2021 Foresight: Innovate to stay ahead

What will you do to capitalise on this new shift further into the age of information?

By Alan Ronald, 15 February 2021

The changes we have been forced to embrace as a result of the virus are unavoidable. A majority of these are somewhat unwelcomed, however, it would be unreasonable to disregard them all where some can prove to be the shift we were waiting to happen. As industries have scrambled to adapt to the digital age we are starting to see big moves being made.

So what changes will we see stick around when we finally say goodbye to this seemingly never-ending nightmare?

For a start the way people view their indoor settings has shifted, the mindset your audiences have at home is far less predictable now as we are having to use our homes as offices, gyms, nurseries as well as a place to kick back and relax. This means the way businesses interact with the public must be adapted in such a way to make life easier and turn shopping into less of an errand.

In addition, the online marketing game has been forever changed. We are starting to see businesses which strongly relied on face to face engagement being deprived of such, so they have been forced to seek refuge in the digital world. In November of 2019 online purchases amounted to 20% of the UK’s total retail sales. This number has increased by 16.2% in only a year, this kind of growth in such a short time is unprecedented and we can only see it increasing from here on Now that the majority of purchases are done from behind a screen the online storefront is being revolutionised to facilitate one and all.

The perfect example of this is the automotive industry. As showrooms close, the spotlight has turned to their websites. Some of which have been fitted with online advisors, available during working hours to help you through the whole experience from the safety of your couch Additionally businesses have even begun to deliver vehicles to consumers’ homes or places of work, replacing the traditional dealership handover.

We can also expect to see more streamlining between social media and e-commerce spaces, Facebook and Instagram have pioneered this movement. Being able to shop from a businesses social media page through facebook’s commerce system and buy from them without leaving the app is a luxury people are now becoming accustomed to. Where before the customer would use Facebook or Instagram as a middleman between them and the vendor, now Facebook has integrated the business and customer all in the one place essentially owning the whole purchase process from start to finish. The one to watch being TikTok - with 800 million active users, given the impressive size of the platform it would make sense for them to “set up shop”.

Something we did not expect to see for another decade or so was the adoption of digital by our older generations. Did you know that every month, 70% of newly created Facebook accounts belong to over 60-year-olds?

 Yes! They’ve done it, a huge increase in the more mature side of the public are using the internet to stay in touch with loved ones, keep entertained and of course, a spot of online shopping. Small and local businesses may be happy to hear this as they’re typically the audience with the most free time and financial resources, not to mention all this time at home has given us a new admiration for our local communities. This has sparked an eagerness to support these small businesses and move away from the corporate coldness of large brand superstores we were accustomed to having around our places of work.

The series of lockdowns we have experienced globally has brought on a massive spike in  gaming and ultimately streaming platforms. Take Twitch, in 2020 alone they had 140 million monthly users and around one trillion minutes of watched content which is quite a substantial figure for an online gaming platform. As a result, we are seeing non-gaming brands build a presence on the site and can expect many more to follow suit in the next year and tap into this new and rich revenue stream.

What will you do to capitalise on this new shift further into the age of information?


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