2020 was a year of immeasurable uncertainty in business and economics.  We saw supply chains crumble and e-commerce demand skyrocket as businesses and consumers pivoted to adjust to life in a pandemic.  While the pandemic is not yet over, widespread vaccine distribution is on the horizon, and we have seen several industries bounce back from the setbacks brought on by COVID-19.  Let’s take a look at the global business trends we can expect in 2021.

In terms of the global economy, consumer spending is rebounding as customers regain confidence in the economy.  Countries with older demographics, with the exception of China, are showing signs of less optimism regarding consumer behavior.  It is also predicted that leisure travel will rebound faster than business travel, as shown by the growth in the third quarter of 2020 as well as the historically slower rebounds of business travel when compared to leisure travel after economic crisesInnovation and entrepreneurial endeavors are also on the rise, especially in the United States.  Finally, the uptick in digital work has allowed productivity to skyrocket, a trend that may very well continue into 2021.

In the United States, in particular, economists have several reasons to be optimistic about a rebound in 2021.  Forecasters predict a difficult winter, but the presence of a government stimulus and the production and distribution of vaccines are the main factors that point to more consumer spending.  Borrowing costs are also very low now, and the Federal Reserve plans for near-zero short-term rates for at least three more years.

In a recent article on future business trends for 2021, Forbes discussed the impact of a remote workforce, automation, and the utilization of virtual interfaces. While these were a necessity during the pandemic in 2020, these may provide an opportunity for growth and flexibility for businesses in the coming years.

The past year was a catalyst for a huge change in the way businesses operate, consumers shop, and economies function.  It appears that these changes have brought forth innovations that will be essential for businesses to function and stay competitive in the future.

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