August 31, 2020
Digital transformation refers to the creation or modification of operational, organizational, and cultural business practices using digital technologies. By automating manual business operations, DX increases efficiency, optimizes processes, and enhances customer experiences. With this, digital transformation helps businesses reshape their internal and external approaches to become more agile and effective.
Digital transformation aims to achieve optimal operational efficiency without compromising the customer experience. When moving towards an agile and flexible structure, organizations must identify digital strengths and weaknesses to integrate appropriate technologies into the mainline of businesses. Common digital operational approaches include cloud computing, interfaces, and IoT devices. With these technologies, employees are more connected than ever before, helping to simplify remote operations to increase productivity and save businesses time and money.
When implementing digital technologies into the workplace, organizations must ensure that the transformation aligns with the company’s culture. To build an enduring digital culture, it remains critical for organizations to clearly articulate the strategy, goals, and purpose of the transformation to successfully adopt new practices.
Digital transformation promotes a high-performance culture, encouraging an external orientation to enhance the customer experience. In addition to forwarding relationship-based business, DX empowers employees to deliver fast results, putting emphasis on action over planning and eliminating explicit instructions to guide performance. With this, employees must engage in cross-functional collaboration to make effective and fast pace decisions for optimal results.
Failing to consider company culture when undertaking digital transformation may hinder its progress. Without clear goals, employees may be reluctant to embrace new technologies, causing morale to suffer. The misalignment of DX goals and employee values may also create difficulties when attracting new talent, inhibiting cohesion, and advancement. With this, business leaders must guide employees through process and structural changes, eliciting new behaviors through coaching and incentives to emphasize expectations for successful execution.
August 28, 2020
Over the past decade, the health and wellness industry has been on the rise as consumers become more conscious of their lifestyles. From foods, technology, and even clothing, adopting a healthier way of life goes beyond one’s fitness and diet, helping shoppers make better choices in all aspects of their lives. According to Technavio, the health and wellness market will grow at a CAGR of over 6% from 2020-2024 with healthy eating habits being a driving factor for market growth.
Health and Wellness Foods
Consumers are becoming increasingly mindful regarding the nutritional value of their products. This comes as more food and beverage companies market nutrient-dense snacks to health-conscious consumers. In a study conducted by the International Food Information Council and American Heart Association, 43% of consumers are always in search of healthy options when shopping for food, while 52% sometimes search out healthy foods when shopping. While the majority of consumers attempt to purchase healthy items, food labels have become an important factor in consumer decision making with 59% of consumers always reading nutrition facts before purchasing a product. Due to the increasing demand for healthy foods and beverages, the health and wellness food industry will be worth $811.82 billion by the year 2021, according to Statista.
Health and Wellness Technology
Today, it has never been easier to keep track of your health, as new apps and devices provide users with insightful data anytime, anywhere. App Samurai states that there are over 97,000 health apps available to download with 70% dealing with wellness and sport and 30% providing patients and health professionals with health services such as monitoring, image diagnosis, and medication control. With this, the market for health and wellness apps is projected to reach USD 57.57 billion by 2026, as forecasted by Fortune Business Insights.
In addition to health apps, wearable health and wellness technology has become a part of the mainstream, as the market for smartwatches and fitness trackers has exploded over the past decade. According to IDTechEx, the wearable technology market has doubled since 2014, with a value of $50 billion as of 2019. With increased capabilities such as calorie, heart rate, and step tracking, smartphone syncing, and sleep tracking, wearable fitness technology helps consumers stay on top of their health 24/7.
Health and Wellness Apparel
As Americans adopt healthier lifestyles, health, and wellness apparel sales have increased drastically. According to Allied Market Research, the sports apparel market size will reach $248.1 billion by 2026, with a CAGR of 5.1%. With increasing health awareness, adoption of physical activities, and the rise of women in sports and fitness, the global sports apparel market has become a lucrative sector of the overall health and wellness industry. With its popularity, the market has become extremely saturated, with businesses trying to stay competitive with breakthrough designs and fabrics for optimal athletic performance.
In addition to fitness apparel, the emergence of well fashion has taken the industry by storm. These garments of clothing can improve the wearer’s wellbeing through self-regulating materials that offer protection from harmful environmental conditions such as extreme temperatures and harmful UV rays. Well fashion may also have the potential to improve sleep patterns, skin conditions, and even kill bacteria. These clothes may be the future of health and wellness apparel, helping consumers become more mindful about the clothes they wear.
In conclusion, the health and wellness industry shows no signs of slowing down, as an increasing number of consumers continue to look for ways to improve their wellbeing. With the market becoming heavily saturated, sectors of the industry must find new ways to cater to health-conscious individuals whether it be through new foods, groundbreaking tech, or trendsetting apparel.
August 24, 2020
Ecommerce, also known as electronic commerce, refers to the act of buying and selling goods or services using the internet. From large corporations to small companies, e-commerce eliminates geographic barriers, connecting consumers and retailers all around the world. As the low-touch economy grows amidst the pandemic, many consumers have turned to online shopping as a safe alternative to acquiring goods. With this, eMarketer estimates that e-commerce sales will reach $709.8 billion in 2020, making up 14% of total retail sales. From food and beverage, personal care, health, and beauty products e-commerce continue to revolutionize the way consumers shop, while making it easy for anyone to buy and sell products to their target market.
