The past several years have featured more transformational change than perhaps the previous century, and the full effects of this are just beginning. The maturation of globalization, the exponential rise of e-commerce, the constant threat of technology disruption, and, most recently, the coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally shifted the entry costs of doing business in the 21st century.

From cloud computing to collaborative robotics, big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things, the ability to adopt new technology and increase digitalization will continue to play an important role. At the same time, it’s necessary to consider how emerging social and business trends will shape the future of your workforce and industry to ensure resiliency and sustainability.

Let’s take a look at how some of the unique insights from the fifth edition of the Logistics Trend Radar may impact your business, or contribute to innovations in your own supply chain, to help you navigate the transformative changes to come.

Silver Economy

Today, about 1 in 11 people are aged 65 and above. By 2050, this will grow to 1 in 6. Even by 2030, the number of people 65 years old or older will near 1 billion (+37%), with those in Europe and North America together representing a quarter of the total and those in China alone contributing another fourth.

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Elderly consumers with purchasing power that grows each year are shifting the consumer landscape. European Commission reports predict substantial increase in demand for products and services in connected health, smart home solutions, wearable technology, age-friendly education, and silver tourism in the coming decades. Businesses in these spaces, as well as those in other sectors wanting to attract older consumers, must consider senior needs as part of the customer and product experience.

For example, Taobao, the Alibaba-backed online retailer, released in 2018 an “elderly-friendly” version of its app with a less crowded interface, more navigation shortcuts, and faces of the user’s children so that they can share online products and easily communicate.

Fresh Chain

On-demand delivery of fresh goods is expected to continue surging with more retailers offering omnichannel experiences. Whether your business ships domestically or internationally, you know the importance of ensuring goods are fresh when they reach your customers. In fact, now is the perfect time to consider expanding your reach. Global cold-chain networks are penetrating more markets as refrigeration and monitoring technology becomes cheaper, allowing perishable and temperature-sensitive shipments to travel further.

With increasing demand for home deliveries in the future, advances in the logistics industry are paving the way toward innovative packaging solutions to boost cold-chain service quality and resilience. At the same time, you should think about how your own supply chain and refrigerated orders can be maximized for efficiency. For example, bundling orders that are going to the same location will save on shipping costs to best optimize your business’ operations.

Mass Personalization

As increased digitalization allows your business to become more accessible to millions of individual customers, mass personalization is an important way to improve service levels and customer satisfaction. So, what does this mean? Mass personalization involves tailoring products and services to individual customers based on profiles and past interactions. Developments in AI and big data analytics have transformed customer data points into more meaningful, personalized products and services, making customers feel unique and preferred, like a “market of one.”

While the idea of “market of one” sounds distant, internet users will readily recognize it as a reality of today. Discovery feeds on WeChat or Instagram, as well as recommendation lists on Netflix, Amazon, and other platforms, show curated, individualized content spanning ads to memes based on past app usage or browsing behavior. Greater customization of products are on the rise, especially in fashion, packaged goods, life sciences and healthcare. With better understanding of unique consumer needs, you can further customize and personalize solutions for your customers.

How is your business adapting to these emerging trends? Let us know on Twitter at @DHLUS.

Serious about going global? Your brand can reach 220 countries. Get started today.