January 4, 2021
Main Street Monday — Top Small Business Trends for 2021
For small businesses, 2020 was one of the most challenging years in history. However, changing socioeconomic conditions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic paved the way for numerous opportunities for business growth in 2021. Here are a few business trends that the SBA’s Business Resource Guide anticipates in 2021:
- Businesses will continue to prioritize e-commerce.
While e-commerce was already growing before the pandemic, a report by IBM shows the shift away from physical stores to digital shopping has sped up by roughly five years. In light of this shift, small businesses are recommended to fine-tune their e-commerce presence in 2021.
- Alternative payment options will proliferate.
Another trend that is likely to last throughout 2021 is the dominance of alternative payment options. In their annual State of Retail Payments study, the National Retail Federation found that no-touch payments (e.g. contactless credit and debit cards or mobile pay) for retailers have increased 69% since January and 94% of small business owners anticipate no-touch payment methods will continue to grow in popularity over the next 18 months.
- Remote work will persist.
During the pandemic, many small businesses shifted to part-time or full-time remote work schedules in response to local ordinances. According to a survey by Intermedia, 57% of small to medium-sized business owners said they will continue to offer remote work options in the long term. Therefore, some small business owners may need to consider offering remote work options to compete for labor in 2021.
- Businesses that offer virtual services will continue to be in high demand.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the pandemic has led to increased demand for certain business types, particularly those related to technology and virtual health and fitness. These include cybersecurity, at-home fitness, food delivery, gaming, home improvement, and telemedicine businesses. Small businesses looking to pivot or expand may want to explore these categories for inspiration.
SBA Business Resource Guide