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Business Trends to Watch Out for in 2023

Published December 9, 2022 (last updated on June 7, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Copywriter and Content Creator


The past few years have been impactful for businesses across the world. They have faced enormous challenges and struggled to stay afloat. What does 2023 hold for them? Let’s look at some of the key business trends for 2023.

E-commerce dominance

As countries locked down and businesses were forced to close, consumers relied on e-commerce. According to Shopify, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic 10 years of e-commerce growth happened in just 90 days.

Nearly 150 million people shopped online for the first time during the pandemic, and the number of online shoppers will continue to rise. E-commerce global retail sales will continue to grow over the next five years. If you think being a small business owner in a product category may not concern you, rethink. Competitors in product categories have started to compete in the e-commerce category. Legacy wholesalers, retail giants, and health and personal care suppliers are all expanding their digital presence.

In 2021, retail e-commerce sales amounted to approximately $5.2 trillion worldwide. This figure is expected to grow by 56% in the next four years, reaching $8.1 trillion by 2026.

Specific categories like electronics, home improvement, and furnishings have been able to main their post-pandemic growth.

Within e-commerce, mobile commerce also is a significant way to attract new customers. Most people check their mobile phones about 96 times a day, which equates to at least once every 10 minutes. Mobile commerce is also expected to account for 1 in 6 retail dollars in the US. Consumers access online shops, apps, and websites through their mobile phones. You can benefit exponentially by facilitating a streamlined and seamless e-commerce consumer experience.

These numbers indicate that small businesses can no longer afford to ignore e-commerce as a fad.

Social media

There are 4.74 billion global social media users as of October 2022, equating to 59.3% of the total population. Over 9 in 10 internet users use social media each month. Facebook remains the world’s most widely used social media platform, but six social media platforms claim one billion or more monthly active users.

Global sales concluded through social media (social commerce) was expected to reach $492 billion in 2021. It is expected to grow three times faster than traditional e-commerce, reaching $1.2 trillion by 2025.

This is good news for small businesses.

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Social commerce and small business

59% of social buyers surveyed were more likely to support small and medium-sized businesses through social commerce.

A further 63% said they were more likely to buy from the same seller again, showing the power of social commerce in creating loyalty and driving repeat purchases.

In 2023, we expect to see businesses go beyond traditional platforms and advertising to focus on building consumer communities. Companies with an authentic social media strategy will see an impact on their sales. An essential part of this strategy will be creating active participation with your brand and building that relationship. This could mean trying newer forms of advertising and marketing, like influencer marketing.

Social commerce is a natural progression of e-commerce, relying on social platforms and user experiences to drive sales. Some examples of social commerce would be Facebook Marketplace, Lyst, Groupon, and Instagram shopping. It creates an in-person marketplace digitally and offers a personal touch.

Sustainable business

There has been a cultural and societal shift towards sustainable products and services. 85% of consumers have said they shifted their purchasing behaviour towards being more sustainable in the past five years. One-third of millennials will choose a sustainable alternative when available. Millennials and Gen Z form a powerful part of the consumer system and continue to represent a large demographic share. Companies that don’t consider sustainability as a part of their core offering need to wake up before they start losing market share.

The relative importance of sustainability will continue to increase. 50% of consumers rank sustainability as a top five value driver. Companies that adopt ESG (environmental, social, and governance) will be able to attract consumers and improve their social capital.

ESG involves focusing on measures to lower pollution and CO2 output and reduce waste. It also consists of having a diverse and inclusive workforce.

The dairy, tourism, and organic foods industries in New Zealand have taken advantage of the clean green image of the country. Sustainability has been accepted as a mainstream business philosophy and increases the country’s economic productivity.

While small business owners have done remarkably well in supporting local communities, they struggle to understand sustainability and how to integrate it effectively. Business owners cite cost, management time, and knowledge and skills as the top barriers to adopting sustainability practices.

If you integrate sustainability within your business strategy in 2023, you can get a first-mover advantage and create trust among your consumers. Sustainability is also not just one of the business trends but an approach for business owners to integrate organically.

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Remote work

The number of people working from home tripled between 2019 and 2021 in the US. The remote working trend took off during the pandemic and is refusing to die for all businesses.

In recent months, we have seen employers and businesses try to bring back employees to the office. Employees are not so quick to change their minds. More than two-thirds of remote workers have said they would look for a new job if their company required them to work in-office full-time.  This trend will continue into 2023, with employees seeking flexibility and hybrid work arrangements. Remote working allows SMEs to expand globally. It is also perfect for the knowledge economy and businesses seeking to work with a global workforce.

Small business owners who can’t offer remote working should consider offering similar benefits- flexible work, autonomous work timings, and early start or finish times.

Diverse and inclusive workforces

Organizations that employ equal numbers of men and women and ethnic minorities perform better than those with a demographically homogenous employee base. While diversity may not be the only factor for that success, it plays an important role.

More women are being promoted or hired in leadership positions in New Zealand, but the situation looks dismal for Māori and Pacific People.

The changing demographics of New Zealand society have resulted in an aging workforce, an ethnically diverse workforce combined with declining fertility, and smaller younger cohorts.

Diverse workforces and teams are willing to innovate and have access to various perspectives and points of view. Diverse workforces are not just a trend but a mission and a goal that speaks of an inclusive society in New Zealand.  


Entrepreneurship means life-long learning and education. As a business owner, you must be updated about emerging trends, topics, and data in your industry. It will also consist of understanding your legal obligations as an employer.

The focus in 2023 is on specialized and hyper-focused education and learning. It is about working with experts in employment relations to understand your employer’s obligations.

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These business trends may give you an indication of what the market can look like in 2023. However, one can never be fully prepared unless they have all the right policies and processes in place.

Call our 24/7 Advice Line today to get all your questions answered.

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