You’ve heard of Spotify’s 2020 Wrapped, the company’s deep dive into the past year’s music trends, but now we’re providing you with the small business version. We did some digging to try and see what was predicted for small businesses at the beginning of 2020, what actually happened, and what the experts say you should be preparing for in 2021.
What Trends Were Predicted?
The top three trends aren’t all too surprising: e-commerce, social media marketing, and customer review management. Prior to 2020, we all knew that the world was becoming more digital (and still is) and the result was a shift in the customer journey, with browsing happening online and in social media and reviews easily accessible at the point of purchase, which moved to an online platform rather than in store.
However, some other trends that weren’t as obvious include the importance of automation through AI, women in leadership, and the gig economy. One prediction list even included (at #1) the rise of remote working!
What Actually Happened?
Hint: it’s a lot and no one was really prepared for it; see: worldwide pandemic.
A lot of the predictions made actually did pan out, although maybe at a larger scale than imagined. E-commerce and social media marketing were huge factors for small businesses, mostly due to the Coronavirus pandemic that caused multiple shutdowns across the globe. By the 3rd quarter of 2020, ecommerce sales were up over 30% from 2019, with “online sales reaching a level not previously expected until 2022,” according to eMarketer. Hootsuite and We Are Social published their Digital 2020 October Global Statshot Report which found that social media usage increased at higher rates quarter after quarter and surpassed 4 billion users in 2020 as well.
2020 has also simultaneously helped and hurt the gig economy (think freelancers, consultants, independent contractors, temporary workers). Due to the high levels of unemployment that the coronavirus caused, a lot of people turned to the gig economy for an opportunity to earn a living or a way to get by. However, that increased level of supply caused the price charged for work in the areas popular to the gig economy to go down, hurting those who used it as their main source of income prior to 2020.
Diversity in company leadership included more than a focus on women in 2020, with the fight for racial equality brought to the forefront of the international world during weeks of protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and other minority populations after many more lives were lost needlessly in viral, eye-opening fashion.
The biggest thing that wasn’t predicted for Small Businesses in 2020 was the need for creativity and flexibility that the pandemic brought on (above and beyond an entrepreneur’s everyday output). There were a lot of changes and it was hard to keep up with it sometimes, but small businesses rallied and made the best decisions and took the best actions that they could with what the year threw at them. For some, that meant changing their business model, and for others it meant saying goodbye. We don’t know exactly how many small businesses closed their doors for good this year, but some reports say it could be more than 100,000. We hope that if you’re reading this, that it’s because you aren’t part of that statistic and are still working everyday to make your small business a success.
What’s On Deck For 2021?
So, after this crazy year, what do the experts think are some things that small businesses should keep in mind for 2021?
Focus on Digital
Virtual meetings, social media, e-commerce, and more will only grow in the next year. Having a defined digital presence will be more important than ever in order to be found in the next year, and using the digital space and resources effectively and efficiently should be a major focus for small businesses.
As a small business, you may be known throughout the community where you’re located because of your history or prime downtown location. But the way you connect with that community has and is continuing to change so make sure you’re finding ways to stay connected to your local community and the locals who talk about you.
Creativity for The Win
While 2020 was all about being creative to make it through COVID changes, 2021 may be about continuing that creativity and diversifying your business model to increase the chance of long-term survivability. One way this is predicted is to “seek out creative collaborations and joint ventures with other small businesses.”
These are just a few, but we encourage you to read this article with the expert’s quotes and dig deeper for yourself. If you have any questions about what your small business could be doing in 2021, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org!