I will list the most significant trends in many subjects for 2022. I think most articles share too much fluff; for instance, I read many articles mentioning that companies should be focusing on user experience and that users are fed up with bad ones. That is too generic.
I am listing the main areas, and for each of them, I am giving my objective review of what can happen in 2022.
Fintech - Crypto
Bitcoin and Ethereum will still be the primary talking stake. The media and social media will focus on which one will grow more and position better for the future.
People will still talk and have a buzz about NFTs, but if NFT cannot prove to be more practical or functional, there is a risk that NFT buzz will die down.
Big companies will try to invest more in crypto, but if the prices change a lot or it goes done, it will spook many corporations to invest in this asset.
Fintech - Payment
Payment fintech companies are the top dogs in the Fintech world. You can see Square, Stripe, Apple Pay, etc. There will be a lot of competition among them for new channels and finding new ways to insert themselves into e-commerce.
Fintech - Banking
New exclusive online banks are pushing the user experience to the next level. And the next level is gamification. 2020-2021 was the year for Robinhood, and many startups and fintech companies are trying to replicate the user experience to engage their users. Also, the newer generation is used to UX from gaming; from that perspective, it's a natural state to gamify everything.
Fintech - Trading, FX, etc.
Many companies are emulating what Robinhood popularized. The user experience with a big focus on gamification is where many Product Managers are trying to get. When you gamify your user experience, you employ the same tactics that in-app games are doing to entice and entertain the users. You should see a lot of trading apps being gamified.
Fintech - Lending and others.
Buy Now Pay Later exploded in 2021, but regulators and media are adding a not-so-nice spotlight into that area. As you know, LendUp, backed by many prominent VCs and companies such as Google, has to close its business due to misleading marketing. Then you have Affirm that is a behemoth in the BNPL space is buying a lot of its competitors from the market and expanding aggressively with the partnership with Amazon.
The BNPL will go to the next phase, mixing with payment and banking. However, remember that consumers are still required to pay the total amount of the products and services they owe; so lending companies may suffer if there is a change in the consumer's debt level.
From user experience, BNPL may be spreading to all types of products and services. For example, in countries like Brazil, people are already used to BNPL, and they can do that directly in the credit card machine.
Edutech - Overview
Even though Zoom is not an educational tool per se, it is very much used in the academic world. Teachers and students use zoom to deliver the classes. Unfortunately, COVID-19 created a ruptured in the educational world when classes are forced to move online. Moving classes online seems to hamper learning from students - the news is that many students cannot do math or readings for their respective age groups.
That's a big problem, and there is no clear path or solution for that. So how do you help the "covid students" to get back on track? Is it a problem with tools? Methodology? How do you get kindergarten students to engage with an online meeting?
Green and Cleantech - Overview
Tesla is a car company, but it has pushed the electric vehicle discussion into the front seat with its eye-popping stock growth. Now, everybody is jumping into the EV movement, and there is a strong trend that consumers will want to have an EV car due to climate change.
Talking about Climate Change, the weather worldwide is, unfortunately, getting more extreme, and we are starting to realize some of the consequences of neglecting that. The most apparent discussion is the change of energy matrix from fossil-based fuels to renewable energy. There is a big revolution in renewable energy with the decrease of cost of solar panels, but that led to another big problem; how to store that energy? Lithium battery is the current standard technology, and that substance will be the gold of 2022. Now, if someone comes up with other battery technology types, then Lithium may not be as hype as we expect.
From technology trends, the battery storage, implementation of cleantech into non-corporate / consumer will get a big push as people become more aware and willing to be more ecologically friendly. Still, it will take some time for people to understand that the more they consume, regardless of whether they change from a gas-powered car to an EV, the more carbon footprint they will have anyway.
The carbon credit market is growing from the business side, but it's not accessible for the consumer. So I wonder why there is no such thing yet.
Telecommunications - 5G
Companies will be pushing for more 5G. However, the new consumer application of 5G may only happen after 2022. New phones have 5G capabilities, but consumers may not use them yet. Many mobile companies have not implemented 5G, and consumers with older phones are stuck with 4G.
But when 5G arrives, it will change the web.
Internet or Web3 or Metaverse?
It's essential to understand that the concept of the new web or web3 is still happening. Facebook wants to rebrand itself as a metaverse or web3 company. Crypto world is also claiming to be web3. Marketing companies are starting to sprinkle web3 or meta-something into their materials.
There was some pattern between Web 1 and Web 2.0 when people started to talk about the new generation of internet services, products, and trends. The issue with web3 itself is that it's not well defined yet. The Crypto world claims that web3 represents the decentralized web by using blockchain. Companies like Meta claim that web3 is the metaverse where people can use 3D/VR world to engage their reality.
The issue for the Crypto side is the user experience. It's not easy for a layperson to start doing things in the crypto world. Also, there are many security and privacy issues that are unclear, or there are no clear solutions. Finally, I think the hardware is still not there to allow an easy VR experience for Metaverse people. Oculus Quest 2 has a price point and some user-friendly features, but something is still missing.
The web3 and metaverse are hot topics for 2022.
Virtual Reality - Overview
VR will be comingled in the metaverse discussion. I expect a new generation of Oculus to come out. Also, there will be more exciting games in that space.
It will still be a couple of steps away from e-commerce in VR. I think it's more like a chicken an egg. Is there a critical mass of consumers, or should there be enough products to attract the users?
E-Commerce - Overview
Central theme: Amazon keeps growing, and Shopify plays the role to represent anti-Amazon.
Advertising - Overview
The central theme is privacy, growth, revenues, and stocks.
Healthcare - Overview
Telemedicine was a big thing last year, and it will be bigger this year. Everything related to streamlining the consumer experience in the area will be tremendous, but the hidden gems are new services and products for doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals.
There are more subjects, and I wish to dive more into E-Comm, Advertising, and Healthcare, but I will do it later.