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Top trends for 2015 - how did we fare?

In early 2015 we tried our hand at picking 5 trends that we thought were going to be big news.  12 months on we thought we’d see just how accurate we were and if we’ll be seeing more of these trends in 2016…

1. 2015 would be mad for mobile

What we thought:

  • Mobile would increasingly be integrated into well-known retailers’ customer journeys, e.g. in order fulfilment and payments.
  • Financial services firms would use location-based offers to improve their services, as well as using spending patterns, product use, and channel interactions to deliver improved experience-driven banking.

What actually happened?

In the retail world, mobile became more and more integral to customer experience and purchasing decisions. Thanks to Google’s new feature that explicitly ranks mobile friendly sites above their non-optimised competition any retailers who hadn’t taken mobile seriously needed to change their tune.  The stats back up how important mobile  was last year, and an IMRG report published in February found that visits to ecommerce sites via smartphone and tablet devices accounted for 45% of all ecommerce traffic in the UK.

Mobile also became increasingly important to banking, due to the growth of Apple Pay and Venmo from PayPal in the US. But we can also look at research by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to see this from a slightly different angle. They found that mobile payments and banking offer more than just convenience; it has the potential to lift millions in the developing world out of poverty.

2. Social media would get the tills ringing

What we thought

Even more retailers would be adding ‘Buy’ buttons on Twitter and Facebook and ‘Like2Buy’ on Instagram.

What actually happened?

Social media shopping functionalities continued to pop up and expand. In October Facebook announced that it was testing ways to make it easier for users to shop on their app through a new “Shopping” tab. They’re also expanding their immersive ads and testing a “Buy” button on News Feed posts that lets people purchase items without leaving the site.

The buy button popped up all over social media, Google worked commerce into its websites, with a Buy button appearing on search ads and YouTube videos. Twitter made its Buy button available to hundreds of thousands of merchants and Pinterest now has more than 60 million shoppable posts that come with Buy buttons.

What to expect in 2016?

Despite this optimistic approach from retailers, there’s no guarantee that consumers will be as keen. In fact, when asked by Dartmouth University researchers, only 35% of millennials said they were likely to use a Buy button on Facebook and only 24% said they’d use a Buy button on Twitter. This poses the question that if this generation, who have always seen technology as a key part of day-to-day life, aren’t keen then who will be? Also questioning this is Nora Barnes, which conducted the study. “As a consumer behaviour specialist, I’m looking at this and saying, ‘Who wants or needs this? Who’s going to use it?’ I think Millennials are saying the same thing.”

We only need to look at Amazon’s foray into social media shopping to get a feel for the trend. The #AmazonCart that allowed twitter users to add items they’d seen on social media to their Amazon basket was quickly scrapped last year.

3. There would be a rise in companies that are ‘‘The Uber of something’

What we thought

British companies would be racing to become ‘the Uber of something’.

What actually happened?

Although there was (as still is) a lot of hype over the ‘uber of something’ phenomenon there haven’t been any big game changers that look likely to have the same effect as Airbnb or Uber by fundamentally disrupting the status quo.

4. UK wages would to rise in 2015

What we thought would happen?

According to a report by Deloitte CFOs were upbeat and on average expect wages in their businesses to rise by 2.9% in 2015.

What actually happened?

Data released in September 2015 showed that pay was rising at its fastest rate since 2009, with average salaries up by just under 3%. However this did slow down towards the end of 2015 and into the beginning of this year with average weekly earnings up 2%, which is the slowest increase since February.

5. There would be a major skills gap

What we thought

Capgemini predicted that 4.4 million jobs globally will be created around Big Data alone by 2015, but rather worryingly, a third of them will remain unfilled, as the skills employers want are increasingly not being met by the talent entering the workforce.

What actually happened?

A report into executives by KPMG found that 36% admitted that they lack big data specialists, which was up from 24% in 2014. And it looks like this skills gap issue is set to continue into 2016, in fact according to a report by employers’ network Tech Partnership and business analytics firm SAS in just the UK it has been forecast that 56,000 big data jobs will be created a year until 2020.

So all in all our predictions seem to be fairly on the ball and these trends seem set to stay for 2016 (and let’s hope wages pick up again!). Watch out for our blog next week that looks into our tips for the top for 2016…

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