Top trends across industries you should be paying attention to

August 7, 2023

2020 was a year different from most, and although every person’s experience of the year was different, there was one thing that it changed for absolutely everyone: perspective. Pre – 2020 predictions, perspectives and trends have mostly changed, and a lot of these aren’t going back. Keeping this in mind, we’ve looked across industries for the top trends that you should be looking at in 2021:

I. FinTech
Top trends:

  • Neobanks or digital-only banks are becoming an alternative option to traditional banks due to low cost for the end consumer, hassle-free account opening, transparency, and advanced security features
  • A mixture of AI, ML and RPA has been very useful in use-cases of underwriting, lending, credit profile assessment and for Robo-advisers. AI for underwriting using alternative data to arrive at borrower’s credit scores that are more holistic and better reflect creditworthiness, especially for small businesses that do not fit into traditional scoring models
  • A gradual shift towards SoftPOS / contactless payments across stores and offices
  • Companies providing Banking as a service, building a layer over the existing banking infrastructure thus improving the productivity of banks and helping them cater to a large number of clients
  • Embedded credit/financing in lending, allowing non financial institutions to provide fintech solutions to their customers

II. EdTech
Top trends:

  • Gamification: Whether its kids learning math and English concepts or high school/college students learning coding an AI, gamification of concepts has really helped enhance user engagement to learn better
  • eLearning: Upskilling through continuous learning has become a necessity of the current workplace, and an absolute trend in the EdTech sector. This includes not just online courses and certifications but also live, project based internships, mentorships, employee learning, executive education and if you’re good at it, teaching a skill through platforms like Udemy and Skillshare– all geared towards enhancing your resume
  • K12 & supplemental education: Especially in India, online test prep for entrance exams such as NEET, JEE, etc have really picked up pace. Many parents and students too prefer it as it helps save on time and efforts for the students. Other upcoming trends include bridging the gap in supplemental education for K12 students and the use of AR/VR in classrooms to help enhance study methods

III. Technology (AI)
Top trends:

  • Advanced analytics: AI gets smarter every year, and so does the work we can get done with it. Advancements in AI mean smarter Big Data analytics, insights and computer vision applications
  • AR/VR/IoT: Particularly useful in detection and prevention, IoT alongwith the use of Computer vision has applications in various sectors, especially industrial (IIoT). AR/VR has also seen an increased adoption rate in many sectors
  • Behavioral trends (IoB) and predictions: What is being called IoB or the Internet of Behaviour is basically a useful application of AI to understand behavioral patterns, predictions and insights in different sectors – business, people, social etc.

IV. IT/Software
Top trends:

  • Cloud computing, edge computing & Cloud migrations: Pre-2020 the cloud adoption rate had been slow, but 2020 forced many businesses to adopt and migrate to the cloud to ensure better collaboration, innovation and storage. Edge computing, or computing that’s done at or near the source of the data instead of relying on one of a dozen data centers to do the work, is also gaining prominence, as it’d provide improved latency, increased bandwidth and increased privacy and security
  • Intelligent composable businesses, AI and remote operations – Intelligent composable businesses essentially mean businesses that can adapt and rearrange themselves based on the current situation. This became highly important as we saw in 2020 and has also led to the strengthening of AI strategies and remote operations for businesses
  • AI & Automation – Automation has helped aid many jobs by processing menial and repetitive work and helping deliver faster, more efficient outcomes. This is leading to the idea of hyperautomation – the idea that anything that can be automated in an organization should be automated.
  • Cybersecurity mesh – Cybersecurity mesh is a distributed architectural approach to cybersecurity control that is scalable, flexible and reliable. It allows for the security perimeter to be defined around the identity of a person or thing and enables a more modular, responsive security approach.

V. Healthcare & HealthTech
Top trends:

  • Telemedicine & Telehealth – Social distancing along with innovation in the uses of a smartphone have helped spur the trend of telemedicine. While it helps to check up with your doctor through video, technologies like computer vision are also helping analyze and gain insights on patients
  • Mental health – Lockdown negatively impacted mental health, be it workplace well-being, depression or loneliness. Where previously mental health was a big concern among the elderly, it is now affecting younger generations as well
  • Deeptech and AI – Pre-2020 trends saw AI as a great solution to help healthcare systems and this continues today. Solutions range from analysis and diagnosis for diseases to use in EHR’s, etc

VI. HRTech
Top trends:

  • Enhanced recruiting tools (Chatbots, AI &VR)- Recruiting tools like chatbots, AI & VR are helping recruiters better screen and analyze candidates – from CV’s to first interviews – and saving them time, efforts and other resources
  • Enhanced data & Analytics – HR systems store hundreds of data points – payroll information, employee records, resumes, etc – that are being leveraged through data & analytics
  • Employee experience (mental health, focus on well-being and employee platforms) – Two recent trends here include an uptick of mental health and well-being services and platforms as well as peer platforms among employees

VII. AdTech/MarTech
Top trends:

  • Increase in customer data platforms – 2020 saw business operations becoming more fragmented (in part due to WFH) and it becoming harder for marketers to deliver good customer experience and collate data points. Several businesses like Salesforce, Zeta Global launched CDP’s to help marketers deliver an omnichannel experience to its customers
  • Increase in audio advertising – Audio, such as podcasts, audiobooks and music, is emerging as a new trend in targeted AdTech and marketing. The best example of this would be Spotify

VIII. AgriTech
Top trends:

  • Machinery & robots – The use and innovation of machinery and robots for harvesting and other agricultural processes is expected to rise
  • Use of drones – The use of drones for various applications from aerial imagery to load delivery to water provision is also expected to rise in 2021
  • IoT devices – Ruled for centuries by traditional methods of farming, increased adoption and use of sensors and an IoT networks will help farmers address a whole lot of problems

