In 2024, the top business trends highlight a dynamic landscape defined by technological advancements, evolving consumer behaviors, and industry innovations. Among these trends, generative AI emerges as a pivotal force, driving productivity gains across sectors through content generation and enhanced customer experiences. Additionally, the enduring growth of e-commerce post-pandemic and the rapid adoption of 5G technology are reshaping business operations and data analytics, heralding a future of enhanced connectivity and efficiency. To learn more about the 9 top business trends of 2024, continue reading.
This is an up-to-date list of key business trends in 2024, along with those that are poised to see continued growth into 2025.
We’ll cover the sectors, consumer behavior changes, and tech innovations driving each trend.
Whether you’re a scrappy startup or part of a Fortune 500 company, here are the top business trends to know:
1. Generative AI Boosts Business Productivity
Generative AI has businesses paying attention.
Byb 2025, it’s predicted that generative AI will hold about 30% of the entire AI market and be valued at roughly $60 billion.
Consumers are expecting businesses to capitalize on generative AI applications — nearly 70% of consumers say they believe most businesses will soon be using this technology to improve the customer experience.
Generative AI platforms run on the technology of large language models (LLMs).
These models are trained on billions of pages of existing text. As they are trained, LLMs pay attention to contextual relationships between the words and patterns seen in sentences. From there, the LLM can put together content on its own.
For example, the BERT LLM can achieve 85%-90% accuracy in just milliseconds.
And LLMs are only getting better.
In the future, AI experts say these models will be able to generate their own training data to self-improve, pull in information from external sources, and operate much more efficiently through an approach called “sparse expert models.”
Boston Consulting Group reports that some expect that generative AI will be able to put out “final draft” content by 2030.
As of now, LLMs are far from perfect, but businesses are already taking advantage of their wide-ranging capabilities.
They can generate text, translate text between languages, summarize content and rewrite it, categorize content, analyze the sentiment of text, and engage with users in conversational chat.
Accenture reports that LLMs can impact 40% of all working hours and 98% of global executives believe AI models will play an important role in their organizations within the next 5 years.
Startups in the healthcare industry have released several promising generative AI technologies.
Syntegra, a 2019 startup based in San Francisco, uses AI to generate synthetic patient data that’s totally realistic but not linked to any certain patient.
The synthetic data matches the statistical accuracy of the real data, so health systems and research institutions get the data they need while patient privacy remains protected.
It’s also much quicker and oftentimes more economical to get data this way.
Generative AI is also proving to be revolutionary technology for software developers.
Github’s Copilot is one of the most popular AI solutions available for coding purposes.
The platform takes natural language prompts and suggests code or entire functions to fulfill the prompt. It’s been called autocomplete for software developers.
One Copilot user said programming tasks that previously took 10 minutes now take just 30 seconds.
In files in which Copilot is used, Github says the AI solution writes 40% of the actual code.
Generative AI will soon be used in advertising too.
Google reports that it plans to implement AI-powered ads in the near future.
Business users will simply upload materials to train the AI model. Then the model will create new ads from those materials, complete with new text, images, and videos.
Meta has said they’ll introduce a similar AI model for ads on their platforms.
2. E-Commerce Growth Persists Post-Pandemic
The pandemic completely changed the way consumers shop.
E-commerce was already on the rise before COVID hit. But the pandemic helped the eCommerce space take off at an astronomical rate.
In fact, Shopify reported that e-commerce experienced 10 years’ worth of growth in just three months during the pandemic.
Although the growth of eCommerce has slowed post-pandemic, it’s still growing modestly. And businesses continue to adjust their marketing and sales strategies to maximize its impact on the bottom line.
In 2023, global e-commerce sales totaled $6.3 trillion and that number is expected to grow to $8.1 trillion by 2026.
global-retail-e-commerce-sales-min.webpE-commerce sales continue to grow. Predictions show more than $6.3 billion in sales next year.
E-commerce was responsible for nearly 14% of all retail sales in 2019, but in 2023, e-commerce is expected to account for more than 22% of all retail.
Some specific retail categories like electronics, home improvement, and home furnishings have been able to maintain post-pandemic growth.
