Trends in International Business 2020

Trends in international business are important to follow. They help your business react quickly to change to remain relevant, improve customer acquisition and retention, and save your company valuable time and money.

Here are a few of the trends experts anticipate for 2020 and why they’re important for international business.

Environmentally-Friendly Technologies

Local, state and federal governments continue to strengthen environmental measures. Going green now may help a business get ahead of the curve, and they may enjoy tax benefits when they adopt innovative techniques and processes now, instead of later.

Besides regulatory compliance, environmentally-friendly technologies can also lead to long-term savings. Increasing energy efficiency, minimizing waste, and adopting innovative software to streamline processes are all excellent methods to help a business reduce their environmental impact and spend less.

The growing concern for the environment has also led consumers and businesses to re-examine the products and services they buy. Fortunately, going green can help build trust, extend a company’s market base, make the company a more attractive option for employees and improve its standing in the community and business world.

Tailored Artificial Intelligence Platforms

Many companies already use AI or are considering it because it can improve business operations and customer service. Until recently, most companies could only afford to access AI through broad as-a-service platforms that required expensive custom engineering to meet a company’s specific needs.

In 2020, companies can expect to see a larger pool of providers other than the current tech giants. They’ll offer tailored services and applications for specialized or specific tasks, making AI available to SMEs too.

According to Adobe’s 2019 CIO Perspectives Survey, almost 80% of chief information officers at U.S. companies plan to increase the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in 2020.

IDC predicts 75% of enterprises will embed intelligent automation into technology and process development by 2022 and by 2024 AI will be integral to every part of their business.

Adoption of 5G

No company can afford to ignore mobile technology, and 5G is likely to be very popular as it delivers more speed, reduced latency and a smoother online experience.

Besides the obvious benefits to buyers, 5G can also improve teamwork and business agility. Early 5G adopters may have a distinct advantage over slower competitors.

Ericsson reports the uptake of 5G is happening more quickly than expected. They predict 5G networks will carry 35% of the global mobile traffic by 2024.

Broader Blockchain Application

Initially, blockchain technology supported Bitcoin. Today, it demonstrates many other uses for business due to its enhanced security and decentralized ownership.

In 2019, Gartner predicted “the business impact of the blockchain will be transformational across most industries within five to 10 years.” Banking, investment services, and retail are most likely to show interest, but McKinsey & Company suggests it could benefit any business.

For instance, blockchain can improve efficiency and secure smart contracts and transactions, regardless of the number of contracts or cross-border payments. It can also increase supply chain transparency and counteract theft and fraud. Gartner suggests blockchain will support the movement and tracking of $2T of goods and services annually by 2023.

Greater Need for Data Privacy & Protection

The growing threat of cybercrime makes the protection of data more important than ever. Companies must take proactive measures if they want to gain new clients, retain their existing client base and meet ever-increasing data privacy regulations.

In 2020, cloud and mobile security measures will take the forefront as business and consumer rely more heavily on off-site storage and mobile devices. Building consumer trust and effective customer relationship management remain paramount for business success.

Gig Economy Grows

The need for skilled workers in foreign countries increases as businesses expand globally. Luckily, according to a report issued by BCG Henderson Institute, gig platforms increase access to a variety of talent difficult to source through traditional labor markets. This is especially true in emerging countries where gig work has grown by more than 30%.

Those living in the region often have advanced skills and in-depth area knowledge. Many countries are focusing on a national workforce and impose legislative barriers on foreign workers. Hiring internally sidesteps this issue.

In 2020, expect to see more freelance and contract work as it often preferred by workers and business. Many people don’t want to commit to full-time employment and companies may want to test the waters before they commit to an employee.

Single-Firm Outsourcing

Most companies see the benefits of outsourcing many of their in-house functions such as payroll, accounting and HR. However, few have the time or inclination to juggle multiple companies. It makes lateral communication and reporting almost impossible.

As a result, in 2020 we can expect to see more companies turning to a single company to provide multiple services. They have one point of contact with their outsourcing partner and this company is responsible for performance and delivery. This leads to greater efficiency and transparency, quicker response times and more accountability.

A single-source model also offers cost savings as everything is executed by one company. This simplifies processes and often includes lower prices than if the company sources services from multiple companies. This allows the business to leverage better economies of scale, which can lower consumer end price.

Relying on a single provider for multiple services also provides a better employee and customer experience. The provider ensures consistency in all transactions and trains employees to use software properly. Business can tap into greater expertise and skill for specific tasks while devoting more time to company growth. Outsourced services can also scale with the business as it grows.


These are some of the trends affecting international business in 2020. If your company needs expert advice on expansion or a single-source for global payroll, accounting and reporting, statutory compliance, immigration support, recruitment and more, please contact us for a free consultation.

Blueback Global is your international business expansion expert. We’re well-positioned, highly-experienced, and can help you overcome the challenges these trends may present for your business.

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