Home Insights & Advice Four emerging trends in business

Four emerging trends in business

by John Saunders

For any business person or entrepreneur, it’s incredibly important to know the emerging trends on the market. If you ignore them, they can often leave you trailing behind, and even see your business go bust.

Across London there are thousands of entrepreneurs looking to create the next big thing, and to do so they’re tapping into the emerging trends within business. But what are they?

2020 has been an unprecedented year in the world of business, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t proving a success. Below you’ll find four of the biggest trends emerging currently and how they are revolutionising the sectors they’re involved in…

Cashless society

The rise of contactless has been huge for the last few years, but you get the feeling that the coronavirus outbreak is going to accelerate that, with few people wanting to use their hands to exchange cash.

In recent months the World Health Organisation have advised people to use cashless payment methods, while touch free payments have risen significantly worldwide during the pandemic.

This has seen a lift in the limits, with it now £45 in the UK for a contactless payment, compared to £30 previously, and more and more stores are encouraging this method.

We could never have anticipated that contactless payment would provide a level of trust when it comes to health, and that is certainly going to stick in the minds of people as we come out of the pandemic and enter a completely new world when it comes to retail and payments. The time is seemingly now for contactless.

Artificial intelligence

AI is another often talked about and is one that continues to grow as it adapts to various sectors of business. Chatbots are one of the most common types of AI we engage with, particularly during a time when many of us are using our devices to communicate with services and shopping online.

However, there are many other aspects of AI which are well and truly in the mainstream too. In the USA, Walgreens have been using Cooler Screens, using facial recognition to provide targeted ads to people, which will undoubtedly make their way to London in the not so distant future.

Elon Musk has recently come out and wanted that humans will be overtaken by AI within the next five years, with the entrepreneur founded the artificial intelligence research lab OpenAI back in 2015 and has seen the rise of the technology and how beneficial it can be.

It perhaps goes to show the great entrepreneur he is, taking that risk and creating that opportunity to get ahead of the game half a decade ago and become a leader in the science.

There’s no doubt that AI already plays a huge part in our lives, and that will only strengthen in the coming years.

New realities

Augmented reality and virtual reality are often more associated with gaming, but they have a huge part to play in business too. Many major brands are already starting to invest in this technology, and it can improve a variety of different sectors.

IKEA are one of the biggest brands to really benefit from augmented reality, with their IKEA Place app, which allows people to drop furniture from IKEA into their rooms via a smartphone app to discover how it will look.

It’s an incredible way to help inform a customer of how furniture will look and fit into their home and has been a huge hit.

They aren’t the only business though. It’s being successfully used in fashion, with virtual changing rooms allowing people to try clothes on using technology, while virtual reality has of course been a huge hit for entertainment.

Virtual reality is also benefiting the property market, with potential buyers given virtual tours of a property, which are proving a massive hit for those who aren’t able to travel currently. What’s more, this technology is only going to be more accessible, and in turn be adopted more freely across sectors.


A recent study found that 80% of consumers would be more likely to do business or buy a product because of a personalised experience on offer. That, given the climate, is perhaps more important than ever and some of the biggest brands globally are doing their best to do so.

Many are investing in various data analytics to provide personalised suggestions, whether you’re looking at purchasing clothes, holidays or even food. McDonald’s have been a big investor in machine learning, buying Dynamic Yield, an Israeli tech company that specialises in personalised technology.

Starbucks are another that are investing heavily in such programmes, while it’s also something being explored thoroughly in the recruitment sector, with Monster.com a brand who have been keen to personalise a candidate’s job hunt.

Personalisation can be used in almost any sector though, and as much of what we do now shifts online, it’s more important than ever that brands still look to offer unique customer service, no matter what the industry.

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