Endemic economy: successes and failures
The first quarter of 2022 marked a 2021 holiday selling season that exceeded forecasts and revealed fundamental changes in the way we live, work and pay. From back-office functions such as accounting and treasury, to digital consumer-facing experiences, to new cross-border business-to-business (B2B) payment platforms, we are all rapidly adapting to another year of digital life – and discovering new successes and failures along the way.
In our Q1 eBook, we’ve gathered insights and insights from 52 thought leaders from different parts of the payments space to share what’s working and what needs improvement. The connected economy continued to dominate at the start of the year, with voice commerce making its way into cars and smart speakers into connected homes – and the rapid advance of a world where smartphones are the new remotes changing channels for our commercial tastes.
The triumphant rise of e-commerce in the first year of the pandemic was accompanied by an increase in cybercrime which continued in the first quarter of this year. Infuriatingly, it looks like this will persist – although recent downward trends in some types of fraud suggest new technologies are thwarting some of them.
Installment credit has widened its inroads over pure players as banks and others have rolled out their own buy now, pay later (BNPL) plans – a form of lending that has caught the eye legislators. Integrated, contextual and social commerce grabbed headlines in Q1 as more brands focused on catching where the fish are (social media), putting the right product or service right in social flow and creating new forms of engagement.
Cryptocurrencies have moved closer to mainstream status as more utilitarian use cases have begun to emerge. And in a related space, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) continued to generate a fair share of their own titles as consumers and businesses prepared for the metaverse.
Treasury and accounting automation keeps the pressure on eliminating legacy technologies and leveraging real-time data streams that make critical back-office tasks more accurate and efficient, while addressing the security challenges that pose work from home and hybrid work.
We’ve also spent more time uncovering data on the startling extent of paycheck-to-paycheck life in the United States, as well as companies innovating around this reality, from lease financing – purchase to strategically use personal loans for debt reduction and financial health.
Venture capital continues to invest in FinTechs that are rewiring the financial system with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, scouring oceans of data to make sub-second decisions on everything from loans automobiles to mortgages to financing in almost every vertical imaginable.
Healthcare innovation is also gaining momentum, with hospital-at-home concepts and new forms of financing giving patients the options they need for a tricky time of medical debt. We were still talking about the supply chain in the first quarter, and it is likely that we will be again in the fourth quarter.
The first quarter was marked by dizzying changes that show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. So much hinges on current events – from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to runaway inflation in the United States to the specter of another variant of COVID-19 keeping us in place – that it’s hard to say when we can all pause, take a deep breath, and stop glancing anxiously at a cloudy horizon.
But the past three months may have put us in a good position as we prepare for an uncertain future. As the payments industry veterans in this eBook note in their thoughts, clinging to the good and letting go of the bad – and never settling for “good enough” – can go a long way in helping businesses, consumers and the world at large to run a stable business. Classes.