4 Business Trends of 2024 to Know

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Imagine if you had known about crypto in 2012. Or the internet in mid 1990s.

Identifying trends early can be incredibly lucrative. Running some SaaS companies myself, I wanted to see what trends I could identify to help my businesses grow.

I read top tech reports from Gartner, G2, Accenture and many more. Below are the most impactful trends I identified among these forecasts. Let’s get into them.

1. AI: No longer Sci-Fi, right?

AI image

You know AI. Everyone and their mother was talking about it in 2023. OpenAI’s release of ChatGPT started an explosion of conversation around what the future of business and work will look like. Everyone was curious if their jobs could be replaced. No grandpa, AI will not take away your gambling habit. There are two trends within the AI space that I believe will make some big splashes in 2024.

Generative AI Copilots

2023 saw a surge of generative AI usage. ChatGPT, an AI chat built by OpenAI, became the fastest growing consumer application in history, reaching 100 Million users in just 2 months after launch.

In 2024 this field is expected to grow even further, and affect more industries. I believe a new medium for generative AI will be industry specific copilots. Copilots are essentially AI assistants that make a task easier. For example, the current most popular copilots are ones for software developers. They use them to quickly generate boilerplate code instead of typing it themselves. At this point these copilots have become a standard for the industry. According to Github, their Copilot is currently being used by over 1 million developers. And when a copilot was used in a file, 40% of the code was written with it.

As a programmer I’ve personally felt the productivity gain these tools have provided. And it’s only a matter of time until that efficiency boost is given to other industries. Think lawyers, writers, healthcare professionals, or financial analysts. An LLM (large language model) these copilots are built on can be fine tuned with any data. It’s not far fetched to see fine tuned models created for these other industries, and become the norm for them like it has for software.

AI Pullback

The second AI trend to expect, and it’s probably contrary to what you think, is that companies will begin to draw back on AI features. We are in the peak of the AI hype cycle, so of course every enterprise is adding AI features to gain customers.

However, according to G2, a leading software review site, customer satisfaction hasn’t increased. And neither has the average ROI. Companies will realize that adding superfluous AI features is not worth the overhead required to build and maintain them. They will cut out the AI bloat, and just keep the AI features that are supporting their bottom line.

Over time companies (and society) will realize AI is not some all powerful, one-wrong-button-and-apocalypse technology. Instead, AI is a sustaining technology (as opposed to a disruptive one), that improves most existing businesses instead of replacing them.

2. Sustainability

Customers care a lot about sustainability, especially younger consumers. If a millennial or Gen Z-er believes a brand cares about the planet, they are 27% more likely to buy from them compared to older generations. Customers are also now more likely to buy from companies they share values with. 66% of customers have stopped buying from a company because their values didn’t align.

Companies have taken notice and started adding sustainability features to their products. Stripe, the world’s leading payment processing tech company, created Stripe Climate. Which allows businesses to easily donate 1% of their sales to climate control, and promptly displays it to users when they check out. This trend will continue into 2024, and I believe we’ll see more companies adding green-tech features, as well as marketing language, to their business.

3. Non-traditional Working Environments

Before the Covid pandemic, working from home was a luxury. Now it’s become the norm. But companies are still adjusting to this hybrid work environment. 2023 saw Zoom, Google, Amazon, and virtually all big tech companies implement new return to office policies – enforcing a hybrid work at home and office structure. Which also resulted in some hilarious memes.

In 2024 we’ll see companies continue to iterate on this. We’ll also see tools for remote connectivity become more popular, which brings me to my next point:

The rise of Augmented and Virtual Reality

Apple is releasing their Apple Vision Pro in early 2024. This will be a monumental release for the industry. If the apple product flops, or is too heavy for the human neck, are headsets going to be considered a letdown? If it’s a success, what societal impact will it make? And how will top companies (hello Meta) in the space respond?

VR has the potential to make remote work much more, less remote. Imagine being able to see a coworker (imagine one you like) face to face, as if they’re standing right in front of you even though they’re thousands of miles away.

AR and VR are going to help enable people to live contrary to what many consider “traditional” lives. That is, the focus on career ladder, buying a house, staying in one location.

The timing could be perfect, as 50% of people are questioning their existing life choices after the pandemic.

4. Autonomous Vehicles / Machine Customers

Machines are getting smarter thanks to AI, and getting more connected thanks to technologies like 5G (which is expected to become even more prevalent in 2024).

Autonomous vehicles are an example, exponentially growing in popularity each year. In 2024 the market is expected to reach 41 Billion, and grow to 114 Billion by 2029. Soon we will start seeing the rise of “Machine Customers” – or machines ordering for themselves on behalf of the user.

Imagine your Tesla recognizes one of its tires is wearing down, orders a new one, and sets up a service agent to come by your house and get it fixed. All without your knowing. This reality isn’t far away. According to Gartner, “by 2028 machine customers will render 20% of human-readable digital storefronts obsolete.”

For the first time in history companies can begin creating their own customers. This will completely alter the consumer – company relationship.

Bonus: Micro trends to watch out for

SaaS pricing model changes

People have subscription fatigue. The average consumer in the US has 12 paid subscriptions, in just entertainment apps alone. Companies are experimenting with different SaaS pricing models to satisfy consumers. For example lifetime purchases, or pay-per-use. Zappier a leading B2B automation platform, just announced they are offering a new pay-per-task billing, instead of only a monthly subscription plan. More companies are going to be offering alternative pricing plans that have come to define the SaaS industry.

BIG year for geo-politics

This isn’t a micro trend as much as it is a non-tech factor that could affect, well everything. So uh, ya it’s important to keep an eye on.

This is one of the biggest years in geo-politics ever. 4 Billion people will be going to the polls to vote – US, EU, UK, India, Taiwan and more. This will have huge repercussions for geo-politics. And thus, big impacts on supply chain, foreign policy, and global economies as a whole.

It’s important as a business owner, and a human, to keep an eye on this. Who gets elected will have long lasting down stream impacts for all businesses.

What next?

Taking advantage of business trends with a side hustle is a great way to make money. Check out our list of easy side hustles to inspire you.

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