Disruptions

TIME Business reported in April 2016 that business travellers were increasingly using ride-hailing services like Uber or Lyft, and taking business away from traditional taxi companies and car rentals. They commented,

Ride-hailing services made up nearly half (46%) of all rides according to expense management company Certify, who reviewed more than 9 million receipts and expenses by corporate travellers. The number of trips taken with services like Uber and Lyft nearly doubled in 2016’s first quarter compared with the same period in 2015.

I see the same phenomenon happening in my country Singapore as ride-hailing services like Grab and Uber replacing traditional taxi companies and models. Imagine what would happen when autonomous cars (or driverless cars) are made more safe and commercially viable. Yes, thousands of cabbies will be out of job.

I see that many of today’s jobs (yes, even “stable” jobs) will be made obsolete in 20 years time by technology, artificial intelligence and robots. However many new jobs (i.e. jobs that don’t even exist now) will be created. For example, drones don’t exist 20 years ago but they do now. We used them for aerial photography, spying and etc. We have to employ people to fly drones and to learn how to control them. This is not to cause worry but we have to ask ourselves if we are ready for the future. More importantly, we have to make sure that our children are ready for the future.

20 years ago, my mother who worked as a cashier in a bank was retrenched from the bank because her job was replaced by the ATM machine. Life became harder for her but she managed to survive by giving private tuition. She developed an entrepreneur mindset and learnt new skills like Facebook. She learnt how to connect and share with people what she’s doing. I am so proud of her.

Nowadays, more people are shopping online as compared to 10 years ago. At this time of writing of this page, Amazon Prime has landed in Singapore. It caused such a big wave in my country as people can buy stuff online and get them delivered to their doorsteps within 2 hours! In 10 years time or less, I believe that e-commerce will replace at least 50% of retail shopping. According to market research firm Statisca,

Retail e-commerce sales in Indonesia alone totalled US$5.65 billion (S$7.92 billion) in 2016, up from US$4.61 billion in 2015

Statisca expects this to reach US$10.34 billion in 2019 for Indonesia.

If you are currently in the traditional retail business, what are you going to do to stay competitive, relevant and profitable? If you are an entrepreneur, what do you see? I like to hear from you and get your thoughts. You can comment below or drop me an email. Thanks!

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