Our world continues to change, and businesses must remain adaptive in order to keep pace with their competition and consumer demands. Thanks to new technologies, changing customer priorities, societal movements, and of course, repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic, business owners can expect certain industry shifts that began leading up to 2021 to continue into 2022.
Globalization Through Remote Work
It’s no secret that globalization has been a growing trend for quite some time now. But the COVID-19 pandemic spurred serious momentum in this area, for companies of all sizes, with the remote workforce being larger than ever. Rapid implementation of digitally connective technologies throughout 2020 has opened up a world of possibilities for globalism. People simply no longer need to meet face-to-face to make things happen.
The majority of employees that worked from home during the pandemic prefer not to return to the workplace. Many workers have abandoned large cities for smaller, less expensive areas, realizing that they can work in a big city minus the high cost of living. Such options have also opened up talent markets to companies everywhere. Businesses no longer have to search exclusively in their local talent pool. It has also reduced the overhead expenses that come with rent and utilities.
A more global mindset will be the norm among leading companies into the future, as it opens the door to expand their customer reach worldwide, especially in a 5G world. Businesses that resist the change do risk falling behind.
One of the goals of today’s businesses is to reach customers where they are. And guess where they are? On their phones. Companies can use this to their advantage now more than ever as mobile commerce has evolved and made great strides. Savvy smaller businesses can lure business away from giant competitors more effortlessly. The pandemic reinforced the need for mobile commerce, giving businesses with effective e-commerce strategies an upper hand over those without such strategies.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is no longer as simple as executing a public relations stunt in an attempt to look good. Consumers have become more astute and keen to detect both transparency and insincerity, largely thanks to social media. Companies can no longer just come up with ideas that “check the box” to keep up appearances. In an era where everything is shared instantly, digital backlash is something no business wants to face because what people say on social media can actually affect a company’s profitability. This means stakeholders need to be more sensitive about what their businesses say, do and post. And being socially mindful can also translate into a better bottom line, especially in a world where Millennials are the current driving consumer force. This generation prefers brands that promote and foster more ethical policies surrounding employee treatment, material sourcing, gender equality, and green policies.
Environmentally friendly products are in record demand that spans different industries. Many companies are implementing initiatives that include green consulting, efficiency auditors, and even green app development. We’ve seen how the shift in consumer priorities has forced the hand of the automobile industry. Going green is no longer an option as the market for more environment-friendly vehicles continues to grow. Global sales of electric vehicles are expected to rise by 70% this year alone. Other sectors and markets will soon follow. There has already been a surge over recent years in companies that offer recycled products, organic foods, and green products and services. This is a trend that isn’t going away, as younger generations of consumers are more focused on protecting the environment than ever before.
Diversity has been recognized and valued for quite some time. But as we embark on the 2020s, there is a greater demand for diversity than ever before. Many people feel that there still is not enough diversity or equal opportunities for success, especially in venture capital investing. For example, in 2019, the combined VC funding for female-founded and mixed co-founded companies accounted for only 9 percent of all investments. As social responsibility continues to proliferate with Millenials leading the way, diversity will continue to share more of the spotlight in business.
Americas: Sam Smoot at +1 (813) 898 2350 / Smoot@BenchmarkIntl.com
Europe: Michael Lawrie at +44 (0) 161 359 4400 / Lawrie@BenchmarkIntl.com
Africa: Anthony McCardle at +27 21 300 2055 / McCardle@BenchmarkIntl.com
ABOUT BENCHMARK INTERNATIONAL
Benchmark International’s global offices provide business owners in the middle market and lower middle market with creative, value-maximizing solutions for growing and exiting their businesses. To date, Benchmark International has handled engagements in excess of $7B across various industries worldwide. With decades of global M&A experience, Benchmark International’s deal teams, working from 14 offices across the world, have assisted hundreds of owners with achieving their personal objectives and ensuring the continued growth of their businesses.