December 9, 2022

2023 headwinds to consider

Dennis Cant
7 Communications
Vice President

With a new year almost upon us, it’s time to take a look ahead. Your goal setting is equally important to understanding the headwinds that might influence your business and how those objectives can be achieved.

This past year, Canada and its global neighbours finally started to embrace a sense of normalcy after weathering two challenging pandemic years. The year 2022 saw themes such as choice and how consumers would decide to interact with brands — in person, online or both — as well as how businesses were being pressed to make actionable steps to a greener future and not just slap on a superficial marketing claim.

Heading into 2023, the common thread is that expectations have changed.

1. The Economy

In 2023, consumer interest in and craving for experiences will intensify and that desire will drive how Canadians spend their time and money. The Canadian economy is expected to experience softened growth as we enter the new year with a few suggesting that it will in fact be short-lived in both Canada and the U.S.

Any impact is not anticipated to be universal as consumers modify their home spending patterns, though the travel and tourism industry, hit hard during the pandemic, is predicted to fare better than most sectors in 2023. That fact provides insight into how consumers will focus expenditures toward their craving of experiences and a general unwillingness to sacrifice what they may have missed out on over the 2 ½ years.

Detailed view of a hand inserting a wallet into the interior pocket of a jacket,

2. Digital Experience

Expectations around digital experiences are evolving. Today’s consumers don’t only crave frictionless and boundaryless customer experience — they expect it.

A large portion of the population learned to move online during the pandemic. They became well versed in on-demand services like grocery delivery, digital banking, mobile ride-sharing and other frictionless digital experiences. Pre-pandemic, it is estimated that just 19% of Canadians had used grocery delivery whereas one year after the pandemic began, that increased to 49%.

As major corporations, like Uber, Instacart and DoorDash excel at these seamless digital experiences, it has raised people’s expectations in terms of what all businesses need to deliver.

The idea of immediate response is more present than ever, and that type of digital progression has permeated everyone's demands, regardless of channel. It is critical to not only understand how your business will be impacted by these digital expectations, but to design solutions that customers view as easy, convenient and enjoyable.

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3. Artificial Intelligence

Robots have yet to take over our lives, but Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to be top of mind for countless businesses. It's more important than ever to understand not only the power of AI while recognizing the direct benefits it could have on your business. AI doesn’t have to be something as big and intricate as an autonomous car or a smart city. Instead, try tackling its use from a marketing perspective and consider how AI can be applied to your business and used to positively improve something like internal data analysis, customer segmentation or content creation.

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4. Talent Retention

Expectations around how we source and keep talent are also changing in 2023. During the pandemic, many Canadians left full-time office jobs — by choice or not. Many of those people are not coming back to work for companies on full-time payroll. At the upper end of the age range, the pandemic prompted early retirement on a larger scale in 2022, a trend that continues to affect operations at organizations of all sizes.

Now, it takes longer to find the right people too. With all the change and uncertainty of the past few years, the recruitment process requires more time, and the conversations to convince potential new hires to make a shift into a new role involve more finesse. Everyone needs their hand held a little bit more.

Expectations from a wage standpoint have also changed. People who held junior positions going into the pandemic ended up getting promotions and salary bumps throughout it and that raised expectations. What we’re experiencing now is that some of these folks are not actually as senior as their salary suggests. Still, business owners are being forced to salary-match in order to entice potential new talent.

Managing headwinds is critical for any successful business, but identifying key ones in advance and adapting your strategy to acknowledge and embrace them will put you in the position to excel in a challenging year ahead.

Reach out at any point, should you want to chat about turning headwinds into tailwinds in 2023.

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