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15 Top Business Trends To Follow

15 Top Business Trends To Follow

Welcome, reader! I'm excited to provide this in-depth look at the business world of 2024. As we enter the middle of the decade, several major trends are shaping companies and industries around the globe. From technological advances to shifts in the workforce and consumer behaviours, businesses must adapt to new realities to thrive.

This comprehensive guide will explore 15 top business trends that will likely define business over the next few years. For each trend, I'll explain what's happening, why it matters, and how companies can embrace these changes. I aim to help executives, managers, entrepreneurs and you, the reader, understand what's on the horizon so you can make intelligent decisions.

So buckle up! Here's an inside look at 15 major business trends for 2024.

1. The Rise of AI

Artificial Intelligence Marketing

Artificial intelligence, or AI, tops the list of impactful tech for business in 2024. We're seeing machine learning and automation transform operations across sectors. As the supporting technologies continue to advance, AI adoption will accelerate.

Why It Matters

  • AI can drive insights, enhance products, boost efficiency and more
  • Early AI adopters could gain a competitive edge in their industries.
  • AI may disrupt established companies that fail to integrate such tools

Adapting to AI

  • Audit business processes to ID where AI could add value
  • Begin slowly with supportive AI rather than full automation.
  • Upskill workers to use AI tools through training programs

AI promises to be a defining tech for business in the coming years. Savvy executives should explore its potential before competitors beat them to the punch.

2. Next-Gen Connectivity

High-speed, reliable connectivity is essential for business, and new technologies dramatically improve networks. 5G delivers faster mobile data speeds, while developments like low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites and fixed wireless access (FWA) promise more comprehensive broadband connectivity.

Why It Matters

  • Faster networks enable innovations like cloud computing and IoT tech
  • Rural areas can better participate in the global digital economy
  • Poor connectivity risks excluding populations from critical services

Preparing Your Business

  • Evaluate if upgraded networks may benefit workers/operations
  • For providers, market segments exist to boost rural areas
  • Support network infrastructure upgrades in your communities

With broadband internet access becoming more pervasive, we may see an explosion of connectivity-enabled apps and services in business by 2024.

3. The Workforce Goes Hybrid

Workplace Reimagined Hybrid Workplace

The traditional model of full-time, in-office work has been permanently disrupted. As companies recognise productivity and preference benefits from flexible work models, most will allow employees to split time between remote work and office work in 2024.

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Hybrid Workforce Stats

  • 80% of company leaders say the 5-day office week is “dead”
  • 75% of the workforce prefers a hybrid or remote model
  • 65% feel they're more productive at home than at the office

Making Hybrid Work

  • Audit which roles truly require in-person work
  • Set shared flexibility policies to avoid inequality
  • Provide digital tools for seamless remote collaborations.

With the workforce demanding flexibility, managers should shape an office culture that empowers people to perform wherever they work best.

4. Regionalised Supply Chains

The COVID-19 crisis exposed the risks of relying on a few distant suppliers and facilities. In 2024, more companies are localising manufacturing and sourcing to make supply chains more resilient.

Why It Matters

  • Localised chains withstand local disasters better
  • Sourcing/making goods closer to customers is faster
  • Supply chain transparency aids responsible sourcing

Localising Your Supply Chain

  • Assess sourcing to identify over-reliance on any region
  • Explore domestic or nearer shoring for critical components
  • Invest in supply chain mapping/tracking technologies

Regionalised supply chains balancing cost efficiencies and resilience will characterise industry leaders over the coming years.

5. The Creator Economy Accelerates

How To Become A Content Creator

The “creator economy” fueled by individual content producers, curators and community builders is transitioning from passion projects to professional enterprises thanks to new monetisation tools. It could grow to over $100 billion by 2024.

A Snapshot of the Creator Economy

  • 162 million Americans currently identify as content creators
  • Total users of creator economy platforms number over 2 billion globally
  • YouTube and Instagram remain prime discovery platforms

Creator Economy Business Models

  • Brand sponsorships and partnerships
  • Paid communities with exclusive content/access
  • Physical product sales emerging as a top revenue stream

As creators professionalise, traditional brands should explore sponsorships and other collaborations to benefit from original talent with devoted followers.

