To understand the overarching factors at play in shaping today’s and tomorrow’s business and consumer landscape, it is important to understand the broader macroeconomic environment while detecting emerging signals of change. Understanding how these elements may combine to alter the consumer, retail and business environment can give companies a more informed and considered base to make decisions about the future.
Across Eastern Europe there are drivers of change that will be vital for organizations to understand moving forward. In many EE countries we are seeing populations declining and ageing and this will drive both challenges and opportunities. There are commentators who talk about declining consumer base eroding consumer demand while others point to the changing demand for aged care products shifting the priorities on manufacturers and retailers
The accelerating urbanization seen in other regions is happening In Eastern Europe too, but the percentages of people living in smaller towns and cities as opposed to the growth of high density cities in China and India is comparatively very high and will translate to very different consumer environments. New infrastructure such as the Belt road connecting China to the region may stimulate very new trade and consumption while technology adoption is enabling new behaviours such as shopping, leisure and entertainment and new capability in retail like augmented reality, machine learning and drones could revolutionize consumer brands industries.
These are just a few examples of the broader change agents at play and factors like legislation, trade agreements and evolving consumer attitudes are just some of the factors that companies should consider when formulating growth strategies.
There are a myriad of examples of companies and industries that have been blindsided by change they didn’t see coming. Conversely, there are a growing number of examples of organizations reaping the rewards of future-driven thinking. Innovations in research and analytics in recent years have brought about new capabilities to leverage tools like big data modelling, consumer groups and customized research to give greater direction and feedback loops to guide business and investment decisions. Such approaches are not about prediction nor do they guarantee success, but they do lay the foundations for more thorough and rigorous decisions to mitigate risk and unlock future growth.
For deeper insights on what the future might hold for your business, download the What's Next Starts Now whitepaper or infographic for summary or view webinar playback for local insights from our other regions - Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America.