7 Gig Economy Trends to Watch in 2020
Updated: Feb 21
Trends That Will Shape the Evolution of the Gig Economy
The emergence of the gig economy is one of the most significant shifts in the business landscape from the past decade. As we head into the next, the Ultimate Gig research team has identified seven key trends that will shape the evolution of the gig economy.
New Opportunities. Three driving factors behind the gig economy show no signs of slowing in 2020: consumers expecting products and services on demand, businesses seeking to optimize their workforce, and individuals looking to boost their income with additional flexible work. Watch for even more companies to join the gig economy across virtually every sector.
Old opportunities redefined. While the gig economy seems new, there have been some companies that have offered flexible, short-term, or part-time earning opportunities for years. Many of these businesses, including direct selling companies, will begin to reframe the way they market themselves to potential workers. This poses a massive opportunity in 2020 and beyond.
Technology Disruption. Technology fueled the surge in the gig economy in the past decade, with smartphones, mobile apps, and data analytics making it easier to engage and participate in new forms of work. In 2020, watch for artificial intelligence, voice, extended reality, and 5G data networks to continue to transform the way we think about and conduct work. Technology systems must be flexible, expandable, adaptable in support of legacy systems that are challenged and in need of transformation and additional support. Third-party providers will play an important role in these discussions and will help companies adapt more quickly.
Faster Payments. Traditional freelance workers often were among the last vendors to see their invoices paid, and many long-time contractors are accustomed to spending time each month collecting outstanding invoices. Innovation within the gig economy has begun to turn that around, and we expect to see an increasing number of gig economy companies in 2020 pay people nearly instantaneously for work they perform.
Changes in the Traditional Workplace. As more and more people seek to supplement their full-time employment with side-hustles, many traditional employers will need to rethink their existing policies. To remain competitive in the labor market, employers will need to offer more flexible hours, more location independence, and be willing to accept that there are hours when their employees are not only "off the clock" but also on someone else's.
Regulatory Uncertainty. California will ring in the new year with its attempt to bring a new set of labor standards to the gig economy, and we anticipate at least a handful of states and municipalities to follow suit with new regulations of their own. This will generate more work for lawyers, lobbyists, and analysts. Still, it's unclear whether it will result in a substantive change in the labor market. The genie is out of the bottle.
Customers are the Kings and Queens of the Future Marketplace. Backed by new technology, consumers will continue to vote with their wallets to demand an increasingly higher level of customer experience. An intuitive shopping experience, personalized products and services, and near-instant delivery will become base-line expectations. The most successful companies will be able to anticipate a customer’s needs and resolve problems even before a customer becomes aware of them.
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