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Top Business Trends to Watch Out for in 2021 

Written by MS
14/12/2020 12:00:16

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail: it’s an age-old maxim - attributed to one of the Founding Fathers of America, Benjamin Franklin - that has been applied to almost every activity going. When it comes to sports games, exams and even your business, the statement still rings true, and 2020 is a clear example of this. 
By working and making decisions primarily off-the-cuff, you open yourself up to potential problems and resulting failures. For instance, COVID-19 was a big curveball in the past year, and the destructive economic impact it caused is not something anyone could have predicted. Nonetheless, those businesses who were preparing for things such as lockdowns and restrictions early in 2020 ultimately did better than those businesses who went on without making changes. 
The hospitality industry is a prime example of this: some businesses/restaurants were quick to adapt because they had a plan in place, while others were not. Transitioning to takeaway services undoubtedly saves a variety of companies in the hospitality industry, and those who were able to readjust the faster benefited the most from this new market. 
With that said, every business leader must be keen to make 2021 more of a success than the past year and a major part of this would be to plan for every eventuality. That’s why our team at The Plastic People have done the leg-work for you and put together this blog on the top trends to consider and watch out in the coming year. If you accommodate these trends in your business strategy, you will surely come out on top! 
In last week’s blog, we took a look at 4 tips to help you improve cash flow in your business. This is vital after many companies have struggled financially due to the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to check out last week’s piece and stay informed.
Working from Home is Here to Stay 
One of the biggest stories of 2020 was how quickly companies all over the world had to adapt to a remote working system when lockdowns began to be imposed, and this new way of working does not appear to be going anywhere fast! 
In the UK, we were put under new lockdown restrictions from the whole of November, demonstrating just how fragile the current environment is. A vaccine might be round the corner thanks to Pfizer, but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet. 
WFH life has brought up some pertinent questions about the use of an office in this increasingly digitised age. As a company, do you need to be making expensive rent payments each month when you are already cash-strapped? It’s time to take a look at your business and really consider whether going remote could work for you. 
This all means that in 2021, industry leaders and business executives need to think about how to make the home environment workable for all their employees. This could include increasing the support you give staff and even providing them with extra equipment if needed. Chat to your team and see what works best for you. 
Going Digital and using Data as an Asset 
In previous blogs, we’ve discussed Industry 4.0 and the need for businesses in the 21st century to have a strong online presence and, in 2021, this is only going to become more important. If you missed our blog on Digital Manufacturing, you can check that out here.
We’ve already had to deal with the creation of paperless and digital services due to the pandemic, and this new system is not going anywhere soon. You should be thinking about how to make it as easy as possible for consumers to reach your business online. This could mean adding to your sales team so you can take more phone calls, or this might lead you to invest more in digital marketing to grow your presence and improve your SEO. 
At The Plastic People, we are championing a digital-first approach. How can you lead people to your website and keep them there? How can you make a customer feel safe in ordering from you without having to talk to a team member? How can you outsmart competitors in a digital space? These are all important questions to consider in your innovative business model for 2021. 
Start an email newsletter, launch an app, livestream from your office and speak directly to the consumer - these are all great ideas to kickstart your digital output in the new year. 
With that said, a primarily digital system of operation allows your business to collect more customer data, and data is the gold dust of our current economic climate. Having a bank of customer emails and preferences allows you to target your products and services specifically and with great effect. 
Moreover, having all this data comes with great responsibility. Make sure your business has secure systems in place to protect customer information, otherwise, you can risk doing major damage to your brand identity. 
The move from Global to Local 
The 1990s and early 2000s were focused on the big and the bold: every business was thinking about what it could do to reach more people all across the globe. This globalised attitude was spearheaded by the advent of the World Wide Web, in addition to the work of major conglomerates such as Sony and Amazon. Nevertheless, people are starting to turn toward shops on their local high street. 
Campaigns such as #ShopLocal are more popular than ever, which is a surprise considering the limitations COVID-19 has put on our movement in the past year. Consumers are warier than ever before on who they are purchasing from and the efforts those businesses have made to be sustainable. We wrote a piece all about how #ShopLocal must be part of any coronavirus recovery plan, you can read that by clicking here. 
The disruptions of supply chains worldwide has meant that it’s become more important to have a strong infrastructure at home that can support the public’s demands. Shopping on a local level is also beneficial for communities as it pumps money back into economies that may be struggling. 
Environmental Awareness 
Over the past 10 years, our outlook on shopping has changed. Consumers are no longer concerned with getting the cheapest possible products in the shortest amount of time. Ethical consumerism is the new norm and businesses must adapt to this. For many of us running SMEs, this is actually beneficial as consumers are likely to turn from Amazon and toward our services. 
As a business, therefore, you should be thinking about where you are sourcing your materials from and how sustainable your products are. Ideally, consumers are looking for businesses who purchase ethically produced materials, and want the end-product to be recyclable or, at least, reusable. 
‘ReCommerce’ will be a major force for change in 2021 as shoppers look at buying second-hand goods. This is already an important facet of the clothing and retail industries. Companies such as Depop and ASOS Marketplace have led to a surge in ‘vintage’ clothing shopping where consumers are in search of ‘pre-loved’ items. 
This awareness of consumer trends should also play a role in your engagement with customers. You need to post on your socials about the efforts being made by your company to tackle climate change, and you need to be willing to inform customers about how sustainable your products are. Working with influencers could be beneficial here. 
That concludes our look at the top business trends of 2021. We hope you are now equipped with the correct knowledge to adapt your strategy for the new year. If you want to beat competitors, you need to be riding the wave of these trends and making them a large part of your business’s direction and content output. 
If you would like us to cover any other areas of business development in a blog, please get in touch! We’ve written on everything from digitising your workforce to content marketing before so we are prepared to face any challenge that comes our way! 
You can get in touch by messaging us on Twitter or Instagram @barkstonplastic or emailing our team at We also recommend signing up to our newsletter to stay up-to-date with all our news, views and blogs. Click here to sign up today! 

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