2022 Trends for Small Businesses

Business news and opinion

26 November 2021

With the new year coming up fast, it’s important to prepare for any challenges or changes that may be coming in the year ahead. While no one can predict the future, keeping an eye on emerging trends or events can help you plan in advance.

Take a look at what we’re expecting from 2022 and how it may impact your small business in the coming year:

Changing It Up (Packaging, Browsers and Brexit, oh my!):

Going Green –

2021 is ending strong with COP26 and green business on everyone’s mind. While customers buy with a conscience and continue to look for businesses with sustainability in mind, the government is also pushing businesses to make a change. Next year, a “new tax that will apply to plastic packaging manufactured in, or imported into the UK, that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic” will be implemented by the UK Government starting from 1 April. Find out more about the new measures here.

While that change is government mandated, the change to greener policies will also be pushed by consumer trends. Mintel’s 2022 Global Consumer trends report states that ‘consumers are looking to brands to help them mitigate their impact on the environment.’ In 2022, if you have a way to make your business greener, it may be a great time to make those changes and let your customers know about it.

Preparing for a Cookie Changes –

In 2023 Google will be preparing to end the use of 3rd party cookies on their Chrome browser.  Firefox and Safari have already made this change, but with Chrome being one of the most-widely used browsers, this will have a big effect on advertising features such as retargeting. When 3rd party cookies are removed, you may find that your Google and social media ads aren’t as effective as they were previously.

Throughout 2022, keep an eye out for Google’s new Privacy Sandbox initiatives that may give alternatives to the 3rd party cookies. In 2022, building up your knowledge of your current customer base will become more important than ever, as you’ll likely rely on that information to retarget in the cookieless future.

Financial Updates

If you employ anyone, it’s important to know that the national minimum wage will be rising in April of 2022. HMRC is also introducing a new Tax Penalty System that will gradually take effect starting in April 2022. You can read our guide to these changes here. While managing financial changes might not be the most exciting part of your business, it’s important to make sure you stay on top of all the requirements.

Brexit Timetable

The ongoing implementation of Brexit measures will go on well into 2022, so it is important to keep on top of any changes and their deadlines. In particular, there are new border control measures coming in on 1 January 2022 and 1 July 2022, the full details of which are available on the UK Government site, located here. If your business requires any imports or exports from the EU, this could have a big impact on your supply chain costs, so be sure to prepare in advance.

Business (Not as Usual):

Employee Expectations – 

With the change in working styles that the pandemic forced, many people are now more accustomed to non-traditional ways of working. The BBC mentions that about 9 in 10 jobseekers are looking for a flexible work experience but that job adverts aren’t keeping pace with that interest. If you’re hoping to hire top talent, meeting employee expectations around new ways of working may help attract them to your business.

The Hierarchy is dead –

A Forbes article on 2022 business trends asserts that businesses may move away from a rigid hierarchy, becoming flatter in a bid to be more agile with decision making. The events of 2020 showed the need for adaptability in business and for some a new flat structure may be the best way to achieve that. Ultimately there’s no one right way to structure a company and while a flatter agile structure may work for some, a more traditional structure may be best for others. The real take away is that if you plan to grow, it is important to grow with intent and with a structure in mind as you begin to hire.

Consumer Trends:


With such a huge global shake-up, there’s some results of the pandemic that are anticipated to stick around. First, the use of contactless payments rapidly expanded in 2020 and it’s expected that there will be even more innovation in the cashless society sphere. Payments Journal says that this cashless push creates a better customer experience so if you haven’t gone contactless yet, now may be the time to look.

Many are calling for outdoor dining to remain in a post-pandemic world as well. If there’s a way to connect your business to outdoor spaces or help other businesses improve their outdoor spaces, there may be a market for that in 2022.

Free Delivery

The Influencer Marketing Hub released some statistics that heavily favour the idea of free shipping:

  • 90% of consumers say they would shop online more often if given the option of free shipping.
  • 24% of consumers admit they would spend more to qualify for free shipping.
  • Companies with free shipping have a 20% higher conversion rate than those without this option.

If it is possible to work the cost of shipping into your product pricing rather than adding it as a separate cost, that may convert more customers as they won’t think of it as an additional cost. If you want to go the route of spending a certain amount in order to qualify for free shipping, just make sure that the qualifying cost is one that makes sense with your product. For example, if you sell facemasks for £5, a spend threshold of £100 to get free shipping may be too high as a customer is unlikely to want 20 face masks.

Digital Trends –

Unsurprisingly, shopping online has increased over the last few years but a trend that is anticipated in 2022 is for shopping directly through social media to increase. While having a social media presence has always been important, now learning how to put your stock into an Instagram or Facebook store may become important for businesses of all size as well. For many customers, it will also be important that they can manage any questions or issues regarding products through social media, so finding a way to manager customer service on socials should be a priority heading into 2022.

When it comes to digital content, Social Media Today suggest that businesses try to utilise video more. For those who are short on time, the idea of having to make video content may be daunting but luckily, they also suggest using more user generated content in 2022 as well. Ideally, you can get customers to make video content that you can share or repost, that way it’s possible to get in on the video trends but not add anymore to your plate!

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