Other than the usual resolutions for a healthier lifestyle and more conservative spending habits, I felt predictions for 2022 have been rather quiet. After two unpredictable years, perhaps not having my usual finger on the pulse of what is trending, might be a trend in itself, but perhaps I just spent more time on the single tracks in the beautiful Knysna hills than reading forecasts. So what does the brave and brilliant say about what we can expect from business and behaviour in the next twelve months?
Travel & Tourism
As one of the most severely hit industries, Travel and Tourism’s focus on domestic markets seems to be their best shot at immediate survival. Despite hopes of a better international visitor season in South Africa, Omicron had other plans. I think communication about the discovery of the new variant was somewhat hasty, leading to panic decisions, red lists and cancelled bookings. While there is a definite uptick in overseas guests in the Winelands, we are not where we hoped to be. Having said that, the domestic market is doing very well and perhaps Covid has done what SA Tourism has been struggling with, to get locals enjoying the beauty and bounty of their own country.
Cape Town Tourism’s Domestic Travel Intent report indicates that close to 70% of locals were planning to go away on holiday during the festive season with only 4% of those considering international travel. We definitely want to get out, but not necessarily out of the country! And this is true globally. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council’s report on Global Economic Trends, tourism businesses across the globe are adapting their offerings for domestic markets. Despite being vaccinated and more savvy when it comes to the virus, travellers are still cautious and perhaps, pockets are under pressure too.
In a her travel trend report, Destinate’s Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, gives a brilliant summary of what travellers expect in 2022. In short:
- a continued focus on sustainability, self-awareness and self-care
- blurred boundaries when it comes to business hours and work environment
- an obvious demand for outdoor and niche rather than crowded streets
“The pandemic really just expedited where the trends in the restaurant industry were going, which was fast casual and also people interested in eating healthier and just being a little more conscious,” says Brianna Keefe (27), whose love for the taste and aesthetics of avocado toast resulted in the highly successful Toastique gourmet toast and juice bars. This is just one example of a list of similar booming businesses started by Millennials in the U.S. recently. While their longevity might be up for discussion, these fast food cafés with a difference, indicate a bigger trend – the need for casual, but quality food. (Read more)
Sit-down restaurants also have to revisit their offering. With less seats available and the time it takes to sanitise, chefs and restaurateurs are rethinking menus. Foodandwine.com shares what the new menu looks like:
- Condensed and optimised for a quicker turnaround
- Smaller and simpler to still offer quality, technique and flavour despite a smaller workforce in the kitchen
- Sharing plates make way for individual portions
- An even stronger focus on local and seasonal ingredients, being available and supporting own communities
- Decanter’s top wine trend for 2022 is the consumer’s interest in less well-known wine regions. Predominantly focusing on the American market with a preference for the classics from France, Decanter says consumers looking for more affordable options are now also exploring other regions. Supply issues might also encourage consumers to be open to alternatives. Vineyard Brand’s sales manager, Jason Sorrell suggests “Sancerre lovers look to South African Sauvignon Blanc as a logical wine swap.” “‘With the severe shortage of Burgundy, markets will to have to look at other alternatives, whether from Chile or South Africa.”
- While value might be more important than ever, wine drinkers are still interested in the story behind the wine.
- Innovation and a fresh approach will be crucial for wine producers. Not only to entice those who are willing to explore, but also to capture a younger generation of wine drinkers.
- With health concerns top of mind, there is an increasing demand for no and lower alcohol wines.
- According to Vivino’s Zachariassen: “Our pandemic behaviours will stick, as wine drinkers have started to notice that sparkling wine tastes just as good in sweatpants as it does in a suit”. Sparkling wine stays popular and extends to more than Champagne, but also other sparkling wines made in the traditional way.
- While those of us who live in sunny South Africa, drink rosé and white wine all year round, it is also set to become a global trend.
- Orange, natural and sulphite-free wines make the list.
- Sustainability stays important in all aspects – from conservation and production to the employment of vineyard and cellar workers to carbon footprint and the considered use of glass.
Business & Technology
- Working from home has come to stay and more than a proper office chair, the demand is for reliable internet. According to Cybersecurity Ventures there will be 6 billion Internet users by 2022 (75 percent of the projected world population of about 8 billion).
- More than ever businesses have to make use of artificial intelligence and big data to understand their consumer.
- The Metaverse is what it’s all about. It “potentially involves entertainment, social connection, work productivity, and behavior modification at scale”, to facilitate “convenience, consumption, and a frictionless access to services.” (Read more)
- Technology also has to be employed for better organisational efficiency – especially in the new hybrid work environment. (Read more)
- And while technology directs the way we do business today, IBM.com also recognises talent and trust as important factors to keep in mind. Executives are “finding ways to increase flexibility, strengthen cybersecurity, and reduce environmental impact each step of the way. They’re also redefining how humans and technology work together – and creating organizational cultures that put people first.”
The pandemic has shaped much of how we think and do. And even though we might finally be coming to grips with Covid, consumer behaviour has changed and we have found a new normal. Businesses have to be more consumer focused than ever. The middle man is fading and in a technologically advanced environment, we need to find ways to make consumers feel special through personalised products and experiences. As individuals, we have all realised the value of a stable and secure income, but also the importance of our mental and physical well-being. It’s nothing new, but perhaps it is even more important than in the past – we need a balanced approached.
My hope for the New Year is that we’ll find that balance without adding even more strain to our lives. Wishing you a blessed and prosperous 2022!