The furniture industry, for example, is estimated to have brought in more than $149 million in e-commerce revenue in 2022 and grow to $208 million by 2025. That’s approximately 12% of total e-commerce sales in the United States.
There are currently more than 4 million e-commerce companies in North America.
And companies are launching new e-commerce opportunities every day.
Take Disney, for example.
The company announced in early 2021 that it would focus on e-commerce and close 60 of its brick-and-mortar stores in North America.
In late 2022, they announced plans to expand the Disney+ platform to include in-app commerce options.
Users can scan a QR code on the detail pages of their favorite shows and movies. That will take them to a specific shopDisney site where they can purchase merchandise that’s available only to Disney+ subscribers.
shop-disney-black-panther-min.webpExclusive merchandise from Star Wars, Black Panther, Frozen 2, and other Disney titles are available only to Disney+ subscribers.
Your Super is an e-commerce superfood supplement company that saw tremendous growth during the pandemic and into 2023.
In 2021, they launched a partnership with Target and were acquired by The Healing Company.
your-super-at-target-min.webpMichael Kuech and Kristel De Groot founded Your Super in 2015 after Michael was diagnosed with cancer.
They’ve sold more than 5 million products, earning them a ranking of 25th on 2021 Inc. fastest growing companies list.
3. 5G Vastly Improves Data Collection And AI Capabilities
The development of the 5G mobile network has the potential to radically change business operations.
In simple terms, 5G can deliver higher data speeds, greater reliability, and sub-10ms latency.
As of November 2023, the United States and China were leading the race for the 5G rollout.
In the US, 5G is available in 503 cities. It’s available in 356 cities in China.
The 5G market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 65.8% through 2030 to reach a valuation of $797.8 billion.
This technology is crucial for businesses that are eager to offer new services and track insights in order to stay ahead of the competition.
For example, the development of the 5G mobile network is driving enhanced data collection and analysis for businesses.
Overall, this means businesses will have more data from more diverse sources at faster speeds. Then they can put that intelligence to work in real time.
These are the data speeds businesses need in order to utilize AI and automation.
A few possibilities include intelligent data analysis, remote medical control, remote control of traffic lights, and virtual reality monitoring of machinery.
BMW is already testing the capabilities of 5G technology at their factory in Leipzig, Germany.
bmw-min.webpBMW is utilizing 5G technology to improve factory operations and worker safety.
They are combining 5G and AI in order to locate machines, cars, tools, and parts within the factory in real-time. They have an accuracy down to within one centimeter.
In early 2021, T-Mobile deployed its first 5G network in a hospital at the Miami Veterans Affairs Healthcare System.
The network has peak speeds of 1 gigabit per second.
This enables healthcare providers to access data-intensive patient records like X-rays and medical charts from devices anywhere in the hospital.
The 5G network is also critical for medical providers who’ve invested in telemedicine. The high speeds of the 5G network can enable nearly real-time video and remote monitoring of patients.
Businesses are also leveraging 5G connectivity via the Internet of Things (IoT) in order to improve business operations and launch new services.
IoT sensors are already in use in manufacturing production lines, supply chain tracking, autonomous vehicles, and more.
IBM is in the testing phase of using IoT to monitor civil infrastructure.
This “next-generation maintenance program” brings together data from sensors, cameras, drones, and wearables to assess the safety and risks associated with roads, bridges, water mains, and other assets.
IBM estimates that this program can help release a $2 trillion backlog of improvements to civil infrastructure.
We expect to see the agribusiness industry rapidly integrate the use of 5G and the IoT into daily operations in the coming years.
Remote sensing and connected devices have the potential to monitor soil conditions, assess harvest readiness, and control pests.
Connected devices are already monitoring livestock.
A “cow-recognition system” from Lely outfits each animal with a transponder attached around its neck.
lely-solutions-min.webpLely’s data-driven solution gives farmers the insights they need to efficiently manage livestock.
The sensor collects data regarding animal health, activity, eating, and reproduction.
Although the system doesn’t currently operate on mobile networks, ag business experts say this is one area in which 5G networks will drive efficiency, seamless workflows, and a better-quality end product in the near future.