business-trends

The most relevant business trends for the decade of fundamental change

The years up to 2030 will be the decade of fundamental change, in which business innovation and digitalization will transform markets even faster than in the previous ten years. From 2020 onwards, the speed of transformation and digital transformation will accelerate further. Business trends reliably indicate the direction in which companies need to develop innovation strategies and digital strategies. In this article you will learn about the most important business trends that will shape the coming years.

An Innolytics® expert team regularly evaluates studies and forecasts from trend and research institutes as well as articles from the industry press. This article is based on about 1000 sources. From this, a clear picture can be derived of the business trends that will shape the economy until 2025.

Anyone expecting a kind of visionary bang in the first few years of the new decade will almost certainly be disappointed. At the beginning of the new decade, the focus is on developing concrete business innovations and service innovations. Doing, implementing, tackling. Not just rethinking business, but implementing the results of the idea generation process. Starting in 2020, the years in which the technological breakthroughs of the past decade reach the mainstream of business trends will come. In the last decade, technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain were only something for nerds at best; in this decade they will finally arrive in the specialist departments of companies.

Business trends that are shaped by technologies

The top ten business trends that are driven by technology trends are regularly published by the international research and consulting company Gartner. The trends of the year 2020 highlights that: no new super-trend, no business trend that will make the world go round. On the contrary: it’s all about implementation. Three examples:

  • Hyperautomation, one of the most important technology trends, does not stand for an exciting new vision, but for the pragmatic consolidation of existing automation systems.

  • The Blockchain has become the “Practical Blockchain”, which means that the technology is now being used in broader fields of application. Those who deal with Blockchain are no longer considered exotic.

  • Hardly any other technology trend reflects the fundamental spirit of the years to come as well as what Gartner calls “the democratization of technology“. Technologies that five years ago were only available to experts are now available to practically everyone.

No matter what position you have in your company, no matter what you do, no matter how old you are: You can start to take advantage of technology trends today. If you want, you will be able to develop your first own chatbot tomorrow evening. Simply use a service on the Internet for this development. With three to four hours of training and another four to five hours of effort, you will be able to surprise colleagues with your own chatbot.

One of the main business trends for companies in the years to come will be to make it easier for employees and managers to access these new technologies. Of course, not every bank advisor will be able to program the basics for an autonomous car tomorrow. But in principle, simple use cases are already accessible to everyone today.

Business trends that impact marketing and sales

Nothing revolutionary new is emerging in marketing either. Business trends that have been described as digital disruption over the past decade have now become mainstream: Social media marketing, inbound marketing, marketing and sales automation and targeting, all familiar. Actually a situation that marketers don’t like, because their industry loves hypes and buzzwords like no other. When you said in 2018: “We do Influencer Marketing now”, this business trend was totally hip. At the beginning of the new decade you get the answer: “And how many of the likes are fakes?” At the end of the last decade, targeting was quite exciting. By 2020, the only question is how good your targeting is. The tasks of a marketing specialist can be compared well with those of a criminalist in the coming years. Two important questions are:

  • “Are we being cheated in digital marketing?”

    Do you pay money for fantasy click numbers that have the credibility of a fairy tale? According to the “Financial Times”, companies lose billions of dollars a year to ad fraud. For Oliver Hülse, Managing Director of Intregral Ad Science, in a few years Ad Fraud will be second only to the global cocaine and opiates business in organized crime. The reason for this is the great potential for fraudsters, because it offers high profits at relatively low risk.

  • “How can we better leverage customer profiling?”

    The business trend of targeting customers according to their desires and needs is not new. But the algorithms are getting better. You are probably familiar with zombie ads: As soon as you have bought an item such as a drill, for example, you are literally followed by ads for drills. As if you were seriously buying a second or third drill. Those were the first few steps. From 2020 onwards, the algorithms will become smarter.

Accordingly, business trends will develop in these two directions.  AI-supported applications will help to make it easier to solve fraud in online marketing. At the same time, individualized marketing will make its way into the mainstream, all the way to television advertising.

Business Trends in Leadership and HR

Business trends will lead to major changes for employees, executives and top management. In 2017 and 2018, as a leader in a conservative industry, you could still doubt that digital change really affects you. From 2020, you will be completely isolated with this attitude. Accordingly, the years starting in 2020 will be the years of major qualification initiatives in enterprises.

If you have not yet received a crash course in state-of-the-art technologies, now is the best time to do so. No matter whether you are an insurance clerk, a specialist at an automotive supplier or head of the legal department of a corporate group: Make 2020 and the following years the moment of your personal digital transformation! Ask your employer to give you a three-month leave of absence, attend seminars or online training courses, or study new technologies on your own. No matter what you do: the business trend is your friend.

