​Another decade has flown by, and what a decade it has been. If you work in the Digital, Marketing, Design, Media or Technology sectors, then you will have witnessed first hand the transformation that has occurred within them. The tools available to us now are drastically different to those available ten years ago, and they have allowed businesses all over the world to change the way that they function, and how they attract clients and customers.

Today, we reflect on some of the most significant digital trends of the last decade, and consider how these trends will develop in the coming ten years.

The Rise of the Smartphone

When the iPhone was launched in 2007, it marked the start of the overwhelming development in smart phone technology that would occur in the next decade, in which companies such as Apple, Samsung, LG and Google fought to produce the most advanced, and compact, products.

This course of events has often been coined as ‘the mobile revolution’, which has resulted in approximately 5.11 billion mobile users globally. By making the capabilities of a computer fit inside one’s hand, it revealed a way in which businesses could connect, advertise and sell more easily to their target audiences. As a consequence, a butterfly effect was created. The speedy development of commercial apps, audience targeting, SEO, and the following trends discussed in this article, are direct and indirect products of that ‘mobile revolution’.

The ‘mobile revolution’ is above all defined by creating modern technology users who want, and expect, convenience. Things can be done at the touch of a button, and the introduction of 4G technology has meant that this can be done faster, and everywhere.

In the next decade, the introduction of 5G is eagerly awaited. Clearly, the trajectory that smartphone technological development is currently on is going to continue, with customer convenience being its primary concern.

The Rise of the Social Media

One of the by-products of the ‘mobile revolution’ has been the rise in social media use, where creative content can be shared with the whole world. It has been the steady and continued practice of such which has meant that the giant that was Facebook in the 2000s is increasingly beginning to pale in comparison to Instagram (which Facebook wisely bought), Twitter and YouTube.

This ability to connect easily to the world has naturally been utilised by businesses. Social media marketing has become an integral part of how companies retain the attention of their customer base. One way that they do so is by capitalising off of 'meme culture'. Those who know the meme, but not the company, are more likely to share and like the post than any of the business’ other adverts, thus increasing the company’s exposure. Even here at Aspire, we catch on to popular meme trends and post relevant content.

The rise in social media has also increased the use of multimedia marketing. Video content in particular is expected to become even more popular in the next decade, not only because it now encompasses several different forms, such as documentaries, live streams, short videos, and so on.

The next decade will also likely bring more of what has been titled as ‘fake news’; image manipulation and inaccurate statistics can emerge from even the most reputable companies on social media. Therefore, a crack-down on such is likely to occur.

The Rise of the E-Commerce

Again related to the ‘mobile revolution’, and the accessibility of going online anywhere and everywhere, is the rise of online shopping. This is particularly relevant for APAC; South-east Asia has been identified as the fastest growing region for e-commerce, at 27% CAGR. This is a percentage which will only grow over the next decade, as convenience trumps traditional high street shopping (for more information on Singapore’s fight against e-commerce, click here).

Social media is nowadays intricately interlinked with e-commerce. Influencer marketing, for instance, has become a popular way for brands to connect to specific audiences, who trust a friendly face. Adverts sprinkled around social media are also growing, as evidenced by the introduction of non-skippable ads on YouTube.

Such a rise in online shopping has naturally brought an increased focus on digital security and privacy. The trajectory of such is parallel to the volume of online shopping traffic, and thus dealing with scammers and other such problems associated with moving your shop online will become an increasing focus.

The movement of stores to become wholly digital will also be common, as will the ownership of digital currency. The advent of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are redefining the notion of what it means to own assets in a digital world, and this will continue from 2020 onwards.

The Rise of the AI

The increased use of artificial intelligence and chatbots by businesses has emerged, and will continue to emerge, as integral aspects of customer experience. It has been used thus far as a way of cultivating a more personal experience with a brand, and this will necessarily develop as the capabilities of AI and chatbots do. AI additionally aids the scale of the development and deployment of products and services, and this will become sophisticated also as governments and big brands invest in AI experimentation.

AI investment in APAC, particularly in China, has grown massively in the last couple of years in order to rival the technology of the United States (for more on the war of technology between China and the US, click here). This growth will see a heavier dependency on AI as a central tool used for growing new businesses, as well as building on pre-existing ones.

There are several more significant trends which arrived within our current decade, such as VR and AR, but those mentioned above are undoubtedly the most significant for businesses. Only by understanding and utilising these can a brand hope to thrive today, and tomorrow.