As the first month of 2021 draws to a close, it’s hard to put everything that happened last year into perspective considering what occurred.
But while it’s been a challenging 12 months for the world, it also presented a time to take stock and evaluate things as we prepare for and and look forward to a new future.
In our recent webinar, entitled EU Smart Home Automation and Industry Growth, Challenges and Opportunities by 2027, speaker Ian Bell of Euromonitor International, assessed the landscape while offering his take on how businesses can adapt.
Below, the Global Research Lead elaborates on his thoughts as he considers what the long-term impact of 2020 will be and how the world can evolve.
Professionally speaking, what will you remember the year 2020 for?
For five years’ worth of usual change in about five months. Also, an accelerated period of learning and experience acquisition related to this level of change.
How did that affect your job or business personally?
Back to basics, the art of the client call has never been so important or in that level of demand. In one sense highly rewarding but on another exhausting to talk online from meeting to meeting, day to day, week to week.
What was the one big achievement or positive your industry can take away from the year?
Home and technology industries proved adaptive and able to deliver on consumers’ rapidly changing needs. Supporting health by delivering home hygiene for more consumers in more settings. Adapting to a collapse in institutional sales and looking to deliver institutional-style solutions in a domestic setting.
Connectivity and smart technology supported remote working, maintenance of long-distance relationships and track and trace. Also, continuing to push sustainability during a period of supply chain and internal disruption.
How do you think supply chain management and manufacturing will change in 2021 following the impact of Covid-19?
A tail of further fragmentation and consolidation. This is a topic we will be focusing on in 2021 (and 2022). Maybe it’s a project we can bring HQTS into the development of as your expertise in this area would be welcome.
It’s also been a year of change in politics; how do you see what’s happening playing a part in trade?
It’s too early to tell, I’m hoping for normalisation (whatever that looks like now) but looking at Brexit as a proxy and the ‘deal’, these processes, negotiations and disruptions are far from done and take time. It’s glacial and completely opposite to the experience the industry has faced in 2020. In terms of trade a war, it’s very likely it’ll be easy to get into one and far more difficult to get out.
What one piece of advice would you give on how businesses should approach 2021?
Keep thinking ‘new normal’. This level of change has been disorientating and I think we need to get our heads around the fact that most of the time things won’t go back to 2019. This could be a positive of course but that necessitates acceptance that this has happened.
Obviously, there is a huge amount of economic pan looming, someone will have to pay for all of this, higher taxation and job losses are inevitable. Will this hit in 2021? In some form yes but we may be thinking 2022 before we see the full extent of the damage. This is 100% my own opinion, of course.
And what would your own New Year’s resolution be, work-related or otherwise?
Get on my bike more and look for new experiences.
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