The year 2022 was a tough one for businesses, with the recovery from the pandemic being hampered by inflation, supply chain risks and the war in Ukraine. However, there is room for optimism, with technological advances allowing companies to progress in ways they never thought would be possible.
Thanks to research on consumer sentiment, new business trends emerge each year. This enables companies to adapt to what the customer desires and to provide a more enhanced user experience. We’ve looked at the top business trends for 2023 to see which ones will have an impact this year.
1. Investing in sustainable products
With consumer behavior indicating that sustainable products are becoming more popular than ever, businesses are expected to invest in affordable sustainability. Research from Deloitte suggests that consumers are increasingly making conscious decisions to live more sustainably; a trend which is driven by concern around climate issues and the cost-of-living crisis.
Some of the key findings showed that consumers are living a more sustainable lifestyle compared to 12 months ago. Along with circularity, which refers to repairing and reusing goods rather than replacing them with a new equivalent, and a preference to buy only what they need, consumers are also reducing their meat consumption and travelling on modes of transport that release fewer carbon emissions.
At SIXT, we’re already embracing this change, with our fleet of electric cars ready to serve your needs no matter your location. However, with the cost of living on the rise, consumers are also looking for affordable and sustainable products. So, one of the top business trends for 2023 is for companies to invest in sustainable affordability.
2. Investing in ESG strategy
Another of the top business trends for 2023 is for companies to focus on their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategies. Consumers like actions, not words, and with consumer sentiment leaning towards ethical brands, now is the time for businesses to act. Consumers are also becoming more familiar with ‘greenwashing’, a term that refers to unsubstantiated claims that deceive customers into thinking a company’s products are environmentally friendly. Therefore, businesses need to ensure they are not intentionally misleading consumers.
Businesses that have an ESG strategy in place are likely to notice an increase in profits compared to those that don’t, according to accounting firm Moore Global. Its research suggests that companies that had a defined ESG strategy in place over the past three years have seen revenue increase by nearly 10% compared to those that didn’t. One way in which companies might work on their ESG strategy is to address how they plan to adhere to future environmental legislation.
3. Continuation of the digital revolution
Digital transformation has been with us for a long time, and it shows no sign of relenting. It’s expected that one of the top business trends in 2023 will be the continuation of digital transformation for businesses. According to a study by Sage, 80% of small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) are reliant on digital tools to survive and grow.
This trend is expected to continue across sectors, with the automotive sector being no exception. The digital revolution has already been embraced by SIXT, with GPS navigation and the latest tech features available across our fleet. Going forward, some innovations will be implemented to help increase user safety too. One key progression is vehicle-to-vehicle communication, which will allow cars to communicate with other nearby vehicles and, if required, respond by braking.
4. Identification of inflation & supply chain risks
With the economic outlook looking questionable for the upcoming year, one of the business trends for 2023 is expected to be companies identifying inflation and supply chain risks. Supply chain issues have already plagued businesses across the world as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the war in Ukraine has only added to the issues many businesses are facing.
As a result, companies are required to reduce their exposure and increase their resilience. Businesses will need to map out their supply chain so they can identify potential risk areas. This will give them a better chance of mitigating the risks. In turn, companies are also expected to become more self-reliant, so they are affected less by external events.
5. Immersive customer experiences
One of the top business trends for 2023 will be companies offering customers a more immersive experience. According to Zendesk, 70% of customers spend more time with companies that offer personalized and fluid customer experiences. Technology plays a key role in this, with it streamlining processes and removing the hassle for the consumer. Examples that are already being used to improve customer experience are online customer service portals, pre- and post-sale support and recommendation engines that help us see relevant products.
The next step is the potential use of virtual reality (VR), to try on clothes in online stores, for example, or augmented reality (AR) to see how an item fits your body. While businesses will face competition to provide the best experiences to their consumers, they will also need to focus on employee experience too, with the competition for top talent intensifying.
6. Work-life balance
Between 2019 and 2021, the number of people who worked from home tripled as a result of the pandemic. One of the trends since then is for more workers to adopt a hybrid or remote work schedule. This is expected to continue, with one of the top business trends of 2023 being companies promoting roles that offer flexibility to employees.
Along with flexibility and remote work, jobs that provide a work-life balance and positive work environment are expected to be key in luring top talent. Four-day workweek companies have excelled in showing that more hours in the office do not necessarily translate into productivity.
7. Social media and the growth of online communities
It’s almost unheard of for a business to not utilize social media as a marketing tool. Because of that, it’s expected that a business trend for 2023 will be how businesses expand ads, communities and commerce using social media. According to The Connected Economy, social media usage amongst consumers was up 8% in 2022. As a result, more companies are increasing their ad spending to take advantage of this.
Businesses are also expected to focus on building online communities to complement their social media strategy. This makes sense, with around 80% of people saying the most important community they belonged to operated online.
SIXT leads by example
With companies competing in an ever-changing social and economic climate, it’s important to stay on track with the current business trends. Customer-focused trends like immersive experiences and the creation of online communities will lead the way from a sales point of view. However, it’s important businesses don’t neglect their sustainable and ethical responsibilities, with consumer sentiment suggesting it’s just as important. Businesses are also expected to up their game in terms of attracting and retaining top talent, with competition for skilled workers intensifying. SIXT is well aware of its responsibilities as a leading car rental company for consumers who are looking for affordable luxury.