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Australian Business Trends: What to Expect in 2024 and Beyond

Stoke Consulting - Government Funding for Innovative Product | Management Consultants

Australia is a dynamic and diverse economy that faces many opportunities and challenges in the coming years. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the global trade landscape, accelerated the adoption of digital technologies, and heightened the awareness of environmental and social issues. How can Australian businesses adapt and thrive in this changing world? Here are some of the key megatrends that will impact Australia in the next 10-20 years, according to the CSIRO1.


More from less

The world is experiencing a growing demand for natural resources, such as food, water, energy, and minerals, driven by population growth and economic development. However, the supply of these resources is finite and subject to environmental and geopolitical constraints. This creates an efficiency crunch, where businesses need to produce more from less. To achieve this, businesses will need to invest in innovation, adopt new technologies, and improve their resource management. Some of the emerging technologies that can help businesses achieve more from less include:

  • Synthetic biology: This is the engineering of biological systems to create new products and processes. For example, synthetic biology can be used to create biofuels, bioplastics, and novel foods that reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and land use.
  • Renewable energy: Australia has abundant solar, wind, and hydro resources that can be harnessed to generate clean and cheap electricity. Renewable energy can also create new export opportunities, such as green hydrogen, which can be used as a fuel or feedstock for various industries.
  • Circular economy: This is the concept of designing products and systems that minimise waste and maximise resource efficiency. For example, circular economy practices can include recycling, repairing, reusing, remanufacturing, and sharing of goods and services.


Altered global and microbial ecosystems.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the interdependence and vulnerability of human and natural systems. The pandemic has also exposed the risks of emerging infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance, and bioterrorism. At the same time, human activities have altered the global and microbial ecosystems, affecting biodiversity, climate, and ecosystem services. To cope with these challenges, businesses will need to:

  • Enhance their resilience and preparedness for future shocks and disruptions, such as pandemics, natural disasters, cyberattacks, and geopolitical conflicts.
  • Leverage the opportunities and benefits of nature-based solutions, such as biotechnology, biosecurity, and bioeconomy, which can create new markets and value chains.


Emergent economies

The global economic landscape is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by the rise of emerging economies, especially in the Indo-Pacific region. These economies are becoming more influential and competitive in the global market, offering new opportunities and challenges for Australian businesses. To succeed in this environment, businesses will need to:

  • Adopt a holistic and systemic approach to managing environmental and social impacts, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, restoring natural habitats, and promoting social inclusion and diversity.
  • Diversify their export markets and supply chains and explore new trade agreements and partnerships with emerging economies.
  • Understand and adapt to the diverse and dynamic needs and preferences of the consumers and stakeholders in these markets, such as cultural, social, and environmental values.
  • Innovate and differentiate their products and services, and leverage their comparative advantages, such as quality, safety, and sustainability.


Forever young

Australia, like many other developed countries, is facing an ageing population, which has implications for the labour force, health care, and social security systems. However, ageing is not necessarily a burden, but rather an opportunity for businesses to tap into the potential and experience of older workers and consumers. To do this, businesses will need to:

  • Implement age-friendly and flexible work practices, such as remote work, lifelong learning, and mentoring, to attract and retain older workers and enhance their productivity and well-being.
  • Develop and market products and services that cater to the needs and aspirations of older consumers, such as health, leisure, travel, and education.
  • Collaborate and co-create with older consumers and stakeholders and involve them in the design and delivery of solutions.


On the move

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the patterns and modes of mobility and connectivity, both locally and globally. The pandemic has also accelerated the adoption of digital technologies, such as e-commerce, telehealth, and online education, which enable people to access goods and services remotely. However, physical mobility and connectivity will remain important for economic and social activities, especially as travel restrictions ease and borders reopen. To optimise their mobility and connectivity, businesses will need to:

  • Embrace the hybrid model of work and service delivery, which combines the benefits of online and offline interactions, and offers more flexibility and choice for workers and consumers.
  • Invest in and utilise the emerging technologies that enhance mobility and connectivity, such as autonomous vehicles, drones, smart cities, and 5G networks.
  • Balance the trade-offs and risks of mobility and connectivity, such as environmental impacts, cybersecurity, and privacy.


Data driven

Data is becoming the most valuable asset and resource in the digital economy, as it enables businesses to generate insights, create value, and gain competitive advantage. However, data also poses challenges and risks, such as data quality, security, privacy, and ethics. To harness the power of data, businesses will need to:

  • Develop and implement a data strategy that aligns with their business goals and objectives, and identifies the sources, types, and uses of data.
  • Build and maintain a data culture that fosters data literacy, skills, and capabilities across the organisation, and encourages data-driven decision making and innovation.
  • Establish and adhere to a data governance framework that ensures data quality, security, privacy, and ethics, and complies with the relevant laws and regulations.



These are some of the key megatrends that will shape the future of Australian business in the next 10-20 years. These megatrends are not deterministic or prescriptive, but rather indicative and exploratory, as they are subject to uncertainties and variations. However, they provide a useful lens to scan the external environment, identify the opportunities and challenges, and plan for the future. By understanding and responding to these megatrends, Australian businesses can position themselves for success and sustainability in the changing world.


If you are a senior manager and know of people in your organisation who could do with some help with the above, contact Stoke Consulting to find out how we can help via team@stokeconsulting.com.au


Phil Nagle
Stoke Consulting

Philip moved into General Management via domestic and international project and operations management. Heavy manufacturing, construction, distribution and wholesale, SME, energy, rail and healthcare are all areas where Philip has consulted to design & implement projects, improve business processes and develop people.