6. Cryptocurrency Matures

Love it or hate it, cryptocurrency led by Bitcoin is moving slowly but surely into mainstream finance and payments. By 2024, over a quarter of Americans may own cryptocurrency as consumer apps reach widespread usage.

Quick Cryptocurrency Stats

  • Cryptocurrency users globally: up 158% since 2018
  • Total crypto value: $1.5 trillion market in December 2023
  • Countries with official crypto adoption: 12 and growing

How Crypto Impacts Business

  • Enables more manageable cross-border B2B payments
  • Opens access to crypto-user consumer segments
  • Creates a need for crypto tax/accounting compliance

Finance teams should brush up on crypto as adoption progresses across consumer and business domains over 2024.

7. Personalisation at Scale

Woocommerce Personalisation To Increase Conversion Rates

Today’s consumers expect relevant, tailored experiences. Advancements in data analytics and customer intelligence platforms enable businesses to deliver 1:1 personalisation profitability at scale across channels.

The Power of Personalisation

  • 80% of customers are more likely to purchase from brands offering personalised experiences
  • Personalisation can deliver a 5-15% lift in key metrics like revenue and conversion rates
  • 91% of customers are annoyed by unpersonalised messaging

Delivering Personalisation

  • Centralise data across touchpoints to create unified customer profiles
  • Use analytics to identify customer micro-segments
  • Create tailored messaging and offers for each segment

Market leaders will use technology to tap customer insights and provide individualised interactions.

8. Experiential Retail Resurgence

Ecommerce surged during the pandemic at the expense of physical stores. But humans are social creatures with a renewed appreciation of in-real-life experiences emerging from lockdowns. Brands investing in vibrant retail spaces see sales rebounding into 2024.

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Experience-Driven Retail Rising

  • 58% of consumers say shopping is a form of entertainment
  • 72% view trips to the mall as bonding opportunities
  • 65% of purchases are still made at brick-and-mortar stores

Designing Engaging Spaces

  • Curate immersive brand worlds with striking visuals
  • Offer unique services like customisation bars
  • Host community events to drive foot traffic

With cautious optimism, retailers should double down on delivering delightful in-store experiences even as ecommerce grows.

9. Brands Take a Stance

Corporate Social Responsibility A Definition

As social activism rises, customers expect the brands they support to take a stand on societal issues. Large majorities say CEOs and brands should speak out on hot-button topics from sustainability to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Consumers Care About Corporate Values

  • 87% of consumers believe companies should support social/environmental issues
  • 76% view workplace diversity as an essential factor in buying decisions
  • 65% have stopped buying from companies because they disagreed with their values

Authentically Addressing Key Issues

  • Conduct internal audits confirming stated values match operational realities.
  • Collaborate with civil groups already working on the issues
  • Communicate specifics on awareness campaigns and measurable goals

Brands bold enough to enter civic debates need sincerity and specifics or risk backlash from increasingly vocal consumers.

10. SMB Digital Transformation

Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) lagged large enterprises in adopting digital tools…until COVID-19 forced their hand. Out of necessity, SMBs made giant tech leaps, undergoing 3-4 years of transformation since early 2020. Their tech capabilities will continue maturing through 2024.

Pandemic Digital Milestones Among SMBs

  • +400% increase in online sales channels
  • 3X increase in daily virtual collaborations
  • 70% jump in digital tool budgets 2021-2022

Ongoing Tech Implications

  • Allows smaller firms to leverage data like large competitors
  • Creates need for ever-advancing cybersecurity measures
  • Requires workforce upskilling around new technologies

As modernisation projects continue, the SMB market promises growing opportunities for software providers, IT consultants, and other tech-focused service providers.

11. Corporate Climate Action

Coca Cola Sustainable Packaging Bottle

With scientists widely agreeing climate change threatens global stability, corporations are stepping up environmental commitments to reduce carbon footprints. Climate-focused corporate initiatives will become more urgent and ambitious throughout 2024.

The Business Climate Movement

  • 95% of Fortune 500 companies set emissions reductions targets
  • Companies have purchased over 40 gigawatts of clean power since 2018
  • 320 top brands aim to cut carbon impacts by 30% by 2030

Accelerating Climate Commitments

  • Switch operations/facilities to renewable electricity.
  • Set specific emissions goals with executive incentives
  • Fund emerging carbon removal/capture technologies
  • Pursue industry collaborations toward shared goals

Environmentally conscious companies have opportunities to lead whole industries toward sustainable transformations over the next few years.

