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December 14, 2018

3 Global Business Trends to Watch Going into 2019

As another year draws to a close, it’s becoming more clear which trends will dominate 2019 based on emerging technology, consumer behavior changes and other factors that affect branding, marketing and sales. Here are three global business trends that business owners, investors and marketers should keep an eye on moving forward:

The Boom of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is no longer science fiction. It already serves everyday practical applications for businesses, marketers and customers. Marketers can take advantage of AI tools to improve their reach and increase conversions. These tools are able to provide rich data analytics and suggest optimizations, better personalize marketing content for audience members, and improve the delivery of ads.
AI can also cut the amount businesses spend paying customer support employees, as AI chatbots become more adept at handling customer issues. This also improves the customer’s experience, because there’s no wait time to get the support they need.

The Rise of Freelancing and Remote Work

Another way businesses can cut costs in 2019 is by swapping full-time employees for hired freelancers. By outsourcing jobs like content writing and graphic design to remote freelancers on a project-by-project basis, companies save in overhead costs while still getting high-quality work. What’s actually fueling this trend is the migration of the American workforce into freelancing. According to a survey by Freelancers Union, if the rise in freelancing continues at its current pace, 51percent of the workforce will be freelancers within 10 years. Websites like Fiverr and UpWork are facilitating this trend by connecting businesses with freelancers.
Meanwhile, companies such as Amway, Uber and Amazon are providing opportunities for individuals to be their own boss and start a small business easier than ever before. There’s a huge incentive to sell products such as Amway’s line of health and beauty products, since the products have already been created, tested and proven for you. It’s a win-win, since Amway is able to expand its reach and customer network by providing this opportunity to people who want to work from home.

Blockchain is Automating Transactions

Blockchain is much more than the technology that supports Bitcoin. Businesses can useblockchain as a ledger to record transactions and facilitate the automation of billing, contracts and other transactions. Blockchain not only saves time and reduces manpower, but also makes funding more secure, traceable and transparent. In turn, this renders audits obsolete and reduces costs. 
With the rising global threat of data hacking, blockchain makes it harder than ever for transaction data to be compromised. As everything in the business world continues to become increasingly digitized in 2019 and beyond, the importance of data security can’t be underemphasized. Blockchain will eventually become the norm businesses use to prevent fraud and improve efficiency, which means it’s a growing trend you want to stay ahead of.

The Take-Home

Businesses can’t continue doing what they did in previous years without staying in tune with and adapting to global trends. Staying ahead of the biggest business trends helps entrepreneurs and investors take advantage of the moment they’re in and use these trends to their advantage. In 2019 and beyond, we’ll see blockchain and AI disrupting virtually every industry as businesses seize the opportunities they provide. Meanwhile, businesses will also take advantage of the rise of freelancing to replace the cost of full-time office staff members with remote contractors.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters.

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