Adapt, Evolve, or Die: The Top 10 Business Trends of 2020 You Need to Prepare For

How you'll adapt to these trends is up to you.

Suck at money? Congrats. You’re part of the 99 percent of people in their 20s floundering when it comes to finance. Adulting is hard, and money is harder—especially when it’s your own and not your parents. My Two Cents is here to break down everything you need to know about finance, business, and entrepreneurship. We’ll tackle all the basics, from how to get a business permit to how to invest in stocks, to educate the fledgling adults on how to not go broke.

Welcome to the idiot’s guide to money. Lesson #13: Figureing out and getting ahead of business trends in 2020.

Keeping your business afloat means adapting, changing, and staying afloat amidst the trends of the times. Most businesses are designed to evolve, and each year, new trends rise that challenge and redirect small to big businesses. For entrepreneurs and new business owners, that means preparing for the business trends set to take over next year before 2020 even arrives.

To give you a peek into what the new year will bring, here are 10 business trends you ought to prepare for in the coming months:

1| Data-driven decisions and the boom of artificial intelligence

Data, not money, is king. Companies ranging from those in fast moving consumer goods to media are guided by data-driven decision-making, and more often than not, the greatest analysts and data collectors come in the form of artificial intelligence (AI). Twenty five percent of Fortune 500 companies are expected to bring more AI into their ranks to boost productivity and operational insights, saving costs and increasing production. Some might say that AI will just take over the jobs of hardworking citizens, but this is where the second item on our list comes in.


2| The return of the liberal arts degree

Since the 2010s began, the liberal arts degree was scoffed at and looked down upon as an inferior career in a tech and finance-centric economy. But that’s about to change as the liberal arts major is set to make a comeback in 2020. As AI and other technologies continue to occupy spaces in industries, the liberal arts degree offers irreplaceable advantages: the creativity and drive for innovation, communication with customers, and empathy. These are skills that help companies make informed and meaningful decisions, proving the value of the liberal arts degree.

3| Mass hiring of younger demographics

It’s the Gen Z world and we’re just living in it. The younger generation is said to be mobile, entrepreneurial, and tech-savvy in a way unseen in other generations. This is the real generation of digital natives, and their ease with technology is what makes them invaluable to employers. The boomer work arrogance has no place in innovation anymore—it’s the era of the flexible and innovation Gen Z.

4| Growing cashless economy

The Philippines is far from being a leading cashless economy like South Korea and the United Kingdom, but we’re making slow and steady steps that are expected to become greater strides in 2020. Cash might still be king, but it won’t be forever. The world is expected to become completely cashless by 2030, and if we don’t want to fall behind, the Philippines needs to catch up. More and more stores are accepting Alipay, GCash, Paymaya, and even GrabPay, and there are rumors of other cashless payment projects in the works.

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6| Culture conscious work environments

Millennials are notorious for quitting jobs, and it’s not because of “entitlement,” as some people accuse. Work culture is a growing priority for people applying for a job. It’s more than just “employee engagement.” Toxic environments that demand working even while off-duty, tolerate harassment, and prioritize profit over purpose are red flags to new job seekers. Far from “entitlement,” it’s a practical mindset that will help people find productive environments that will improve their performance.

7| The rise of remote work

The innovation of co-working spaces has taught us enough to know that you don’t need an office to get work done. Whether you’re working from home or from a café, remote work is the practical alternative to effectively run your business. In a city like Metro Manila where terrible traffic causes the economy to lose millions per day, remote work is the bandwagon companies need to jump on if they want to attract the best and brightest.

8| The death of the influencer

When Instagram decided it was time to remove the number of likes on every Instagram post, it was the beginning of the end for the Instagram influencer. Without numbers to testify their reach for potential advertisers, influencers will need to rely on something more than clickbait Instagram posts—they’ll have to focus on quality instead of quantity. Valuable, meaningful content will override the business plan to shift from “influencer” to “content creator.”

9| Valuable social media managers

Social media is the platform where everything happens, but not everyone has the wit and skill to master its management. That’s why social media managers are the underrated key players in any company. Public relations can only take you so far unless you have a social media manager who can win the charm of the public.


10| Climate conscious production

2019 was the year for the planet. Climate strikes shook society as the younger generation took the lead in demanding for environmental protection and government reforms. Unofficial earth spokesperson Greta Thunberg opened many eyes on the damage done by big corporations to the planet, and people listened. Eighty percent of Philippine CEOs plan to adopt sustainable practices in the next few years as sustainability becomes accepted as part of every company’s DNA.

So, we’ve laid out the expected trends next year, but it’s up to you how you plan to adapt your business to these trends, whether it's hiring social media savvy recruits or offering cashless payments in your store. You may or may not agree with these business trends of 2020, but the business landscape will evolve whether you like it or not, because the future is here.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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