You might already have clear goals for the coming year. You might even have a solid strategy for realizing them.

But before diving in, take a few moments to consider these 10 prevailing trends that are shaping the future of business.

Whilst some of these trends are still in their infancy, others have been around for a while. But they will all be influential this year (and beyond). So, take note and get ready for change.

1. Rise of the gig economy  

Technology will continue to revolutionize the way we work, supported by a growing desire for greater control on how and when we work. This has led to a consequential rise of freelance work and entrepreneurship.

2. Growing investment in big data

As companies strive for more detailed consumer insights, the thirst and investment in big data will grow to help meet this challenge. In fact, big data spending is projected to grow by a CAGR of 23% each year until 2019.

3. Continuing power of social media

Consumers use social media content to inform their purchasers, including both company-generated content, and more importantly, recommendations and reviews by fellow consumers. But generating audience engagement through authenticity is the real key to success on social media.

4. Focus shifts to gen z

Growing up in a post 9/11 world struck by recession, gen z have novel prospects and priorities that set them apart from previous generations. The challenge for companies will be how to meet demands of this confident, tech-savvy, and innovative demographic of the population.

5. The human connection remains crucial

Companies are realizing the huge potential of technology to cut costs and drive more efficient processes. As such building face-to-face relationships and word-of-mouth marketing becomes a potent differentiating factor to delivering customer satisfaction and continued loyalty.

6. Mobile becomes more powerful

As use of smartphones is on the rise, companies need to be more adept for mobile, which will become an ever more important component in the marketing plan. Watch out for more location-based marketing, mobile friendly websites, and ways to enhance the mobile buying experience.

7. Growing use of cloud computing

The global market for cloud computing services is predicted to reach $127 Billion by the year 2017 (Global Industry Analysts, Inc). Cost savings and time to market are the key factors driving adoption of the technology.

8. A broader conception of social responsibility  

The demand for environmental sustainability has been on the agenda for some time, but we will see an increasing pressure for a holistic conception of ‘sustainability’ that also includes a growing concern for tackling social inequalities.

9. Businesses become more close-knit and collaborative in their activities

Rather than contractors merely providing services in a transactional manner, they will be inclined to adopt a more consultative role to the benefit of both parties.

10. A growing demand for interaction

Consumers enjoy getting involved in the conversation and sharing their opinions with others. With the growing number of tools and apps, it is becoming easier for consumers to create their own content and companies should be leveraging this.

What are your top forecasts for the year ahead? Share your thoughts!

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