It’s that time of year, when Business Link Magazine invites the region’s business leaders to offer up their predictions for the year ahead.
It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been doing this now for over 30 years.
Here we speak to Sam Gadsby, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at Clicky Media.
If the last 18 months have shown us anything, it has to be how resilient business is in our country. With such seismic shifts in societal behaviours, never in recent times have we had to adapt so significantly and at such a pace to such a broad range of challenges.
I believe that 2022 will see a further resurgence of digital-first adoption by businesses in response to the changing, and indeed now established, habits of their customers. As we continue to live more of our lives and spend more of our time online, consumer expectations and demands for a more seamless on and offline experience have never been higher. Benchmarks will only continue to increase.
Businesses who reacted quickly in 2020 are now benefiting from an expedited level of digital maturity and experience that would have otherwise taken many years to develop. This of course means greater competition with consumers having wider choice and buying freedom than ever before – making the continued improvement of digital strategies in businesses all the more important.
Announcements in 2021 from brands such as Facebook backing their ‘metaverse’ as the successor to the mobile internet suggests further evolution is on its way and should be taken seriously. Not only are we seeing new digital-native audiences now becoming a consistently larger percentage of buying customer numbers each year, but increasingly more traditional audiences and older generations are becoming online first consumers.
2021 saw the biggest increase in global advertising spend on record, the UK representing a notable percentage of this, with digital mediums representing the highest investment area. This will undoubtedly continue to grow, most notably investment in video content and promotion alongside more immersive experiences as we crave an escape or getaway both physically and digitally.
Likely later in the year as confidence grows, we’ll see consumers investing heavily in big ticket purchases, particularly again on home improvement and even more so than in 2021 on travel and leisure, as people seek real experiences to counteract the amount of time spent online (which for the average UK adult is in excess of 3.5 hours per day).
In 2022 I envisage that whilst challenges will remain, as will the need for commercial adaptability, we will slowly see positive improvement in issues that have arisen from the combination of the pandemic and Brexit, across the likes of supply chain and pricing which has impeded the potential of many.
I believe we’ll also see a slow down in ‘the great resignation’ as businesses set bolder ESG targets and invest in modernising approaches to remuneration, work life balance and the perks the present day workforce now prioritise.
There will continue to be skills shortages in many areas, so I hope to see a greater investment in schemes and initiatives that support training and development for younger people entering the workforce and for those who want to retrain.
Much like modern consumers, businesses will need to consider the conflict between convenience and conscience as both talent and customers will increasingly make decisions on ethics and the environmental/societal impact. Businesses will need to communicate more openly, with greater transparency and authenticity.
Undoubtedly there will be a rocky road ahead, but I believe most businesses will have fully transitioned from a survive to a thrive mentality by the end of 2022 and for the most part have adapted for the positive.