enhanced.
When layered atop an increasingly
customer-centric, employee-centric philosophy, it seems clear
that we are moving towards a world where people are going to be
more prominent than just making more money.
Personalized Omnichannel Experiences
Brands who want to build successful
relationships with customers know that their interactions need
to be personalized. Customers want to know that they are seen by
you as a person with unique requirements. They just want to use
your services on whatever channel they want to run on, whether
it’s in person, online, or coming from another direction.
It is noteworthy that by 2025, millennials
will constitute 75 percent of the workforce. They are tech-savvy
and mobile-driven as a group, which means you have to tailor
your communication efforts to their level to keep them
In addition, 72 percent of customers expect
businesses to have their buying history, regardless of the
channel they use. Instead of a conventional anonymous sales
transaction, they want a special, personalized partnership. Fail
to pay attention and you’re sure to get excessive customer
turnover… particularly because after only one bad experience,
79% of customers quit doing business with brands.
Consumers are increasingly becoming
omnichannel shoppers, using everything from mobile to
brick-and-mortar for their shopping. Such shoppers can be
counted on to be more loyal than single-channel shoppers and to
both shop more often and recommend brands to family and friends.
Meaning if you take care of them, they’ll take care of you.
A pandemic-induced boost has been given to
social commerce. With 87 percent of e- commerce shoppers having
insights from social media links, websites such as Tok-tok,
Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Social media
platforms have become increasingly more important sources for
buyers’ decisions. Younger customers are more likely to make
purchase decisions based on social media feedback than ever
before. Additionally, businesses that tell a story instead of
merely selling a message have customers that are more compelled
to buy from them.
As companies raced to seek new ways of
delivering service to customers who weren’t walking into stores,
they began to contemplate a way to deliver a number of the
services in digital forms using technology like augmented
reality, computer games, and mixed reality. To adjust to
stay-at-home orders, people would use virtual reality to “try”
on make-up, eyewear, and garments. Ultimately, this “try before
you buy” with virtual interfaces will transform how businesses
offer their services.
Alexa and Google Home are smart speakers that
have gained massive popularity over the last few years. Gartner
reported that just about a 3rd of web browsing was
voice-activated in 2020, and seeing as how this sort of web
searching has evolved, this isn’t surprising to work out. It’s
much easier to search with voice activation when driving or
feeding a baby.
This latest small business trend indicates
that businesses have to create a “voice” presence on their
online channels – it’s a golden opportunity for small businesses
to adapt while voice searching is new.
Technology for voice recognition has continued
to advance, and voice searches have grown in popularity as a
result. Thanks to its ease of use and speed, voice search is
popular. Searching via voice command is better for people on the
go (or in a car) than by typing. Often, since people can speak
faster than they can write, they can do a voice search faster.
With the increasing popularity of smart speakers, we will
continue to see the number of voice searches rise in 2021.
Voice searches will reshape search engines as
search moves to conversational and long- tail queries.
Gig Jobs Expand and Grow
According to Gallup, about 36% of U.S. jobs
are in the gig economy, – which trends with the increase of the
remote workers. Gig work is becoming popular because people like
flexibility and appreciate being their own boss.
Many small companies are unable to recruit
permanent workers financially, making it difficult to find and
attract the best talent. That’s why gig work is vital here,
because you can employ anyone temporarily, and instead of at the
office, they can work remotely.
It’s going to be an amazing transformational
year. We are heading back to work later in the year but
everything looks a little bit different. We are
interacting with technology differently, we are spending more
time at home, and expect more from the technology we are
using. If history has taught us anything through the last
Pandemic in 1918 everything that drives us inward will drive us
outward with a sonic boom. That said we are in a
different time and conditioned differently and work
differently. I am looking forward to seeing the exciting
transformations at work and at home over the next couple of
Be Safe, and Be Well!