Digital Trends To Look Out for in 2021
As we move forward into 2021, I recently spoke with my network to identify the major digital trends catching the attention of those in the industry. We have become even more dependent on connecting without being face-to-face due to the pandemic, which has made us rely on digital channels to meet our needs. Whether its access to information from the media or others, video calls for work, or getting our groceries and meals delivered to us, we are moving into an age of superdigitalisation. Those who were not on-board before or just one foot in, have little choice but to join the club. What digital trends have caught your eye or have you heard about? I’ve asked several in the industry on their thoughts.
“The most important trend in my industry is the e-commerce boost. Many retail-only or hybrid (retail plus online) companies are focused on digital transformation to bolster their online sales, and engaging customers while also tracking their habits. Another notable trend is that we’re seeing a shift to a work-from-home economy; it seems that even after the pandemic, working cultures and workspaces will be radically different. A good example of this is the way Twitter has permanently allowed all their workers to work from home, and all Google employees have that option for 2021 as well.”
- General Manager, Ad Tech Company
“After the release of 1st generation foldable phones (like the Royole FlexPai and Samsung Galaxy Fold) in 2020, we will see a renaissance of 90s style flip phones with a modern take and new applications such as dual screen laptops becoming mainstream, giving rise to a new wave of design innovation that takes us beyond a single flat LCD device for everything. The new 2-in-1 tablet display can be folded down to a smartphone but will come at a higher price positioning. I also think there will be a surge in innovative new phone formats such as wearable tech and immersive curved displays.”
- Senior Business Transformation Manager, Management Consultancy
“Chatbots will continue to grow and evolve by becoming more human-based using smarter AI algorithms. This fits in well with the push for a digital-ready culture that most companies are experiencing. It will enable companies to have a digitized customer service, quickly scale, and meet growing consumer demand for anytime connections. Combining chatbots with live-agents, will allow live-agents to spend their time solving more difficult and complex problems.”
- Senior Digital Strategist, Digital Agency
“At-home entertainment has been key to getting through this pandemic and a trend that will continue to grow. With the restrictions on watching movies in cinemas, companies have changed their format to streaming from home as the new preferred option over cinemas and also traditional broadcasting. I know I have spent a lot of time watching Netflix but there are also a lot of alternative streaming services on the rise like HBO, Amazon, Disney Plus, Warnermedia and Apple TV.”
- E-commerce Specialist, Sporting Goods Company
“With Covid-19 causing people and companies to think about the way we work, we’re forced to abandon traditional methods in favour of modern ones and run our businesses and lives more virtually. With this there’s greater pressure to focus on online services such as virtual banking, health services, streaming, tax, education, government services and the list goes on. They all require the end user to register and share their details and information. With that in mind I think cybersecurity will be a hot topic for 2021. Companies will need to double down on their security to protect their data but their customer’s data too. Once a company proves it’s unable to protect their customers, it’s hard to regain that trust, and a costly exercise to rectify as we’ve seen with the likes of British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Yahoo and Marriott. Cybersecurity will see a surge in the job market and this will be good news for those working in Product, Analytics, and Machine Learning or those who specialise in computer sciences and mathematics. We’ll also likely see a pick-up in cybersecurity at a consumer level in the form of VPN’s as we increase our digital footprint globally and many consumers will no longer like to be tracked.”
- Digital Product Owner, Sporting Goods Company
“Software Engineers will be in demand as digital transformation journeys are being expedited: with the persistence of COVID-19 and the uncertainty for the future of corporate environments, the need for organisations to develop functional digital infrastructures and remote working applications will continue to grow. Software Engineers with specialized technical skills such as REST APIs, micro services, cloud and DevOps will continue to be in demand as the need for automation and digitizing processes for remote accessibility will be fortunate and have plenty of options. Combined with the right soft skills and the ability to articulate to internal/external stakeholders about digital/tech architecture, a technically skilled and well-spoken Software Engineer would be a highly coveted asset.”
- Associate Director, Digital & Tech Agency
These are all interesting trends, and I predict this list will grow further as we continue accelerating into more digital consumption. There will be 5G, livestream shopping, more digital payments, holograms, VR, and more advancements and integration of AI. It can even be overwhelming to think how much digital will play into our lives through every interaction. There is the fear that it will take over and invade our privacy and our wellbeing, though unless you have a lot to hide, it will generally make our lives easier and more seamless while helping businesses understand their customers more closely.
If you would like to discuss the market further, or looking for your next Digital role or planning to add someone to your team, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or message me on LinkedIn.