IX. FashionTech
Top trends:

  • AR/VR – This tech has been helpful in bridging the gap, to an extent between physical try-ons and virtual ones. One example is in the eyewear sector, where you can virtually try on eyewear to see how it’d suit your face
  • Wearable tech & IoT – Wearable tech and IoT are being used to understand and analyze data points across consumers. For e.g. Tommy Hilfiger has produced items with an inbuilt chip which measures how many times the item is being worn
  • 3D printing – Fueling customization and on-demand production, 3-D printing seems to be a trend to look out for. Although not yet mainstream, it has the potential to provide more personalization and may contribute to sustainability efforts
  • Sustainability efforts – As customers become more aware on climate changes and environmental hazards of textiles, brands are adopting various strategies like recycling to help reduce textile waste and any harmful environmental effects

X. Automotive
Top trends:

  • Autonomous vehicles – Contributing to close to 21% of innovations and trends in the automotive industry, Autonomous vehicles or self-driving vehicles aim to minimize the need for human drivers, reduce accidents, expand the scope of last mile deliveries and also make public transportation relatively safer.
  • Electrification – Electric vehicles are the most optimum current solution to the problem of depleting fossil fuels and the harm that they cause to the environment. While even more efficiency needs to come into the electrical vehicles sector, people are starting to adopt to the thinking behind the electrification concept
  • Shared mobility – Mobility-as-a-service business models focus on shared mobility as an alternative to traditional vehicle ownership and discourages adding new vehicles
  • AI (Data Analytics, IoT, etc) – AI technologies such as machine learning, DeepTech and computer vision are key focus areas in many automotive applications. Enhanced use of IoT and Data analytics help provide data about maintenance, accidents and also inform managers about their fleets

XI. E-Commerce
Top trends:

  • AR/VR – The use of AR/VR to try on clothes and accessories or see the placement of furniture and other items is helping drive key decisions for customers
  • AI, NLP, Big data – Technologies like these help provide a more personalized experience to customers through the use of chatbots and personalized recommendations
  • Improvements in FinTech – Access to new, better, convenient and secure payment options mean a near hassle-free experience for customers
  • Content is king – In an era where we consume content 24X7, content including both audio and video is influencing the customer’s decision to purchase heavily. Influencer marketing and social commerce are good examples of this
  • Subscriptions – Subscriptions and automated payments provide both the convenience to shop from home and the comfort of having it delivered to your home.

XII. Supply Chain & LogisticsTech
Top trends:

  • AI & augmented intelligence – AI solutions include intelligent transportation, last mile delivery robots, route and demand planning, automated warehouse systems and predictive optimization software. Augmented intelligence or the combination of AI with human intelligence is also expected to spike in 2021
  • Data & Advanced analytics – Data in the logistics industry has been stored and used in silos, but new technologies and startups as well as data standards are helping bring the data together and make sense of it
  • Blockchain – Blockchain is a quite difficult yet highly useful technology for Logistics with applications in document transactions, trade finance and supply chain solutions
  • Real-time supply chain visibility – Real time supply chain visibility is in great demand by customers and carriers. Use of IoT is especially handy in providing real-time visibility
  • Autonomous vehicles and warehouse robotics – Autonomous vehicles such as drones and trucks will soon be a key trend in logistics in the near future, although it may be observed on a trial basis throughout 2021. Warehouse robotics, already being implemented in some places, help improve efficiency and speed of warehouse processes
  • Digital twins – or the melding of physical and digital world into one – has vast applications in logistics. Use cases include identifying potential weaknesses, improving operations, improving real time information visibility and helping test out different scenarios to improve efficiency

XIII. Sports & SportsTech
Top trends:

  • Enhanced wearable tech – Wearable technology such as Fitbits and watches continue to have a great impact on the sports industry
  • Enhanced smart arenas – Many stadiums are being equipped with technology like IoT to help make better decisions in situations where human decision making might remain faulty, for e.g. in cricket and football. Also a lot of arenas provide WiFi which has aided in the sports betting segment
  • AI, VR, IoT & Cloud – There are many useful applications where these technologies are being put to use. One such is through the use of sensors and computer vision that help give insights on players performance as well as injury prevention

XIV. Retail
Top trends:

  • Generalist vs. specific retail – Going by 2020, when a lot of businesses had to close down their physical outlets, generalist outlets had done fairly well. This is a trend to be continued beyond 2021 along with an uptick of e-commerce. The revival of specialist retail stores is to be seen
  • Online-to-offline stores – Many digital-native, Direct to consumer brands, especially clothing brands, have been opening physical stores. Although 2020 slowed this trend down, this is atrend that will continue in 2021. A good example is the opening of the first Amazon Fresh grocery store. 2021 will see many giant retailers as well as smaller DTC brands continue to create offline experiences that may seamlessly integrate with ecommerce experiences
  • Same-day (or faster) delivery – Improvements in the logistics sector and business models like hyperlocal delivery are helping retailers exceed customer expectations on delivery
  • Smart speaker shopping & use of chatbots – A lot of shopping during 2020 was done through smart speakers and this trend will continue into 2021 and beyond. Although chatbots have been used in many sectors pre-2020, in 2020 we also saw a rise in the use of chatbots to provide customer service and personalized experiences
  • AI for consumer behavior – Various startups are helping brands analyze their in-store shelf metrics to better understand consumer behavior and patterns to better forecast demand and expectations. The use of IoT and computer vision is a key trend here

Wrapping Up

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