8 business mega-trends for 2018

16 Jul, 2018

The year 2018 is highlighting business mega-trends such as ‘Africa Rising’, which is very positive for investment and growth on our continent, and the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in software and business systems which will impact organisations for years to come. These trends are global and macro-economic forces of development that can define the increasing pace of change and the future of business.

Here are 8 mega-trends for businesses to keep up with in 2018:

Africa Rising
‘Africa Rising’ was identified as a global mega-trend by Euromonitor this year. Six of the 10 fastest growing economies are in Africa. By 2030, Africa will have 16% of the world’s Internet users and access to a massive workforce through its growing youth population. The rising middle class, dubbed the ‘African Lions’, translates to a new, largely untapped consumer market. The surge in appreciation of African culture around the world, as typified by film successes such as ‘Black Panther’, and the rise of Afrofuturism and Afro-optimism means it is truly Africa’s time.

Artificial Intelligence
Over the next decade, AI applications and software will have a significant transformative impact on business, from helping marketers build individual relationships with customers to rendering many careers redundant. This is why tertiary institutions like the Red and Yellow Creative School of Business in Cape Town are transforming their approach to focus on the teaching of human-centric skills like empathy, persuasion and creative thinking to produce future-ready entrepreneurs and leaders.

Purpose-driven marketing
Businesses that fail to communicate ‘purpose’ to employees and consumes won’t survive the coming decades. Generation Z care about the values of an organisation – what you stand for, your culture, and whether you contribute value to the broader community. Be a purpose-led brand, not a profit-led brand, because without consumers there is no profit. Trend guru Dion Chang calls it being “woke” or being aware of the social climate and behaving in a socially responsible manner.

The increasing digitisation of Africa is enabled by mobile devices, which are becoming more accessible as they become less expensive, thereby opening up content channels, marketing opportunities, financial services and even solar-powered electricity in pay-as-you-go models. A mobile-first approach is therefore essential for any marketing and services launched by brands and organisations.

Youth bulge
Millennials have changed the way we do business. Following in their footsteps with immense potential to transform continents is the rising digital Generation Z. By 2025, this generation will make up 20% of the world population and job creation and skills training is all the more essential to turn this youth bulge into an opportunity.

Automation is the new marketing
Global spend on marketing automation software is estimated to reach $32 billion in 2018. Marketing automation tools are becoming more sophisticated and marketers now have the ability to create digital marketing programs. Marketing automation enables marketing departments to engage customers more frequently and effectively and to convert leads – ultimately freeing up time and resources by automating routine tasks.

Video content surge
The mobile video explosion is forcing brands to become more visual in their communications as this is the preferred way for Millennials and Generation Z to communicate and consume content. By 2019, a staggering 90% of all Internet traffic will be video-based, mobile video viewing will see a 29% increase and 92% of mobile viewers will share videos.

Reputation management
What has taken years to build can be destroyed in seconds when a brand scandal hits social media. You never know when something will blow up on social media, become a meme or damage your brand. Rising consumer activism and social media bullying makes any brand a target and businesses need to be ready for reputational damage control at all times.

Mega-trends in a fast-changing business landscape can be both exciting and intimidating. Awareness and preparation are key to enable better strategic decisions, to capitalise on first-mover opportunities, to outplay and outlast the competition and to future-proof your business.