2023 is being viewed by many across APAC as the first truly post-pandemic year. With a focus on recovery, businesses and consumers are set on getting back to ‘normal’.
Just as the pandemic caused drastic disruption across industries, it was also a catalyst for change with new trends and technologies emerging. We witnessed great acceleration in digitalisation that evolved the ways people live, work and play as businesses and consumers responded to the dynamic shifts. As the pandemic comes to an end, it is acknowledged that there is no going back to the way it was before. The significant changes in expectations are just the beginning and will further transform industries in the year ahead.
As we hop into the Year of the Rabbit, Sinclair’s team of expert consultants have taken the opportunity to share their insightful industry outlooks to help brands better prepare as we fast forward into the post-pandemic era.
In 2023, many aspects of the typical corporate workplace are beginning to ‘normalise’, reverting to pre-pandemic patterns. The transformation of traditional corporate environments has given birth to new office models, with many businesses going ‘hybrid’ as workers expect more flexible styles of working. In a similar vein, employers and employees alike now have a better understanding of the impact properties have on the planet; the built environment is the largest source of the world’s carbon emissions. Sustainable practice in the industry is becoming standard, with many new developments in urban areas being fundamentally redesigned to reduce the negative environmental impacts for the growing number of people living in cities.
To embrace these challenges and trends, property companies will need to become greener, decarbonised and more focused on compact design; this will provide inbuilt resilience to the wave of hybrid work-life styles.
The widespread digitisation of banking and financial services has created new opportunities for businesses in the region. By embracing digital transformation, traditional banks can reshape their operations and provide a more holistic journey for consumers. One trend that shows no sign of slowing down is, of course, the growing acceptance of cashless payment. To meet consumer demand, businesses should be looking to embrace the digital economy – have fun with their online presence and take advantage of app-based ‘fast’ payment systems that directly connect to consumers and other businesses.
With digitalisation leading the trend, is your business ready to go cashless?
In response to rapidly changing market conditions and client behaviour, the pace of change in professional services firms has accelerated. Firms must give staff and clients reassurance and confidence; data, technology, talent and sustainability will be the four keys for businesses to navigate through 2023. Data and technology, in particular, help firms future-proof their businesses and build resilience by anticipating market shifts and better meeting client expectations. Looking ahead, workforce management will be crucial to retaining and hiring talent after large-scale, standardised remote working, while sustainability will be the strategic trend firms can use to unlock opportunities in driving business efficiency and revenue growth.
To stay on-trend and positively position your business, put diversity, equity, and inclusion at the centre of both internal and external communications. Refocus on culture, diversity and sustainability to stay in the game.
The GreenTech revolution is here to stay. Entrepreneurs and investors are focusing on sustainable development like never before; with each new technology investment made, there’s likely to be a measure against its impact on the environment and wider community. Another trend that is set to evolve in 2023 is the Metaverse – we can expect this trend to be a recurring theme this year as it continues to expand in applications; from socialising to hybrid working, the metaverse presents huge economic prospects and opportunities for businesses.
Looking forward, businesses entering or already in the GreenTech or Metaverse space need to identify what makes them stand out from their competitors to grab their target audience’s attention. For those businesses communicating about GreenTech, it’s important to avoid sounding like they are “greenwashing” by being transparent and presenting the facts.
This year, consumers are rethinking shopping habits as they are mindful of the recovering economy and looming inflation. People are spending less on non-essential categories and more on health, wellness and hygiene. Viewing wellness as a broader continuum of care, consumer definitions have evolved from fitness and nutrition to include appearance and mental health; they are also more conscious of the world they are living in, displaying greater emphasis on environmental protection and paying close attention to how businesses incorporate ESG policies into production of goods and services.
This is an excellent opportunity for businesses to consider how ‘careful consumption’ and green production methods can be incorporated into their strategy and communications to win over consumer hearts and minds.
Travellers are seeking connection, from transformative travel that takes them off the beaten path to authentic cultural experiences they may have never heard of. With the keywords ‘retreats’, ‘radical sabbaticals’ and ‘personal betterment’ in mind, travellers are looking to fulfil spiritual and mindful aspirations while away from home. This trend will continue to grow exponentially with more experiences like herbal therapies, rural hikes and sober travel. While ‘off-the-beaten-track’ experiences have been emphasised a lot since the pre-pandemic era, many global travellers want to experience complete culture shock in 2023 – unique vacations that surprise and delight.
Travel brands should highlight new cultural experiences alongside iconic mainstays and strengthen the narrative of ‘travel with mindfulness’ alongside unique personal growth and wellness offerings.
Custom spa packages and bespoke butler services are helping hospitality venues entice holidaymakers – particularly those who have been unable to travel these past few years. Pent-up travel bugs have resulted in longer trips away from home, with many travellers embracing the ‘digital nomad’ lifestyle for weeks, if not months, at a time. With more guests working remotely, the hospitality industry will need to cater to this growing segment with high-speed Wi-Fi, reconfiguration of rooms and shared spaces, as well as creative initiatives that allow this group to step away from their desks and connect with local communities. Digital payment solutions and entirely-online reservation systems will go far when hospitality businesses are looking to draw in a larger audience.
Catering to the needs of the working traveller means investment in infrastructure to support new expectations along with a strong communications programme that incorporates and highlights the property’s agility and community connections.
Like it or not, art digitalisation, metaverse, and NFTs are here to stay. Though they are unlikely to ever replace the real-life experience of direct interaction with an object or exhibition, they do create more exposure opportunities and encourage creative talent and emerging artists to explore the art market. When galleries, auction houses and institutions are no longer the only mainstream way of putting an artist’s name on the market, reaching potential buyers and connoisseurs, artists have less pressure to create ‘sellable’ art for their livelihood. Both audiences and creators crave next-level, immersive engagement with each other.
Businesses across sectors should consider incorporating local or up-and-coming arts and cultural elements into their outreach activations to highlight the brand’s investment in the community. Use the opportunity to support the arts while enhancing the brand experience for existing followers and spark curiosity to attract new audiences.