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The biggest business trends of 2019 (& the ones to watch out for in 2020)

With another year over, now is a perfect time for entrepreneurs to reflect on all of the peaks and valleys of the year, and plan for what’s to come over the year ahead.

Business trends are constantly changing and, with technology always evolving, it’s important for entrepreneurs to consider these external factors that will likely be key influences on internal business operations throughout the next year.

We’ve compiled a quick run-through of the biggest business trends of 2019, and included some insights for things to focus on for 2020.

Webinars and podcasts

2019 was a huge year for webinars and podcasts! With Spotify acquiring Gimlet Media, and the launch of brand new subscription platforms like Luminary and Brew, the ability to stream content on-demand, on any device, is quickly gaining mass-market appeal.

The Podcast Trends Report 2019 reported that 82% of people listen to podcasts for more than 7 hours each week, along with substantial growth in the super-listener category of people listening to podcasts for over 21 hours a week.

Meanwhile, 56% of people surveyed claimed to have purchased a product after hearing it being advertised on a podcast, demonstrating what a prime channel podcasting is becoming for businesses.

Webinars, too, are transforming the way that businesses are delivering guidance, training, and support to audiences across the globe. Stats indicate that almost 80% of B2B consumers have used webinars in the past year to make an informed purchasing decision, showing the impact that hosting a webinar can have on your sales.

2020 anticipates more growth in both the podcasting and webinar market, with benefits including increased engagement and improved sales.

AI-powered tech 

Technology fuelled by AI grew bigger than ever in 2019, and its growth shows no sign of slowing down over the coming years. AI is everywhere, and it’s becoming commonplace in tech companies and advertising, with businesses finding new ways to speed up their services and enhance their products through AI assistance.

From AI-powered ordering kiosks in shops and fast food chains to AI browser shopping extensions which allow online consumers to quickly search thousands of sites to find the best deal; 2019 saw plenty of break-throughs in AI-powered tech, impacting sectors such as Healthcare, Education, Human Resources, and Marketing  – with many more anticipated for 2020.

The modern workplace 

With an increased focus on workplace culture, the modern workplace is evolving at lightning speed – with distributed teams, brand new business models, and complex security issues.

This last year has seen a significant rise in the usage of digital collaboration tools such as Workplace by Facebook and Slack, along with an upsurge in both flexible and remote working – with 99% of people claiming they’d like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers, according to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work.

2019 was a huge year for coworking, with the number of coworking spaces hitting over 18,000 – and an estimated total of 3 million coworkers worldwide (a figure that’s expected to double in the next couple of years!). As more and more innovative startups emerge, and organizations continue to take advantage of agile talent to fuel their workforces, the workplace is experiencing its biggest shift yet.

Cybersecurity 

As technology evolves, the threat to cybersecurity becomes an increasingly bigger concern to businesses everywhere. Mobiles were, and continue to be, a prime route for phishing attacks. As on-premise systems become outdated, 2019 saw a leap in the number of businesses turning to cloud solutions for their workloads – making the cloud another key target for hackers.

What’s more, the volume of data being collected and generated has also risen substantially; this has led to improved technologies and tactics surrounding data utilization, enhanced methods of data analysis and predictive machine learning models.

Securing networks, hardening internal systems, and protecting data from cyber threats is going to be more important than ever before in 2020; and as a result, cybersecurity will be better than ever as new tech is developed to proactively combat attacks through the prediction of user behavior.

What to watch out for in 2020 

Along with even bigger growth anticipated in the above trends, 2020 is predicted to be an exciting year in technology. Here are just some of the things to watch out for…

The arrival of 5G 

The long-awaited roll-out of 5G will bring next-generation connectivity to help businesses thrive in this data-driven era. Alongside never-seen-before levels of data capacity, 5G networks promise super-fast speeds.

Healthcare tech 

With the growth of wearable technology and the launch of smart devices like the Apple Watch 5 Series, we can now monitor our personal health in more advanced ways than ever before. This next year is anticipated to bring about further introductions to intelligent hardware that will monitor and help diagnose a range of health issues.

Workplace virtual reality 

While many of us will think of video games or movies when it comes to virtual reality, VR is becoming much more than just a novelty, as it becomes increasingly present in the workplace. The technology is already making waves in sectors such as Education & Training, and it’s expected to make even more of an impact around the globe in 2020.

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