Business Predictions 2021: A Forecast for Students in MBA Courses

January 05, 2021

What will the impacts of COVID-19 result in in 2021?

A discussion of business predictions for 2021 necessitates a look back on the impact of 2020, a year utterly dominated and transformed by the presence of the global pandemic. Crossing every niche, and creeping into the confines of every business and home, the reality of COVID-19 and the far-reaching effects of quarantines and social distancing measures will continue to have an impact, making the year ahead one of the most challenging for many. At the same time, the situation brought on by the pandemic has opened up new business opportunities, serving as an eye-opener to some businesses of just how quickly and effectively change can be implemented for successful results. To understand more on some key business predictions for 2021, let’s take a closer look.

Increased Digitization

It’s safe to say that most businesses had some form of an online presence prior to 2020, but the global pandemic has forced an acceleration in digitization that no one could have imagined. One recent survey estimates digitization of the supply chain and internal operations to have been adopted at a rate of three to four years ahead of when they might have otherwise been implemented. The same study estimates digitally enabled products offered by businesses to have accelerated by a staggering seven years, with many of these new digital practices, services, and products predicted to remain in place long-term. Researchers believe the increase in digitization will lead many to focus a lot more investment into bandwidth expansion and network equipment. Cloud-based services and software that leverages the cloud are also predicted to become a priority for many. With the overall acceleration of digitization in every business sphere expected for 2021, those taking an MBA in marketing might also keep an eye out over the next year for more rapid integration of various other advancements, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Those Enrolled in MBA Courses Can Expect Continued Work-From-Home Practices

The digitization of business includes the widespread implementation of the work-from-home model seen throughout most of 2020. While virtual work isn’t ideal for all, many businesses that didn’t anticipate a reliance on the format have found the experience in practice to be working better than expected, discovering just as much productivity from employees and noting smooth operations. A recent study in the U.S. reveals the level of confidence many seem to now have in the practice, with 57% of small and medium-sized businesses reporting plans to maintain the option for employees for the long haul. This change in thinking has led many to the decision to close down the physical office environment, removing the burden of these overhead costs. Those enrolled in an MBA program can be on the lookout for a continuation of this trend into 2021, with an increasing number of businesses migrating to either a fully remote working model or maintaining some kind of a hybrid approach to working.

A Need to Adapt to the ‘Now” Consumer

While many consumers at the start of lockdown restrictions were less inclined to shop online, many have quickly and happily adapted to the format. This shift to virtual shopping is expected to steadily rise in 2021, with many preferring the option as a means of obtaining what they need while remaining safely at home amid the continuing unknowns presented by COVID-19. Changes to consumer behavior resulting from this shift have also been noted, including new expectations of how many customers wish to receive services.

pic of some parcels in front of a door
Customers in 2021 will expect convenience and expledited services more than ever before.

The ‘Now Customer’ has been used to describe the new type of consumer emerging from the last year, less patient than ever before, coming to enjoy the practicality of getting what they want when they want it. Not only do they expect the convenience of home delivery options, but they are also more than happy to pay more to the business that can get them the product the fastest. Businesses in 2021 will be challenged by the need to adapt to this level of demand by ensuring their own digitized services are streamlined enough to measure up.

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