We are in a very similar position to where we were last year. We need something to look forward to and understand the business trends will help us to do just that.
In this article, we compiled 7 trend predictions from top business resources that apply to membership, business, and community.
1. Get ready for attrition
“There’s been attrition,” says Alan Kirby of ABI (Accountancy and Business Improvement). “Some businesses haven’t made it, but the survivors can now make a plan. And there is some pent-up demand, so there are opportunities out there.”
“Clients are adapting well and have come out more resilient,” says Ya Wen How of AccountServe. “They’re simplifying their processes and becoming more efficient and we’re looking forward to the year ahead.”
In fact, David Stephens of Stephens Financial Services notes there may be too much demand in the short term. “Supply will bounce back more slowly. Businesses may find it difficult to secure inventory, rehire staff, and get back to where they were,” he says.
Small businesses know it won’t be a straightforward rebound. In fact, a third remain concerned about their ability to handle another crisis (Xero, 2021). But overall, optimism is beginning to trend upwards for small businesses.
2. Airline Travel Will Be More Expensive (
This holiday season saw many flights grounded. Between staff outages due to COVID, increased fuel prices, and an aging pilot population facing mandatory retirement age, the airlines are struggling to keep up with the demand of people looking forward to travel after 18 months of limitations.
If demand is high and the capabilities to fulfill demand are limited, you can expect an increase in price to separate those who want to travel and those who must travel.
This is likely going to impact travel, especially when coupled with rising gas prices. There may be a need to switch from marketing to people who will travel a distance to your community to targeting staycationers again.
3. Digitalisation remains king for businesses to grow this year.
After almost two years under lockdown, small and medium enterprises (SME) are now seen to leverage on digitalisation for growth in 2022, following the accelerated shift to online to keep their businesses afloat at the start of the health crisis.
Kevin Fitzgerald, managing director of online accounting software Xero Asia, said that amongst the trends that may arise for the SME sector is the “shift to growth mode with a focus on digitalisation.”
Some businesses will rely on digital tools to expand their customer base and engage with them amidst the evolving regulatory environment, whilst some will look into technology to enhance innovation and development of new products and services.
Many small businesses are also seen to focus on technology to improve their operational processes, he said.
“This will most certainly change, with affordable and scalable cloud tools empowering businesses to double down on their data strategies in 2022,” he said.
Having available performance data will help businesses adjust their sales and attendance campaigns to meet their targets amidst changing “circuit breaker” measures, Fitzgerald said, adding that having data on cash flow and financial health allows SMEs to manage their budget and investments wisely.
He cited a study by the Singapore Institute of Technology, RSM Singapore and the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants in October 2020 which found that 69% of SMEs in 2020 have yet to adopt data analytics.
Fitzgerald also stated that increased spending on technology will help SMEs to stay afloat.
“Technology budgets will increase as more small businesses embark on digital transformation projects to accelerate their post-crisis recovery,” he said.
He also cited data from IDC which said that at least 20% of business worldwide will close by 2025 if they do not speed up digitisation.
4. Shopping will be seen as a community-building movement and lifestyle
Many people have embraced shopping small and shopping local since COVID knocked on our doors nearly two years ago. Shopping small has received large-scale support and promotion by business associations, large companies, news media and government agencies.
In some communities, small/local shops will become more than just a mantra used around the holidays.
Shopping small will continue to evolve to become a lifestyle commitment in much the same way people have made life-altering decisions to eat clean. It is not something you do once. A commitment to shop small or local is something that goes into every purchasing decision you make.
There will also be a growing effort to make shopping local more available and efficient for everyone. For instance, it is easier to buy a book from Amazon than going to your local bookstore. But now there are apps where you can buy books and support your local bookstore at the same time, even if they do not use any sort of e-commerce platform. We will see more of this over the next year, finally removing the excuse of not shopping local because it is not as convenient as shopping at big retail online.
5. Social commerce and live-streaming Will Grow into Shoptainment (
With online shopping hitting record numbers in 2021, concern over yet another variant growing. It is no surprise that prognosticators are envisioning more online activity and sales especially through “social commerce.”
“2022 is the year that we’ll see the social commerce model—deeply embedded commerce that meets consumers where they are and is non-disruptive to their experience—spread to more platforms and more industries.” says Amir Kabbara, the Director of Product for Shopify.
Social shopping is already one of the fastest growing e-commerce areas. Social shopping is a business trend where shoppers or influencers are browsing with “friends” (or an audience) and sharing what they’re most interested in, hottest trends, new finds, etc. It’s similar to the home shopping concept used by QVC or HSN but online through multiple platforms.
Social shopping allows for an interactive component that home shopping could only do through phone calls broadcasted during shows. Plus, home shopping, while it runs 24 hours a day, misses out on someone being able to shop on their schedule where ever they are. Social shopping allows this assuming they have an internet connection.
Social shopping creates more personal interactions between brand and shopper, while also blurring the lines between entertainment and shopping. There are a lot of opportunities for smaller businesses to begin thinking about how they can connect with their audience in more unique and entertaining ways.
Live-streaming and membership sales may even be something you might consider when it comes to events and networking functions. Showing “those at home” the types of fun they can have during chamber mixers or live-streaming from a member business that offers a hot deal for members only may offer a new way to connect and interest potential members.
6. Hybrid shopping experiences will end the divide between in-person and online shopping (
If you visit a brick-and-mortar location that sells pricey items like electronics, you may have witnessed people walking up and down the aisles glued to their phones. Sure, some of them might be living their best Insta life, but the savvy shoppers among them are likely comparing prices in store to online. And pricing isn’t the only thing they’re checking. They may be looking at reviews or how-to/use videos.
This is the “hybrid shopping” trend. It is become a routine practice to shop online and in-person looking for the perfect combination of best price, research, and most convenient ways to receive the products.
Smaller businesses do not have to be blocked out of hybrid shopping. They can easily incorporate helpful online components to in-person shopping, creating a more robust shopping experience. For instance, the brick and mortar business can add signs with QR codes to popular items in store for shoppers to scan. These codes may go to links for video reviews or suggestions made by popular influencers. Businesses could also create photo ops with prop signs that read, “this or that” to take a quick pic of two products and post it to social channels to crowdsource their in-person shopping.
Just as some chambers are considering hybrid event ideas, businesses may do well to consider the same in shopping and dining. Today’s customer is never alone, even if they are physically unaccompanied.
7. Emotional Intelligence and Empathy Will Drive Business
No matter how efficient online shopping is, its missing the human presence.
That is why so many people have turned to socializing online shopping. But another way small business will win the day in 2022 is through emotional intelligence and empathy. And this goes beyond greeting each customer with a smile and a pleasant comment.
Emotional intelligence and empathy is also one of the top management skills required right now for all types of businesses. With the hiring crises continuing, it will take empathy and building a culture that values emotional intelligence to stand out as an employer of choice. Those skills are also important when leading a team, whether those teams are in-person or virtual.
What is the business trend that is impacting you the most in 2022?