46 Things to Watch in 2021

Photo credit: Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com.

It’s 2021! Finally!

While the year is off to a rough start, it has to be better than the year that we just went through.

In fact, there are many good things to look forward to.

And, looking forward is what this post is all about.

Since 2013, I’ve been keeping a list of things to watch that I think will influence how we live in the future.

Many of the things that I thought were important in the past are still important. Some may need to be taken off the list in the future, while others will be added.

This list is published nearly every year because it helps keep me focused and serves as a public record to show whether or not I am watching the right things each year.

The Things to Watch List 2021

This is the list so far [with the year that the items were added]:

1) Rapid advancements in technology [2013]

2) Mobile (user experience and marketing) [2013]

3) Mobile payments [2013]

4) Mobile-influenced merchandising [2013]

5) Privacy issues [2013]

6) Emerging markets [2013]

7) The Internet of Things [2014]

8) The evolution of retail (including omni-channel retail) [2014]

9) A global marketplace [2014]

10) 3D printing [2014]

11) Cyberattacks [2014]

12) Ethics [2014]

13) Online video [2016]

14) RFID, NFC, and beacons [2016]

15) Augmented reality (AR) [2016]

16) Virtual reality (VR) [2016]

17) SEO for the Internet of Things [2016]

18) Experiential marketing [2016]

19) Wearables [2016]

20) Dynamic pricing [2017]

21) Machine learning & artificial intelligence (AI) [2017]

22) Voice-activated technology [2017]

23) Business collaboration with the competition [2017]

24) The evolution of work (changing skillsets required and the influence on the economy) [2017]

25) Robotics [2018]

26) Subscription business model [2018]

27) How online communications influence public opinion [2018]

28) Market research techniques for the 21st Century [2018]

29) Influencer marketing [2019]

30) Accessible marketing for people with disabilities [2019]

31) Sustainability brands [2019]

32) Health-conscious brands [2019]

33) Biometrics [2020]

34) Branded entertainment or advertainment [2020]

35) Blockchain [2020]

36) Cryptocurrency [2020]

37) Visual communications [2020]

38) Visual search & voice search [2020]

39) Audio communications & sonic branding [2020]

40) Algorithms influencing society [2020]

41) Haptic technology [2020]

42) In-game advertising (IGA) [2020]

43) Big data [2020]

44) Predictive analytics [2020]

45) 5G [2020]

46) How COVID-19 and other pandemics will change the world [2021]

A Few Things to Think About

Looking back at last year’s post, I was optimistic about 2020.

I wonder if anyone could have predicted what we would be living through only a few months later.

COVID-19 changed everything.

This included the way we worked, shopped, and played last year.

Therefore, businesses needed to find ways to adapt. And, many did.

In fact, many businesses made changes years before they thought they normally would have.

The question now is whether or not these changes will be temporary or will they permanently change the way that we live.

In some cases, things will go back to the way they were prior to the pandemic. Sometimes, the adaptations will be permanent. In other cases, there might be some hybrid solutions or maybe we will find an even better way to do things.

Nobody knows for sure. However, businesses should be watching.

Note: If you think that I missed anything that should have included on my list, please let me know in the comments below.

Chad Thiele

Chad Thiele

I am a marketing analyst and strategist. I earned my master's degree from West Virginia University in Integrated Marketing Communications in 2023. I also hold a bachelor's degree from UW-Madison in Sociology with a Concentration in Analysis and Research, and I completed the Mobile Marketing Professional Certificate Program from Auburn University in 2015.