The world has become more digital than ever before, and this trend is expected to grow even more in 2022.
During the pandemic, according to recent studies, 90 percent of North Americans felt the internet was vital to their day-to-day routine. Indeed, simple daily tasks like grocery shopping, communicating with family, and even conducting business have been significantly impacted by the reliance on digital media. The pandemic simply sparked and accelerated digital adoption, with the consequences of which expected to reverberate throughout many industries for years to come.
The most significant brand successes and defeats will not be earned or lost through traditional commercial and media outlets. They’ll take place on TikTok, Instagram, Esports, and even smart speakers and virtual assistants, among other platforms. Consumers’ most trusted suggestions will not come from celebrities on infomercials. They’ll come from a nano-influencer and will appear on stories, reels, and short videos.
The most astute companies, organizations, and users will traverse 2022 with a “digital first” mindset, focusing on monitoring and engaging these following major digital trends.
Users spend more money on digital the more time they spend on it. Prior to the pandemic, person-to-person payments had shown potential development, and COVID-19 sparked and accelerated this trend.
According to recent reports, PayPal volume payment growth reached a record 31 percent in 2020, and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. PayPal anticipates a similar growth of over 30 percent in 2021. Not just PayPal, but the emergence of other services such as Venmo and Zelle is causing payments and social media to converge. Zelle handled almost $130 billion on over 450 million transactions in the third quarter of 2021.
From business transactions to reimbursing a friend after a night out for drinks, major corporations, small companies, and everyday users are increasingly relying on digital payments.
The online gambling industry, or iGaming, is one of the fastest growing markets in Canada, especially after some provinces passed new legislation that regulates the industry.
This growth was significantly accelerated with the COVID-19 pandemic; as people had to resort to online operators to keep the action going due to land-based casinos and gambling facilities being shut down to comply with new health protocols in place. With these legislation developments, and also technology advancements in recent years, foreign operators such as STS Casino are currently expanding their operations into Canadian markets, leading to a whole new landscape in the gambling industry.
Therefore, this increasingly competitive market has led specialists to estimate the Canadian gambling markets to reach an astounding $4.6 billion by 2030.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Before the pandemic, virtual and augmented reality were already an emerging trend in the online world, but quarantine, lockdowns, remote work, and the prolonged limbo between pre and post-pandemic life significantly increased the adoption of these technologies.
The parent company of Facebook, the world’s largest social network, was recently rebranded to Meta, which is the abbreviation for metaverse, a virtual environment where users can socialize, work, and play. In early December 2021, Meta released Horizon Worlds, a free app for socializing in virtual reality, available to users in the United States and Canada.
The notion of the metaverse is not new, nor is it exclusive to Facebook and Meta. In March 2021, Microsoft launched Mesh, a new mixed-reality technology that lets users in different places collaborate and share experiences across multiple devices.
However, trends in VR and AR transcend Big Tech companies. AR was adopted years ago by consumer companies such as Sephora, to make online shopping more immersive and efficient. Nevertheless, Facebook’s big venture into the metaverse might give it the final push it needed.
TikTok’s popularity skyrocketed throughout the pandemic. The platform achieved 315 million downloads in the first quarter of 2020, more than any other app in history, but whether TikTok continues its supremacy in the micro-video market is yet to be seen.
A few years ago, Instagram eclipsed Snapchat with the “stories” feature, so the same thing is expected with the “reels” feature and TikTok. Early indicators are encouraging, and according to 87 percent of generation Z TikTok users, “Reels” is quite similar to TikTok. Additionally, “Reels” also get 22 percent more interaction than typical video content.
Brands who are able to capitalize on this emerging trend – and its algorithmically favored format – are expected to record significant growth in 2022.