Trending now: e-commerce, interest rates, and cooling the economy
Data shows that e-commerce sales are on the rise, with a 46% increase in revenue from sales orders generated from e-commerce platforms between 2021 and 2022. More recently, the value of e-commerce sales orders increased by 25% in 2023, when compared to the previous year. It’s clear that consumers are excited about the benefits of convenience, 24/7 accessibility, personalization, cost savings, and easy payment options that come with buying online, but businesses can benefit too. One of the biggest advantages for e-commerce businesses is that they can more easily collect and analyze customer data to better understand their preferences, behaviors, and trends, offering a data-led path forward through market changes and supply chain disruptions.
Experts anticipate a global economic growth slowdown with central banks tightening monetary policy and employing high-interest rates to combat inflation. The results are slowed production capabilities backing up supply chains, increased borrowing costs, and reduced consumer spending that make it extremely difficult for SMBs to maintain sufficient inventory levels and meet demand. The good news is that the cyclical nature of the economy means a rebound often follows a bottoming out, but SMBs must have the tools and practices in place to make it through to the other side.
On the rise: geopolitical tensions and global average temperatures
Supply chain issues also stem from rising geopolitical tensions from tariffs and sanctions to full-blown conflicts, like the Russia-Ukraine War or the potential emerging conflict between China and Taiwan. Major exports from countries in conflict are often stifled and have resounding effects across the global supply chain. Another trend SMBs must consider is the escalating frequency of climate-induced extreme weather events that impact shipping. Climate concerns are expected to grow, with experts predicting that 2024 may be the year when humanity surpasses the critical climate threshold for global average temperatures.