Now that the pandemic-containment measures have largely been eased and people are beginning to move outdoors, you may be wondering which business trends are likely to shape up during this summer and possibly beyond. We share with you our take on the trends we see gathering steam.
Could influencers be losing their influence?
Another trend that could become clearer this summer and beyond has to do with the role of influencers in shaping the buying decisions of consumers. There are indications that as every industry and niche gets saturated with influencers, these people are resorting to pumping out veiled ads disguised as advice.
Consumers aren’t being fooled, and they are relying more on recommendations from friends and family or workmates instead of taking the word of people who are paid to promote a product. This may well mark the end of influencers, and as a far as examples go, isn’t it curious that Cristiano Ronaldo who has more than 500 million followers on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) still makes a huge bulk of his money on the pitch?
Continuing supply chain disruptions
2020 saw all supply chains shaken to the core, and we are yet to see the end of those disruptions. As the world becomes more fragmented in the handling of the pandemic, we are seeing some countries on the verge of fully opening up while others are re-imposing lockdown measures amidst rising infections and fatalities from the latest wave of Covid-19.
All it takes is a single vendor or manufacturer to be caught in one of those virus surges and your supply chain as a small business owner could go up in smoke. These disruptions aren’t about to go away, so you need to think outside the box if your business is to survive a potentially major hit due to an event half-way around the world.
Runaway inflation could take root
Last year, the federal government was in agreement about the importance of protecting the paychecks of the U.S. population and several stimulus deals were inked, putting “free money” in the hands of Americans.
As summer gets underway, consumers may get into “revenge spending” mode buying everything from consumer electronics to home remodel supplies. Remember the supply chain disruptions we discussed earlier? Those disruptions could trigger a hike in prices, causing inflation to rise. This is especially possible given that businesses are trying to get back on their feet after the blow they took in 2020, so they may be unable to cope with a population on a spending spree.
However, the Federal Reserve Bank says this inflation is likely temporary, but don’t take their word for it. Watch what is happening on the ground and adapt accordingly.
Cryptocurrency regulation is gathering steam
Many have described the cryptocurrency space (Bitcoin and all the other coins fashioned out of or after it) as the “Wild West” and to a great extent, this is true because the sector is hardly regulated.
However, there are some rumblings in the distance that signal that this is going to change, fast. For example, China has strongly clamped down on Bitcoin mining activities within its borders, and the Fed, Treasury Department and other regulatory agencies in the U.S. say they are taking steps to create oversight mechanisms for this industry.
If you are an investor in cryptocurrencies or were planning to jump on the bandwagon, you might want to keep an ear out for any regulations being discussed for this industry.
eCommerce isn’t slowing down just yet
Last year was perhaps the best year ever for ecommerce. Businesses had no choice but to get online once brick and mortar outlets were shuttered in a bid to minimize contact between people at a time when the coronavirus was spreading like a wildfire.
The statistics paint a stark picture of how quickly this transition happened. In the U.S. for instance, predictions had been made in 2019 (before the pandemic) indicating that online retail sales would claim a 24% share of all sales by 2024. However, in July 2020, online sales hit the 33% mark of all retail sales!
This up-trend isn’t likely to end soon. In fact, online sales are likely to keep growing. Business owners need to wake up, if they haven’t, to the fact that their clients are online a lot, and the best way to sell is to find your customers where they are (online).
Home fitness is at a watershed moment
True to the trend of everything going online, we saw people buying fitness equipment that could be used at home once it was no longer possible or the risk of exposure to Covid-19 at the gym was too high. These people also signed up for online fitness training or subscribed to providers of similar virtual services.
This summer will determine whether gyms reclaim their pedestal or people keep working out from home. It will all depend on how well the vaccines are working in preventing infection rates from rising again.
Humans are social creatures, so once confidence rises that infection rates are in check, don’t be surprised to see people heading out in droves to go to the gym. However, if there is uncertainty about the trend of the pandemic, gyms will remain empty as people opt to use their equipment at home. Let’s watch and see what the summer unveils!
Telehealth will gain more traction
Everything, including consultations with doctors, went online during the worst of the pandemic. Telehealth was something of a novelty before the pandemic, but 2020 changed all that and this summer will see the trend dig in deeper into our social fabric.
For example, less than 1,000 medical facilities offered online healthcare services in Japan in 2018. However, by July 2020, at least 16,000 institutions had started doing so! Back here in the U.S., Cincinnati Hospital Children’s Medical Center registered 2,000 telehealth visits throughout 2019. In July 2020, they were conducting 5,000 telehealth consultations each week!
Now that people have had a taste of telehealth and a large number seem to like it, virtual healthcare service provision is likely to grow and become a permanent feature of healthcare systems not only in the U.S. but around the world.
This summer and the rest of the year will be marked by major transitions as businesses and individuals strive to take charge of their future after a difficult 2020. You would be wise to be alert to any trends that emerge and find ways to incorporate them into your business if you determine that they are relevant to your operations. Covid-19 has taught us that to survive, we must cultivate the ability to adapt fast enough, and there is no better time to flex your adaptability muscles like now. Which trend did we miss? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
To Your Success,