The first quarter of 2023 has yet to close, but several major business stories are already in the making. Besides the continuing meltdown of the cryptocurrency market, there are other changes that could impact the entire economy before the year is complete. Here are the top stories.
The Cryptocurrency Market is Facing Chaos
After a major exchange filed for bankruptcy in late 2022, the entire crypto segment went into freefall mode, with the top coins losing as much as 40% of their total value within a few days. Far from being just another of the industry's many whipsaw swings, the latest drop has a few unique aspects that could spell major trouble for the industry. While there are many things to know about Bitcoin trading and other cryptos that can be positive, for the first time since 2010, when cryptocurrency was in its infancy, major institutional and individual investors are questioning the concept's long-term stability.
Supply Chain Crisis Hits Fleets Hard
The ongoing logistics backlog, which has been a global problem for nearly two years with no end in sight, has had a widespread impact on fleet managers. Companies that employ experienced vehicle fleet supervisors have a built-in advantage over the competition. One reason tenured managers are in such high demand is their ability to do end-runs around supply chain snafus. They make sure that every driver has a firm understanding of payload capacity on every trip.
Overloading a vehicle creates safety, operating, and legal problems for transport firms. Loads that are too weighty can quickly decrease braking distance by putting undue stress on the vehicle's suspension system. Supervisors and company owners need to learn all the details about these vital topics so they can educate drivers about best practices. Fortunately, it's easy to find the necessary information about how to figure out payload capacity, understand basic payload principles, and acquire knowledge about the critical differences between payload and towing capacity.
Retail Securities Trading is Going Robotic
Robo-trading has been around for almost a decade, at least for well-heeled investors and institutional traders who could afford the programming fees and other related expenses. But in the past few years, technology has advanced to the point where anyone can get into the game and use automated trading systems daily. In the massive forex sector, for instance, millions of independent traders take advantage of robotic systems offered by brokers or create customized bots for their own purposes. Anyone with a modicum of programming or coding skills can build robots, test them on a brokerage platform, and begin live buying and selling in the market of their choice.
Online Education Could Become the Norm
After a slow start in 2010, some of the major colleges and universities made long-term commitments to online education. Those efforts paid off, but the COVID pandemic of 2020 pushed the entire concept into high gear. While large numbers of college, high school, and grade school students were forced to remain at home for more than a year, online education entered a golden age.
Now that the pandemic is coming to a halt, educators know that online learning is not as complex or challenging as they once believed. In fact, community colleges, universities, and four-year institutions everywhere are beginning to offer full-scale degree programs via a computer connection. By the end of the decade, in-person schooling could become the exception instead of the default method of learning.
Delivery and E-Shopping are the Two Hottest Trends
After the COVID pandemic hit in early 2000, the store-to-home delivery niche exploded. Millions of people were essentially confined to their homes, most restaurants were closed, and the only way to dine out was to order food from a grocery store or eatery that was operating in delivery-only mode. But when the threat abated, and most of the commercial world returned to normal, huge numbers of consumers continued to order food and other goods from websites, food delivery apps, and by phone for home delivery.
A closely related phenomenon is online shopping, in which customers place orders via a shopping cart and await mail or courier delivery. The big difference is that online shopping has been around for more than 25 years and has steadily built-up a following. For 2023, look for both forms of commerce to grow even more as consumers become comfortable placing online and phone orders for household goods, groceries, fast food, and hundreds of other products and services.
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