Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members


The year 2020 will always be remembered as the year of Covid-19, the pandemic that turned the world upside down – causing mammoth business disruptions and fast-tracking inevitable changes. Despite being the deadliest crisis in more than half a century, this pandemic is just one of the several macro factors that will shape the global business landscape in the 2020s.

This decade will be as challenging as it will be full of opportunities for business leaders, all around the globe. Paying heed to these few macro factors suggested by Gartner, can help business leaders to be better prepared to face difficulties and grab opportunities in the upcoming years.

  1. Covid-19 pandemic

People are getting used to new ways of living due to the pandemic and the longer it lasts, stronger and more lasting will be its impact. For instance, in US after the 9/11 tragedy, it took 3 years for people to return to normal flying behavior, while the impact of Great Depression determined peoples’ food habits for decades.

Covid-19 is thus expected to affect societal behaviors such as personal hygiene, family gatherings, personal space norms, consumer spending patterns, etc. majorly for many years after its end.

  1. Market downturn and recession

After experiencing an economic boom in the last decade, the world was anticipating a subsequent recession. According to Gartner, a large number of global CEOs were preparing for a recession in 2018-19, although no one was expecting a catalyst like Covid-19. The economic downturn and gradual recovery caused by the pandemic has given rise to a persistent volatility in the markets, which is expected to remain until the crisis ends.

Businesses should accelerate their digital endeavors and capitalize e-commerce and remote work models for better infrastructure.

  1. Systemic mistrust

In the last few years the trust index of consumers and citizens witnessed a drop globally. The contagious nature of the pandemic is further sowing mistrust among the global population by closing down borders, fighting over safety rules and widening gaps between international business partners. Whether this mistrust will be replaced by a unified spirit to fight the virus remains to be seen.

In the present situation, businesses should review the decisions they had taken in the past few months – whether they impacted the loyalty of their customers. Companies must try to overcome mistrust and set up a personal connect with them by reaching out to them through genuine and empathetic emails/messages.

  1. Weak productivity

Inadequate focus on productivity and efficiency already slowed down economic growth in the past decade. The pandemic further diminished productivity due to growing anxiety and disruption of business operations. Companies had to bear the cost burden of reopening business in the post-Covid world and many of them are struggling to return to pre-Covid productivity.

Businesses should set new and bolder goals for productivity and promote necessary reinvention.

  1. Environment concerns

Faced with the tremendous pandemic crisis, the global leaders have pulled up their socks to be better prepared for the impending climate crisis. The mass awareness about climate change has also increased and consumers are preferring businesses with an environmental agenda.

However, companies should remember that important infrastructure projects designed for mitigating climate change might get delayed in some regions due to diversion of funds for the pandemic. As a result, they might need to create alternate strategies for reducing their carbon footprint.

  1. Scarcity of talent

The pandemic has cost many people their livelihoods but despite the rising rate of unemployment, talent shortage will be a key issue plaguing business enterprises. With the rising wave of digitization, companies will soon need specialized talent pools.

Companies must attentively evaluate the types of skillsets they will need with their digital upgrade and develop adequate reskilling and upskilling programs for their employees. The focus should be on agile learning and businesses should broaden their talent pools by opening up for freelance workers.

  1. Advancement of technology

The current decade will be driven by great technological advancements. AI, quantum computing, blockchain and emergence of machine customers in large numbers will transform operating models of business organizations and societies. Market disruptions would be more frequent in the coming years and might give rise to Autonomous business – changing the entire landscape of 2020s.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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