Global trends are major developmental forces that have sustained impact on the global economy, businesses and individuals. These trends may be societal, political, economic or environmental, and impact the way people perceive the world around them and their expectations from products and services.
Global mega-trends redefine the future world for humankind. Hence it is important for individuals and businesses alike to pay attention to these trends. Several mega trends and potential scenarios are likely to emerge in the next decade and will provide the basis for forward thinking organizations to transform their businesses. Organizations can use these trends as the basis of their strategic planning, by assessing their impact on functional areas such as production, marketing, and customer relationship management and take action to gain competitive advantage from the environmental changes.
Global mega trends include urbanization, smart cities, the rise of Generation Y and increased connectivity and convergence
Urbanization will lead to the expansion of city limits as populations migrate from rural communities to city centers around the world. This development will have implication for business and government services.
2. Smart Cities
Smart cities will emerge as the global emphasis shift from “green” which dominated global business conversations to ‘smart’. Smart technology will influence the construction of buildings, energy generation and utilities.
3. Connectivity and Convergence
The rapid increase in internet users will result in the growth of users to over 5 billion by 2020, with more than half that number accessing the internet using handheld devices. Connectivity will be a major feature of daily life, connecting home, school, work and environment into a seamless connected life. Connected living will become a major part of life of the future.
4. Online retailing
Online retailing will become the normal way for the retail industry of the future, with more and more of global commerce taking place online. Virtual stores and virtual hypermarkets will emerge as the ‘click and collect’ retailing models expand globally. Online retailing will expand to sectors such as the automobile industry, which will begin selling motor cars online through virtual showrooms.
5. Social Trends
Major changes in social trends will include the rise, and dominance of Generation Y which will influence changes in product development, marketing strategy and technology. Generation Y provides a huge opportunity for innovative companies as they are willing to experiment with new technology, and are adaptive.
6. Smart Energy
Several related industries will converge with the energy industry for the development of multiple environmentally friendly options for consumers. These will include the smart grid, energy internet, and solar power satellites from space, deep sea drilling, and an increase in energy storage technology.
7. Value for Many Business Model
The combination of an increasing global middle class and a more connected global community provide greater access to businesses and entrepreneurs to expand their customer base. Businesses have an increased opportunity for growth as they gain economies of scale from the possibility of selling goods and services to customers across the globe using the internet platform.
While trends impact us all, the impact is different for individuals and businesses depending on their location in the world. It is, therefore critical for organizations and entrepreneurs to pay attention to these trends in developing future strategy, business plans, and technology implementation.
Dr. Elaine Williams-Morgan is a Media & Management Consultant, Entrepreneur, and Business Educator. She blogs about Strategy & Innovation, Media Matters, and Entrepreneurship. Follow her posts at Focus on innovation with Dr. Elaine Williams-Morgan and at YourBusiness International Follow Elaine on Twitter @drElainea and on Facebook