5 digital trends that are reshaping the world

Did you know there are 3.6 billion global internet users as of 2018, which equates to about half of the world being connected today? Fast forward to 2030 and 75 per cent of the world will be connected, says Michelle Evans, global head of digital consumer research at Euromonitor International. 

“When we surveyed these connected consumers, 53 per cent said they would be lost if they did not have internet access, so clearly the internet is getting more and more intertwined into our daily lives,” explains Evans. 

This constant innovation driven by technology has inspired a number of different mega trends, that are reshaping the world and are most impactful through 2030.

1 Data as the new currency

Leveraging the avalanche of available data to cultivate the 'story of one' will be what distinguishes the winners from the losers in the next decade.

Artificial intelligence is already being leveraged in the commerce experience in three ways including empowering store associates, providing a personal touch and improving recommendations, says Evans. 

While data is a great tool for retailers, consumer concerns about privacy continue to plague digital uptake.

“Data privacy concerns have inspired the introduction of privacy laws and legislation. This means that consumers are now more in control, which will change the relationship between consumers and brands over the coming years,” adds Evans.

2 Mobile wallets going global

The battle for mobile wallet supremacy will come down to the ability of US companies to export their offerings abroad against the expanding influence of China's growing middle class.

“China has been the biggest market for outbound tourism spend since 2012 and Chinese travellers play a key role in mobile wallet globalisation. 

“Mobile payments will amount to $3 trillion by 2022, with 75 per cent coming from the US and China,” says Evans.

3 Digital life converges in super apps

Super apps could enable a new breed of competitors, change who owns the customer relationship, force an evolution of consumer expectations and most importantly accelerate the overall digital transformation. 

This trend is very much driven by the Asia Pacific, and many different apps are emerging across markets with a lot of multifunctionality within those apps, says Evans. There are five types of functionality within these apps including utility, financial, lifestyle, retail and communication. 

“China is showing the world where the internet is going when it comes to super apps. WeChat is the poster child for super app revolution.” 

4 Keeping the tab open

The old-school subscription model received a digital boost in the last decade. In the forthcoming Internet of Things era, the idea of keeping the tab open will take on a new meaning.

Subscriptions reinvent areas of consumption such as entertainment (Netflix, etc.) and food. 

“The use of subscription based services is very much a generational story. Fifty per cent of millennials have used or are currently using a subscription service, and for Gen Z it's the second most popular platform."

5 Outlets will get their tech injection

Commerce is in the midst of a head-to-toe makeover, both in and outside the physical outlet. As such, players are leveraging a plethora of technologies to re-imagine physical stores. 

"Why do consumers go into stores to shop? Forty seven per cent of connected consumers globally say they go instore to see or try on before they buy. While online is the fastest growing channel, it is still very much a physical purchase. Eighty three per cent of goods will be purchased instore globally by 2022.

“Consumers are also showing an increased need to experience more instore. Some technologies that are leveraged to create that greater tech experience include NFC tags, virtual and augmented reality, and 3D imaging.”

By Marion Gerritsen