Business trends and predictions for 2018

September 25th, 2017

Written by Katy Winship

The Sharing Economy

Sharing has become more than office sharing and house sharing, these days everything is for hire and available to share. The sharing economy was started by companies as a way to share services and goods. Uber and Air bnb are great examples of this working well have you heard of these things we can share? You can now rent your car, driveway, caravan, storage space, and even yourself. Services which offer bridesmaid hire are old hat- now you can rent yourself out to people with similar interests for activities like shopping, eating, or seeing a movie in China with Zuwoba the app that which literally means ‘rent me’ in Chinese. My two pennies’ worth: In the new millennium we all love to share. Every aspect of our lives is now online and if you need it you might be able to hire it. ‘Social’ is big and if you come up with an innovative idea in 2018 your business could be über successful.

Japanese Influence

There’s no doubt that Japanese trends have influenced the UK high street, just walk around your local town centre and you’ll see numerous fast food sushi restaurants and bubble tea counters. Look a little closer and you’ll notice Japanese industry in other places. Anime, video gaming, kawaii cute such as Hello Kitty and even the Emoji ail hail from Japan and have made huge waves.The UK is a major buyer of Japanese products, buying £9.6 billion worth of goods and services in 2015 alone- we can’t get enough. Likewise, Japan was the 11th biggest buyer that year of UK exports with spending hitting £10.5 billion. Now with the trade deal Theresa May has secured we’re sure to see more Japanese influence hitting our shores.

My two pennies’ worth: New businesses could do worse than to turn to the Japanese and see how they do things. The country appears to set trends, from Cat Cafes to Karaoke - just look at the Pokémon Go craze of 2016!

The Experience Economy

Events such as outdoor cinema screenings and touring shows such as Friends Fest have sold out because of the demand for experiences is higher than ever. Our thirst has grown for ‘doing’ as there has been a shift in spending powers- we’ve gone from a nation of consumers to doers and goers who no longer value possessions more than experiences. More and more cash is spent on dining out, cinema trips and entertainment. Also more of us are holidaying more often than once a year, particularly younger people who are unable to save to get onto the housing ladder. My two pennies’ worth: Unique and fun experience based companies are bad news for luxury goods retailers as people choose to spend their money in different ways and then show off their adventures on social media. Investments in this kind of venture could be worthwhile for those that have great new ideas on what people want to experience. Beware about the life expectancy however.

Employee perks

Turns out looking after your employees’ health is good for business- who’d have thought?? This trend is growing year on year as investment into worker-well-being booms. Companies are realising that employees are loyal workers when the company they work for offers desirable benefits. Flexible working hours, working from home options and support in advancement appear to be what we care about the most. Due to this there are a whole range of businesses offering ideas to help you maintain and attract staff. There increasing amounts of companies who are taking this seriously with rewards that range from cinema tickets and cocktails to all-inclusive holidays, on- site dentists, ball pools, saunas and cocktail bars. Many are also choosing to invest in the health and mental health of their employees with offerings such as regular office yoga and massage sessions, mental health support visits and staff support systems. My two pennies’ worth: Employees expectations are rising and failure to compete with their expectations (and indeed your rivals) in your employment packages could be bad for business and you could lose some of your best staff to your biggest competitor. Don’t take that risk and re-think your business strategy.

Corporate Social Responsibility

The circular economy is a buzzword right now (If you don’t know what it means this graphic should explain it for you).

Businesses are increasingly looking for ways to help the environment by being conscientious about waste and recycling, and we should know. We speak to thousands of companies every day who are looking to switch to recycled products. Consumers too are being socially responsible- whether intentionally or not- demand for recycled, reclaimed second-hand and vintage has soared. My two pennies’ worth: If you’re like us and care about the footprint your business is making on the earth you will have re-considered your waste, your packaging and your printing practises. Not only is it good for business to show that you are your bit it’s also good for future generations, together we can help your business go green. Find out more here