Ecommerce Business Models and Websites
Ecommerce uses one of four business models to facilitate transactions of goods and services. Using these models, e-commerce websites are tailored to best facilitate transactions between customers and businesses. Examples of e-commerce include retail, wholesale, crowdfunding, services, digital/tangible products, and subscriptions.
B2B: The business to business model of e-commerce involves retailers selling goods or services to other retail entities. Many businesses that use this model buy products at wholesale prices to sell to consumers to make a profit. Businesses may also purchase office-grade products such as software and supplies from other businesses to help with their operations.
B2C: The business to consumer model is used by retailers to facilitate direct transactions with consumers. Examples of this include consumer purchases from Amazon, Walmart, Target, and any other company that sells products directly to shoppers.
C2B: Consumer to business transactions allows consumers to offer products or services to a company. Many consumers use this model for freelance work and selling their own digital and tangible products for businesses to use.
C2C: The consumer to consumer model involves the sale of products or services between two consumers. Examples of this model would be Craigslist, eBay, Depop, and any other website that allows consumers to buy and sell goods whether it be handmade or secondhand.
The Future of Ecommerce
As the growth of e-commerce creates competition for brands, many traditional brick and mortar businesses have begun selling online to adapt to modern consumer behaviors. In addition to the changing preferences of consumers, the emergence of the global pandemic has forced businesses to shift to online sales, as new regulations deter customers from shopping in-store. These new practices are the first steps towards a digital-first future, as traditional in-person shopping for groceries, clothes, and other products become obsolete. Though brick and mortar stores are far from extinct, creating an e-commerce platform may help businesses increase sales by providing products to people around the world.
In terms of C2C and C2B transactions, e-commerce has made it easy for anyone to freelance their skills, resell items, or create an online store. This helps both consumers and e-commerce websites, as many individual sales are facilitated by a third-party site. Social media platforms have also helped drive consumer and business sales by adding features to their sites to simplify online shopping. All in all, e-commerce provides an abundance of opportunities for both consumers and businesses, helping individuals and businesses of all sizes buy and sell products with ease. With this, the consumer experience may forever change as online shopping becomes the new norm.
August 11, 2020
With an increasing demand for video games and a growing awareness of the industry, eSports, also known as electronic sports, has become a popular form of entertainment for millions of people around the world. eSports refers to organized, competitive video gaming that involves teams of gamers competing against each other in tournaments for cash prizes. These competitions are watched in real-time by millions of gamers both online and at live events. According to Data Bridge Market Research, the global eSports market is expected to reach $3047.1 billion by 2025, as the number of investments by sponsors and sports betting sites continues to grow.
A Widening Audience
eSports draws a large viewership with an estimated 495 million streamers in 2020 with 223 million considering themselves frequent viewers/enthusiasts, according to a report by Statista. Unlike traditional sports, fan bases are not location-specific, attracting viewers from all over the world. The largest consumers of eSports come from China, South Korea, Denmark, Sweden, and the U.S according to Gaming 4 Cash. In terms of age, GlobalWebIndex reports that 62% of eSport viewers are under the age of 35, making this industry most popular amongst young millennials and generation z consumers.
The eSports industry has many streams of revenue, from sponsorships, media rights, advertising, game publisher fees, and merchandise. With all of these factors combined, eSports market revenue reached $957.5 million in 2019, as reported by Statista. With the growing popularity of eSports around the world, many brands have begun investing in electronic sports marketing. Through digital video advertising and influencer marketing, experts predict a 12% increase in US ad spending on eSports for 2020, reaching $191 million, according to eMarketer. In addition to increased ad spending, more brands are investing in esports through partnerships and sponsorships, making up 42% of eSports total revenue in 2019, according to Newzoo. With this, a growing number of platforms have started offering live eSport coverage. From Facebook Gaming, Twitch, and Caffeine, gamers have a myriad of options to watch their favorite team compete. eSports betting has also gained traction as viewership continues to grow. Eilers & Krejcik Gaming estimated that the eSports gambling market will reach $13 billion by this year, as countries such as China, Denmark, and the U.K. contribute to the majority of eSports betting revenue.
Hurdles to Overcome
As the eSports industry continues to grow, there are several challenges to overcome. For one, the industry lacks standardization, subjecting professional players to overwork, mismanaged contracts, and the inability to compete in unsanctioned tournaments. To prevent the exploitation of labor, many professional gamers wish to unionize, despite the risk of individuals losing years’ worth of wages and being forced into retirement. In addition to the mistreatment of professional players, there are no guidelines for integrity in eSports gambling, leading to underaged gamblers, unsafe offshore bookmarkers, and match-fixing. Despite these obstacles, the eSport industry shows no signs of slowing down as this billion-dollar industry continues to make its way into the mainstream.