Business trends will also lead to major changes in personnel departments. Finding and retaining skilled workers will become even more difficult. Advanced training courses will change massively: they will become more individualized, digital and practice-oriented. From 2020 onwards, the HR department will be one of the main drivers of change! Two important business trends are called “HR Analytics” and “HR Chatbots”.

  • The first business trend is aimed at creating or improving monitoring instruments that better document the knowledge available in an organization. By using analytical technologies, for example, white spots in the training and education field can be uncovered on the basis of data.

  • HR chatbots are designed to help HR departments not to be suffocated by routine requests. While the HR manager is currently thinking about which innovative further training concepts will promote the digital transformation, he should not be disturbed by constant questions à la “How do I fill out a vacation request on the intranet?

Business trends will directly lead to organizational innovation in the coming years. In this decade, the time has come to set up innovation networks within companies, to establish an innovation culture and to increase the innovation capability.

How business trends change industries

Business trends do not have the same impact in all countries of the world with the same intensity and speed. Even within countries, there are regions that are affected to a greater or lesser extent by individual business trends. There are also sector-specific trends that change industries to varying degrees. While in one industry the focus is still on continuous improvement and process optimization of existing procedures, others are forced to radically rethink their approach through disruptive innovation. Here is an overview of business trends in six key industries worldwide.

Business trends in the financial industry

The dominant topic for banks in the European Union will be the implementation of PSD2, the mandatory digital disruption initiated by the European Commission, commonly known as Open Banking: Since September 2019, banks have been obliged to open their systems to third-party providers. This will dramatically accelerate innovation and change. In the second half of the year a so-called “Request to Pay” solution is to be launched by 26 financial institutions from 11 countries. With this, the banks want to make a major entry into the instant payment business. Currently, the industry is in danger of being overtaken in payment transactions by new competitors such as Apple Pay and Co.

Business trends in craft, construction and production

The connectivity of workers will continue to advance. Already today, logistics workers are guided to the right storage location via augmented reality glasses, construction workers receive a model of the object on data glasses, production workers receive important data in real time. In dangerous sectors, so-called industrial wearables will also increase occupational safety. This trend is not groundbreakingly new either. But its proliferation will accelerate dramatically.

Business trends in the energy industry

Cyber security will be one of the dominant business trends in the energy sector. In 2019 the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) registered a significant increase in hacker attacks on critical infrastructures. As the energy supply is increasingly decentralized and highly interconnected, protection has become much more complex.

Business trends in the field of health and medicine

Health apps have reached the mass market, and since this year doctors in Germany can provide them by prescription. A breakthrough is about to occur with the use of artificial intelligence as a way to overcome the lack of specialists, a further increase in intelligent implants and the use of gene therapies such as Crispr.

Business Trends in Retail

The retail industry is being shaped by the increasing desire for individuality. The German study “The Future of Shopping” predicts that the desire for personalized products and packaging will increase significantly. Traditional retail will benefit from the business trend towards cashless payments, as is already commonplace in Chinese cities today. In the era of the impatient consumer, waiting at the checkout is a thing of the past and quickly leads consumers to avoid shops. Paying on the fly will help to prevent this.

Business Trends in the manufacturing industry

In the manufacturing industry, the digital twin is entering the mainstream: a product or machine is developed as a digital 3D model. Standardization will play an important role in Industry 4.0. If machines are to communicate with each other, defined standards are needed. In this field, free trade areas such as the European Union, where common standards are agreed for practically everything, actually might have a competitive advantage.

The overall business trend for the next few years: getting started and making things happen

From this year on, the digital change will once again accelerate dramatically. Because knowledge and know-how about the use of new technologies are no longer reserved for specialists. In the past, development departments or individuals with impressive titles like Chief Digital Officer were the masters of the change process. However, this is exactly what will change from 2020 onwards, with the pressure to innovate reaching the specialist departments. From now on, every employee can become an innovation driver. For companies, however, this also has a downside: those who do not move are in danger of being left behind.

China and the USA will continue to extend their technological lead until 2025. The dominant technologies will be 5G, artificial intelligence, edge computing, the Internet of things and autonomous driving. In the field of artificial intelligence, China already held 46 percent of the world’s patents in 2017.

Many countries will only play a minor role in driving the dominant technologies of the future. In the development of innovative applications, however, companies and corporations worldwide have the opportunity to make the years starting in 2020 a decade of new beginnings. By doing what has made them successful so far: Not only analyzing business trends, but also developing ideas and implementing innovations.