Change is the key ingredient of opportunity, but only if you are well-informed as to how that change is unfolding.
So obviously, in 2017 – with so much change happening all at once – it is most useful to be at least somewhat aware of the changes that are happening in your industry, if staying competitive is important to you.
Thankfully, the good folk over at PWC are kind enough to publicly share some of their insights regarding interesting industry trends that are developing in 2017…and beyond.
Here are some of the trends that caught our eye:
2017 Retail Trends
For some retail sectors, showrooms may provide an attractive combination of consumer experience and compelling economics.
Not surprisingly, legacy companies are restructuring their footprints. In 2016, large retailers such as Aeropostale, JC Penney, Gap, Walmart, and Macy’s shuttered stores. At the same time, incumbent retailers are embracing omni-channel concepts, which aim to offer consumers a seamless experience whether they are purchasing items online or in a store. The best of these offerings work well: Consumers get the convenience of shopping on a computer, smartphone, or tablet, or in person, and retailers may reduce marginal cost-to-serve by, for example, encouraging consumers to pick up bulky items at a store rather than having them shipped to their home.
More about the 2017 Retail Trends here.
2017 Entertainment and media trends
An entertainment and media (E&M) offering today simply cannot thrive without the economic, social, and emotional power of fans.
Devoted followers are as critical to feature films, video games, and sports teams as they are to Mr. Robot. Premium content is expensive, and getting more so. Distribution is a brutal battle for shelf space where only brands that are “most wanted” can hope to win. The steady march of digital technology has ushered in a direct-to-consumer environment characterized by greater choice and user control. There is simply too much competition for users to allow E&M businesses to survive on experiences that cater to casual “eyeballs” or infrequent users.
For many consumer entertainment and media businesses, avid or loyal fans — who typically represent 10 to 20 percent of a franchise’s user base — can drive 80 percent or more of that franchise’s overall business value.
More about the 2017 E&A trends here.
2017 Financial Services trends
The rise of digital technology has dramatically altered the landscape in the financial-services sector. Banks offer financial planning and trading applications through smartphones and social media; cloud technologies are widely accepted, and in many cases robotics are already reducing cost and increasing quality.
The idea of IT decentralization has been in the air for the past couple of years, and many FS firms have started down this path. However, they still resist fully embedding IT in the organization, despite being well aware of its potential revolutionary impact. That resistance will not be tenable for long. The industry is at a tipping point. The fintech firms encroaching on the industry all use some form of embedded IT. If established FS companies hope to compete more vigorously, they must more fully embrace the embedded IT model in their core banking and trading platforms. Companies that choose to continue with a centralized IT structure will lack the necessary agility and responsiveness to stay competitive.
More about the 2017 Financial Services trends here.
2017 Technology trends
The trends and innovations that will shape the technology industry over the next several years came into sharper focus in 2016. Cloud computing has gone mainstream for many enterprises, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing how both industrial and consumer-oriented companies do business. Drones and autonomous vehicles, blockchain, augmented and virtual reality, increasingly sophisticated digital assistants, machine learning (artificial intelligence, or AI) — the list of technological megatrends just keeps growing.
The rise of the East
As successful as the Big Five have been and will likely continue to be, they face increasing competition from China’s own tech supercompetitors. Their efforts correspond in some ways to those of the Big Five: Amazon faces off with Alibaba and JD.com in e-commerce, Google with Baidu in search, and Facebook with Tencent in chat, photo sharing, and social media. Huawei’s primary focus has been a bit different; the company offers networking services and equipment, including mobile phones, and has strong backing from the Chinese government. Its evolving phone business will pit it more closely against Apple (and Samsung).
More about the 2017 Technology trends here.
All of these insights are highly useful and neatly categorised in their respective boxes.
BUT – and here’s the key – in our experience, the real value of these kind of insights when thinking about the possible futures that may well unfold, is when you cross-pollinate some of the insights with each other to create brand new innovations that completely disrupt the existing linkages that are entrenched in your industry.
That’s obviously a creative process that needs to be well-informed and technically developed, but is really the space where these interesting industry trends start to verge into the arena of ‘unique competitive advantage’ for a forward thinking company .