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  • Writer's picturePeace of Mind PM

2021 The World in 2021:Market trends

Updated: Aug 30, 2021

The Economist magazine published an interesting analysis called “The world in 2021”, elaborated by 50 experts in different fields that presented their views on the trends of change they perceived will occur in society in the coming years, social relations and the world economy and how these trends will change the world.

Their opinion is summarized in the following 19 points; interesting reflexions that should be taken into account when planning short and mid-term strategies.

1. Remote work is here to stay. Although socializing is in the very nature of the human being and after the pandemic many people are wanting to see their co-workers again, the possibility of returning to the classic 5-working-day work format in the offices with the entire staff at the same time is not an option on the table right away. Remote work from home will continue, with spaces better adapted to carry out this task and with more digital possibilities at our fingertips as well as greater online support.

2. Closing of offices. In relation to the previous point, in the workplace digitalisation and new technologies will keep growing. This will cause the closure of many office spaces while at the same time enable a more flexible way of working. There will be platforms to help measure results, efficiency and KPI’s. This trend is positive since it opens new possibilities of hiring workers in other parts of the world, making everyone go global.

Large office spaces will no longer be as necessary as the physical presence. The number of workers who meet in those spaces at the same time will be reduced. To socialise and connect with co-workers, gatherings will be organised from time to time in fun places in different locations each time.

This trend will also have an effect on the physiognomy of large cities that currently have large office centers that will stop gathering thousands of workers during the week. More office spaces will be closed or they will be reconverted to a different format, perhaps even changing their use. Large corporate buildings will offer empty spaces generating new opportunities.

3.- Global labor market. Remote work opens up new opportunities to hire local or foreign staff. Human resources departments and companies in general become “seducers of talent” and must learn how to attract it, carry out on-boarding and retain international talent.

4.- More savings and less expense. The months of confinement and the evolution of the pandemic have transformed certain habits. For example, a generalized bet on a more responsible consumption, contracting the personal economy and allowing people to save more. On the other hand, a high percentage of family spending will go to goods and services different from those that were consumed before and electronic products will maintain their upward trend and will continue to be the most demanded.

5.- Reduction of business trips. The way we interact in the workplace has changed drastically, business trips and congresses, conventions or work meetings outside the usual place have been greatly affected and will be reduced by around 50% in the future. Over time they will resume, but smaller events will be organised, with fewer attendees and most of these events will no longer be international in scope.

The alternatives of digital encounters through the multiple platforms that have been quickly implemented are now the usual practice in many sectors and they are here to stay. For this reason, finding ways to promote digital networking will be a priority for companies, as well as finding out how to continue developing informal relationships that are so important in the workplace to create and maintain the network of knowledge and values ​​that give rise to company’s organizational culture. We will get used to new product launches in digital form and with new technologies.

6.- Revolution of education. The evolution from face-to-face to digital learning that has been taking place for some time has accelerated with the pandemic. The face-to-face format will continue to have great relevance, especially in the early stages of teaching: nursery, school and high school where practical learning is necessary and social interaction is very important. It is essential to create habits to become very disciplined in order to be able to follow entire days in front of a computer screen.

Universities will continue their transformation towards the hybrid system that seems will be established in the future with face-to-face and online groups in shifts and with smaller groups of students.

7. E-commerce will continue to grow. As in the rest of the industries, digitalisation will also transform commerce. “Companies such as Tik Tok, Facebook or YouTube will be competing with Amazon”. According to The Economist, by the end of 2024 online commerce will overtake physical traditional retail, which will cause the closure of around 50% of physical stores.

The stores that survive will have to reinvent themselves and become interesting enough for consumers or become large show rooms to attract customers to their stores and to create an appealing experience. There is a diversity of opinion regarding large shopping centers, probably few will survive in the long term.

8.-. New information and news models. Transparency and credibility will be the basis of all companies, also for the media ones. Users are saturated with so much information and opt for systems to obtain the information through digital subscriptions, which will help to give real content and avoid fake news. Immediacy will continue to be highly valued.

9.- Climate change will be a priority. Climate change will be a sensitive issue and much valued by consumers. For this reason, many companies are already using it to differentiate themselves. Businesses that want to continue operating will have to align their actions with a meaningful purpose and oriented to a greater global good.

Experts believe that we will move from "Covid" to "climate change" in a natural way.

10.- Mental health becomes a crucial issue. With the confinement, the importance of mental health became evident by placing it in the foreground. Employee experience design (EED) becomes important to measure the well-being of the workforce not only because a better employee well-being results in greater productivity for the company but also as a way of ensuring mental health and as a way helping people cope with situations of loneliness and anguish due to the isolation that comes with working remotely without physical contact with co-workers.

11.- Social entrepreneurship will be a priority. Technology companies also set their sights on major issues such as education, health, energy, security, politics or the destruction of the middle class. Social entrepreneurship at its finest with very substantial financial results, large capital investments are expected to try to solve important social problems.

12.- Natural and healthy. Food, experiences and way of interacting. Consume local but real. Being healthier is the "new luxury” Sustainable becomes fashionable. What is natural and healthy becomes relevant: producing your own food, meditating, exercising and taking care of what you eat becomes part of the day to day. Recycling is gaining momentum, after years of uncontrollable waste, technologies are now applying solutions to solve problems generated in the past.

13.- There is a personal rebirth. People will rethink their personal goals of work, health, spirituality and economic. There are great opportunities to satisfy these needs and change of thought that have arisen, among other reasons, for having stopped the frenzied activity during the months of confinement.

14.- Subscription services and virtual reality. Repetitive activities become virtual and through subscription. From gyms, museums to cinema and entertainment in general. We will continue to personally attend shows and activities, but numbers don’t always add up to keep the physical infrastructures open as it occurred before. The offer of home services through virtual reality will increase.

15.- New technologies become essential. Companies that do not invest at least 10% in new technologies will disappear. With limited resources, companies need better investments and more certainty. Today a new technology company can unseat any other that has been in business doing the same thing for over 50 years. Just as the “dark kitchen” model has revolutionised the restaurant industry, dispensing with the resources that restaurants used until now to physically serve their customers, companies from many other sectors will copy this model.

16.- Change in the handling of personal data. The handling of personal data becomes more delicate and the big platforms will change. Consumers will prefer to pay instead of giving away their personal data and their leisure and consumption habits, so they will start paying for apps through subscriptions.

17.- Advancement of telemedicine. Increase in remote doctor's appointment to be made by teleconference and for basic periodic diagnoses to be carried out by IOT (internet of things) devices, a technological ecosystem made up of medical devices that are connected to healthcare systems through via online computer networks.

18.- Tourism will return with force. Leisure tourism will make a strong comeback in the second half of 2021. People will appreciate more than ever visiting natural places and living outdoor experiences, supported by 24/7 digital assistance. Interaction is the foundation of the entertainment of the future, being a part, experiencing something authentic and discovering information in a dynamic way.

19.- Irruption of artificial intelligence and reduction of the basic workforce. By 2024, Artificial Intelligence will handle complicated operations in millions of places and this will aggravate layoffs worldwide.

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