August 3, 2020
The digital divide refers to the disparity in access to information and communication technologies based on geographical, social, and geopolitical criteria. As students begin returning to school amidst the pandemic, those without access to ICT are left at a disadvantage, as they are unable to complete technology-based learning curriculums. With this, the digital divide has become a national emergency, forcing school districts to reevaluate the role of technology in the classroom and how unequal access to digital devices inhibits the success of underprivileged children.
Disadvantages of the Digital Divide
The widening technological gap has many long-lasting implications that make it difficult for low income and rural students to achieve the same level of educational excellence as their peers. Those with ICT hold a competitive advantage over those who do not, as their easy access to educational resources, online assignments, and overall grasp of technological programs increases student productivity in the classroom and provides a convenient learning experience. For students without access to these technologies, completing assignments may take hours, as a lack of digital devices in the household and access to helpful resources prevents students from completing the same caliber work as others. Some students may need to travel to secondary locations to work on assignments, an option that may become unavailable due to the pandemic.
With schooling going completely remote, access to technology remains essential to attend virtual lessons and complete assignments. According to the FCC, 20% of rural American children do not have access to broadband internet, making it impossible to implement a 100% online curriculum. To adapt, many schools are creating tangible homework packets to provide students an alternative method to complete assignments and receive feedback from teachers by mail. Despite this method, students lack the face to face learning experience and guidance they may need to succeed, putting them behind peers who have access to online lectures that allow them to communicate with educators more efficiently than those without technology.
How to Bridge the Gap
To lessen the digital divide between students to create education equity, communities must work together to provide resources for children outside of their homes and school. Public libraries, community centers, coffee shops, and other public areas can help bridge the gap by investing in computers for public use. Though many schools do not have the funding to provide students with their own laptops, offering digital devices and wireless internet access throughout the building to use before and after school provides underprivileged students with the resources they need to complete assignments. With the pandemic forcing many of these public spaces to close, implementing a program to check out portable hotspots may help children have internet access at home. Despite these efforts, there is much work to be done to ensure all students have an equal opportunity for success. A lack of funding in schools creates limitations with resource accessibility and remote accommodations. With online learning becoming the future of schools, closing the digital divide has never been more important.
August 3, 2020
With 70% of the global population reducing their meat intake, according to Acumen Research, many companies have begun shifting their focus towards plant-based meat products to accommodate a broader range of lifestyle choices. The growing demand for meat alternatives may derive from consumers’ concerns with animal welfare, the environmental impacts of animal agriculture, and health benefits associated with a plant-based diet. With many large meat companies, such as Tyson and Cargill, introducing their own lines of plant-based products, while investing in meat alternative brands, the so-called meatless revolution shows no signs of slowing down.
The Impact of the Pandemic on Meat Consumption
Over the past few months, the severe impact of Coronavirus on the meat industry has further decreased consumers’ meat intake, as price hikes and factory sanitation concerns have led more shoppers to consider meat alternatives. According to a study conducted by PBFA on Kroger, the nation’s largest grocery retailer, plant-based meat sales have increased by a staggering 75% between March and June of 2020. With the pandemic putting health at the forefront of consumer decision making, increased demand for clean labels and growing concerns over animal-borne illnesses compel shoppers to switch from animal-based to plant-based foods. In addition to health concerns, the significant increase in meat prices amidst shortages and the economic impacts of Coronavirus on consumers has prompted shoppers to seek alternatives. As sectors of the food industry take steps towards recovery, plant-based meat sales show no sign of slowing down, as MarketsandMarkets estimates U.S. plant-based meat sales will reach $4.2 billion by 2021, growing 17% in just over one year.
Plant-Based Fast Food
In addition to meat alternatives found in grocery stores, many plant-based meat companies are teaming up with large fast food chains to offer menu options for vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. With large chains such as Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks and White Castle debuting meatless versions of classic menu items, plant-based foods have made their way into the mainstream to keep up with growing demand. According to Axios, plant-based meats have a 3.5% market in U.S. fast food chains that will continue to grow as more restaurants introduce meat alternatives. Though many consumers see plant-based fast food items as healthier options, the nutritional value of these menu items does not change, as both animal and plant-based meat are processed foods. Despite this misconception, meatless fast food continues to expand, making it easier than ever for consumers to reduce their meat consumption.
Challenges with Plant-Based Meat
Though the popularity of plant-based meats has drastically increased over the past few years, there are a number of hurdles to overcome in order to maintain growth. For one, the high price of plant-based foods may deter consumers from purchasing alternatives over animal-based products. According to Nielsen, plant-based meats cost almost 50% more per gram than beef, as consumers pay an average of $12/lb. for alternative products. This high cost results from a less established supply chain of ingredients compared to animal-based products and may decrease over time as more businesses enter the market. Another issue may derive from keeping up with demand. Due to the rapid growth of this industry, companies are forced to scale quickly to meet consumer needs, putting pressure on companies both large and small. Despite these challenges, the plant-based meat industry continues to prosper, providing consumers with a safer and healthier alternative to meat.