The Future of Business

The Consumer Sectors in 2021 and Beyond

COVID-19 had been a global scourge for over two years now.

The Wuhan coronavirus did not become a household name until March 2020 when the business closures, lock-downs, and stay-at-home orders began. For the last 28 months or so, the COVID-19 crisis has been transforming entire industries and still will be doing it for years to come.

Amid unprecedented uncertainty, planning will not be enough.

Industry sectors are changing, some irreversibly and there are a few consistent shifts that we are seeing across the globe. Consumer spending over-pronated massively toward value, and there was a material flight to online. E-marketplaces experienced an astounding meteoric growth and are continuing their steady rise up the market share and this consumers’ shift to digital is here to stay.

The most common pitfall that I see consumer companies falling into is just being too grounded in even the most recent past, an assumption that things that have held true in the recent past will be true two to three years from now. The COVID-19 crisis is a time where, more than ever, there is a real need to try to look around the corner and anticipate how trends are going to affect your business and then to prepare for those trends and build capabilities that will lean into them.

The first thing consumer companies should do is double, triple, quadruple their ambition around the scale and pace of their digital transformation, whether that is the adoption of analytics or whether that is improving the productivity and the experience of digital channels.

Going forward, consumer companies and businesses have to accelerate their productivity and reset their cost structure to be more competitive. This is much more than the budgeting process of 2 to 3 percent productivity gains to beat inflation. It is actually a 20 to 30 percent reset in their cost structure to be competitively fit.

Re-skilling is to be taken seriously

For years to come, re-skilling, as a competency, is to be taken very seriously by all organizations. There is no question that all of the shifts that are happening, whether it is the shift of sales channels or service channels to digital or whether it is the use of automation, will mean changes for everyone’s workforce.

And this is not a time for admiring the problem and incrementalism. This is actually a time for being massively transformational and not tweaking on the margins. It is a time to challenge every assumption, challenge the value chain, the asset structure of your business, and see if you can reinvent your company’s organization or, if necessary, the company itself.

J. Michael Dennis, ll.l., ll.m.,

King Global Earth and Environmental Sciences Corporation

King Global Earth & Environmental Sciences Corporation is part of the Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services Industry and the Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services sector.