12. Changing Nature of Competition

Industry convergence and non-traditional competitors continue disrupting established brands used to familiar rivals. For example, pandemic store closings sent apparel brands chasing home goods companies’ profits. And EV startups are threatening significant automakers’ sales.

Driving Factors

  • Tech breakthroughs enable disruptive new business models.
  • Younger generations show less corporate loyalty
  • Venture funding floods new sectors like fintech

Strategies to Stay Competitive

  • Preemptively varying products, services and business models
  • Fostering agility to test and scale ideas rapidly
  • Prioritising customer-obsession over fixation on competitors
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With business domains colliding and attackers appearing overnight, brands must remain laser-focused on customers to avoid sudden declines as threats emerge from unseen corners.

13. Balancing Offline & Online Customers

How To Reach Customers With Retail Marketing Strategies

As consumers shift between online and offline touchpoints, brands need help balancing digital convenience and in-store service levels to avoid frustrating either group. Retailers aiming for omnichannel excellence must close gaps between ecommerce and brick-and-mortar experiences pre- and post-purchase.

Critical Stats on Omnichannel Users

  • 75% of shoppers use multiple channels during purchase journeys
  • 60% expect consistent pricing and promotions online and offline
  • 72% consider quick, easy returns necessary for store choice

Delivering Omnichannel Excellence

Enable easy order online, return in-store policies

  • Share real-time inventory data across channels
  • Offer swift delivery and frictionless payments

With channel-hopping customers holding ever-higher expectations, brands failing to tightly integrate online and offline commerce risk losses to those getting it right.

14. Cities as Innovation Hubs

Economic power continues concentrating on innovative urban hubs optimised for digital business and human talent attraction. Startups still cluster where funding, resources and open-minded consumers abundantly mingle. Corporations are following suit, moving HQs toward cities and leading in developing next-generation technologies.

Top Innovation Cities Globally

  1. San Francisco
  2. Shenzhen
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Bengaluru
  5. New York City

Benefits for Business

  • Exposure to world-class universities and talent pipelines
  • Networking clusters speed research and development
  • Forward-looking policymakers offer pilot opportunities

Executives should factor proximity to innovation epicentres into location strategies and partnerships for accessing cutting-edge communities.

15. Talent Recruitment Challenges

Hire A Graphic Designer

Hiring and retaining top talent is only growing more challenging for employers. With rising quit rates, competitive compensation packages extending beyond pay and a shrinking labour force due to demographic shifts, talent acquisition costs hit record highs in 2022. Creative recruiting and retention incentives will define employers of choice.

Talent Snapshot

  • The U.S. worker resignation rate is still elevated at 2.7% as of October 2022
  • 65% of candidates won’t apply to roles without salary ranges
  • HR and recruiting tech investment grew over 15%

Attracting Top Talent

  • Train to hire managers to spot transferable soft skills
  • Highlight training, growth opportunities and company purpose
  • Interview off-peak hours accommodating candidate schedules

The tight labour market shows no signs of easing soon. As competition grows fiercer for skilled workers, leading employers go beyond transactions to build meaningful talent relationships.

In Summary

The 2024 business landscape holds many transformations in store. Rather than reactively addressing each disruption as it emerges, executives should proactively pressure test strategic plans against coming shifts today. Companies viewing mounting changes as opportunities to advance customer value may seize competitive advantages in the next era of business.

FAQs on Business Trends

What is the most significant business trend for 2024?

AI promises to make the most significant impact across sectors. As supporting technologies improve, AI adoption will accelerate, transforming operations, products and services.

Which type of businesses are best positioned for 2024?

Digitised SMBs, invested-in retailers, crypto-ready financial services firms, purpose-driven brands, and talent-focused employers are critical to success.

What’s driving supply chain regionalisation?

COVID-19 exposed the risks of relying on a few distant suppliers. Localised chains better withstand local disasters and enable faster customer deliveries.

Why invest in experiential retail?

Consumers increasingly view shopping trips as entertainment and bonding opportunities, still making 65% of purchases offline. Retailers delivering vibrant branded spaces see sales rebound.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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