I have taken a close look at these key tech trends and have noted how they may impact the strategies your board should be looking at.
- Smartphones: The global average selling price of smartphones is continuing to decline. Lower costs help drive smartphone adoption in less-developed markets.
Board Action: If you reach your customers via smartphones factor in maximum penetration in developed markets, smartphone growth will be in emerging markets.
- The Internet: Internet user growth was 7% in 2017. With more than half the world online, there are fewer people left to connect. The amount of time they spent online is still increasing. U.S. adults spent 5.9 hours per day on digital media in 2017, up from 5.6 hours the year before. Some 3.3 of those hours were spent on mobile, which is responsible for overall growth in digital media consumption.
Board Action: Consider shifting strategies toward content being mobile enabled as the primary channel.
- Mobile Payments: Mobile payments are becoming easier to complete. China continues to lead the rest of the world in mobile payment adoption, with over 500 million active mobile payment users in 2017.
Board Action: How do mobile payments fit into your company’s strategy? Are you doing business with China?
- Voice Control: Voice-controlled products like Amazon Echo are taking off. The Echo’s installed base in the U.S. grew from 20 million in the third quarter of 2017 to more than 30 million in the fourth quarter.
Board Action: Is there a way to add voice enablement to your product or service?
- Tech Companies: Tech companies are facing a “privacy paradox.” They’re caught between using data to provide better consumer experiences and violating consumer privacy. Yet, tech companies are becoming a larger part of U.S. business. In April, they accounted for 25 percent of U.S. market capitalization. They are also responsible for a growing share of corporate R&D and capital spending.
- E-Commerce: E-commerce sales growth is continuing to accelerate. It grew 16 percent in the U.S. in 2017, up from 14 percent in 2016. Amazon is taking a bigger share of those sales at 28 percent last year. Conversely, physical retail sales are continuing to decline.
Board Action: The focus of your sales strategy should be e-commerce.
- Healthcare: People are spending more on healthcare, meaning they might have to be more focused on value. Meeker asks: “Will market forces finally come to healthcare and drive prices lower for consumers?” Expect health care companies to offer more modern retail experiences, with convenient offices, digitized transactions and on-demand pharmacy services.
Board Action: Review healthcare under two lenses as a benefit that may need changing for your employees, and whether or not it will impact your business strategy for your products or services.
- Speed of Disruption: The speed of technological disruption is accelerating. It took about 80 years for Americans to adopt the dishwasher. The consumer internet became commonplace in less than a decade.
Board Action: Seek futurists to determine the trajectory of tech disruption for your company.
- Employment: Expect technology to also disrupt the way we work. Just as Americans moved from agriculture to services in the 1900s, employment types will again be in flux. Expect more on-demand and internet-related jobs to predominate.
Board Action: Consider new models of employment, such as gigs and remote workers.
- Artificial Intelligence: Internet leaders like Google and Amazon will offer more artificial intelligence service platforms as AI becomes a bigger part of enterprise spending.
Board Action: Determine how AI can help you transform and embrace digital more quickly.