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What Will the 2020s Mean for Business?

What Will the 2020s Mean for Business? main image

We saw a lot of big changes to the business landscape – and business education – in the 2010s.

From the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and use of holograms, to the explosive growth of big tech, the 2010s paved the way for an even more innovative decade ahead.

Technology developed quickly over the last decade, and the same can be said about consumer interests – which change so rapidly it’s becoming even harder to predict trends manually.

However, the increased use of marketing technology allowed businesses to better understand target audiences, and tailor their products to consumers more efficiently.

Artificial intelligence, data-driven marketing, and voice search engine optimization once seemed like ambitions concepts – but today they are some of the top priorities in business, and will continue to dominate the market in 2020.

For businesses to remain relevant, they must adapt for the ever-evolving market. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what businesses should aim to invest their time in this decade. 

Extreme distributed workforces will become the norm

With the development of technology and rising cost of real estate in urban areas, the workplace is becoming a more fluid environment. People are able to work from anywhere, anytime, and as individuals enjoy (and push for) that level of flexibility, companies will need to be more accepting of remote work.

The fall and rise of social media

Social media was greatly hyped in the 2010s and, as with anything that grows so fast so quickly, we are now seeing a backlash.

Over the next decade, organizations will need to understand how to use social media platforms effectively and profitably, using smarter measures and tailored content. Thorny ethical questions are likely to emerge as we learn even more about how our data is collected by social media networks and what businesses are doing with that information.

User Generated Content (UGC)

Consumers have become even more wary of brand messages and marketing, and prefer to listen to their peers when making a decision.

With this in mind, consumers feel UCG is more authentic and trustworthy, meaning businesses should seriously think about this avenue when considering promotions.

Common UGC activities to promote your brand include social media posts, influencer posts, videos, mentions, and reviews.

Nano-technology

We saw the emergence of 3D printing in the 2010s, and now this technology could help achieve some landmark breakthroughs in biological engineering.

If biomedical engineers are correct, by the end of the decade we could print our own skin, and by 2030 we may be printing replacement body parts like heart valves. Imagine the medical possibilities when there’s no longer a need to wait for organ donors!

Emerging trends in tech

2019 saw a renewed effort to contain the growth of tech. It was widely perceived that firms like Google, Facebook and Amazon were getting far too big and intrusive in our communities – which inevitably saw a red flag raised in Washington DC.

The FTC was reported to be considering an injunction against Facebook to stop it from integrating Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger – in case the antitrust authorities decided to later break-up the company. These concerns about monopolies may lead some big tech firms to scale down the number of acquisitions they decide to make.

Similarly, the re-bordering of tech may see business trends alter this decade too. For example, the implementation of a virtual wall between America and China has seen investments and revenue fall – Chinese investment dropped 90 percent in the last three years in the US, and the FCC banned Huawei products from the US market in 2019 citing security concerns. 

The next decade may in fact see greater sanctions placed on imports and exports from across the globe, especially when it comes to tech products as AI, cybersecurity and social media are considered critical to national security and societal governance.

Mobile payment systems

Apple Pay, contactless card payments, and apps like Monzo were big movers in the mobile payment systems space over the last decade.

One question that surrounds the app economy is who processes and makes money from online payments? The fight between credit card companies, software companies and banks is sure to be a huge business story in the 2020s.

Flatter organizations

The key to business success today is being fast and knowledgeable. To ensure that business decisions are made more efficiently, there’s the need for less management.

Organizations may well become flatter this decade in order to process information more quickly, minimizing the risk of competitors seizing business opportunities.

Niamh Ollerton, Deputy Head of Content at QS
Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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