PaySpace Magazine Analyst
In such unprecedented times, efforts to predict something are harder than ever. And yet, we’ll try to make some forecasts about what 2021 will bring to finance and related technologies.
We believe retailers all over the world have already acknowledged the importance of omnichannel marketing strategies and digital customer experience. During lockdowns, those who provided their online and mobile services on a decent level have managed to stay afloat. And yet, they must have seen room for improvement. Therefore, 2021 will be the year of tech innovations for many retailers. In our opinion, we’ll see more try-before-you-buy options, AR and virtual assistance in shopping apps, and AI use for omnichannel customization this year. Those who have concentrated on brick-and-mortar experience will actively develop their online storefronts in 2021.
As for shopping trends, we don’t think customers’ shopping habits will radically change. A little surge in online grocery sales could appear as long as the pandemic doesn’t give up. However, from what we’ve seen, people still prefer buying their food and essentials in person. Only a small percentage of those who tested online supermarket services were satisfied and are going to make it a routine experience.
The same goes for fashion items and makeup. Though, without any production testers, offline makeup sales may lose their advantage much sooner than expected. By the way, the trend of displaying makeup testers for general use will ultimately be forgotten. Pandemic or not, people have become more concerned about their healthcare and hygiene. Hence, in 2021, cosmetics should be tried out with either individual sealed samples or virtual reality tools.
Finally, in our opinion, we’ll continue to have enhanced demand for all the items related to healthcare and well-being. People are increasingly aware of their health issues and are trying to improve those conditions. Hence, devices like fitness trackers, glucometers, blood pressure monitors, etc will gain popularity. Another upheaval is forecast for ‘healthy’ and organic food, sports clothing and inventory, vitamins and diet supplements, as well as “miraculous” weight loss treatments and other pseudo-helpful “magic pills”.
Fiat and cryptocurrencies
As far as we can see, the US dollar will continue weakening against the euro in the first half of the year. Yet, we don’t think its fluctuations will be so great as to become a real concern. Moreover, we believe USD will ultimately strengthen against the EUR by the end of the year.
As for the cryptocurrencies, their performance promises to be quite spectacular this year. We believe Bitcoin is far from its record high at this time. It may continue to rise to at least 60-65K USD this year. Yet, we don’t think the bullish ride will be uninterrupted for a long time. We may also see some bearish trends closer to mid-year. Nevertheless, BTC will probably not make a very steep fall similar to those we’ve seen before. In our opinion, the lowest BTC price we may see this year is about 30,000 USD.
Despite any market fluctuations, the crypto industry will continue to actively develop and grow. In 2021, it may attract more attention from global regulators. Probably, various governments will finally discuss some common legislative practices regarding blockchain technology and crypto-assets. We don’t think the global leaders will come to a unified decision so soon, though. Still, active discussions of crypto regulations must be on legal agendas worldwide. In addition, we predict more renowned businesses and, especially, fintechs embracing crypto payments in 2021.
This year, we’ll continue to witness the rise of contactless payments. Mobile payments, NFC-wearables, QR codes, and contactless bank cards will remain trendy. At the same time, common quick authentication ways will diversify to include more biometric options. AI will be increasingly used to enhance transaction security and track suspicious banking activity.
The introduction of contactless and online payments will also prevail in public transportation means, cultural and state institutions, etc. Paper bills and tickets will continue to fade away.
Online checkouts will also make available payment methods more versatile. The desirable additions will include crypto wallets, fintech solutions enabling flexible payouts, as well as QR-code payments. More social media including messenger services will add in-built payment solutions to their functionality.
As for global economies, we hope mass vaccination will prove to be efficient and the need for partial lockdowns will cease by the end of the year. It’s still too early to speak of full recoveries for most countries, but many economies will gradually regain some stability in 2021.
At the same time, national governments may be bound to extend their additional support to businesses and individuals throughout the year. We’ll most probably see rising national and public debts in most countries. However, in our opinion, the debt-to-GDP ratio will remain sustainable at least in developed countries.