Once again, Emergent Research’s Small Business Labs has released a list of small business trends for the new year 2016 (this year covering three broad trend areas rather than the top ten trends). Here’s a look at what’s coming in the next year and how it relates to small businesses across the country.

2016 Economic Trends

There are a couple of forecasts for 2016 set to impact small businesses.

  • US GDP growth will be moderate for 2016, in the 2.5 to 3 percent range.
  • Interest rates are expected to be raised only slightly (remaining low by historic standards).
  • Commodity prices (like oil) should remain low in 2016, which will positively or negatively impact small business performances, depending on whether the business’s particular sector is hurt or helped by these declines.

2016 Technology Trends

Technology trends have been impacting small businesses for years, and this year looks to be no different. What Emergent Research sees as most notable is the way the convergence of such technologies as mobile computing, cloud computing, and digital data and analytics is fundamentally changing how business is being conducted globally. Here are those tech areas that look to be particularly important for 2016.

  • Mobile payments/marketing: In 2016, two-thirds of American adults own a smartphone of some kind, which is making mobile very relevant, as it’s becoming the computing preference for many consumers.
  • Cybersecurity: Security concerns will continue to be emphasized in 2016 as a main point of focus for small businesses. Small business owners will need to take data privacy and cybersecurity very seriously or risk losing customers and/or enduring a potentially damaging attack.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) systems: The collection and analysis of customer information will continue grow in importance as small business realize the benefit of being able to connect with customers on a more targeted and intimate level.

Likewise, Emergent Research sees other tech trends as not having much impact whatsoever on the 2016 market. This includes such technology trends as virtual reality (VR), blockchain, and driverless cars and trucks.

2016 Political Trends

The most prominent political event impacting small businesses in 2016 is, not surprisingly, the presidential election. Small business issues in this realm include the following:

  • The debate over minimum wage is expected to continue.
  • Benefits for freelancers and part-time workers are expected to be a widely discussed topic.


King, Steve. Small Business Trends for 2016. Small Business Labs. 12/28/15. (1/8/16.)