Small Business Trends

Top 5 Small Business Trends for 2024

Staying updated on small business trends is crucial for small business owners to remain competitive and relevant in today’s fast-paced market. Trends offer valuable insights into evolving consumer preferences, technological advancements, and industry shifts, enabling businesses to adapt their strategies accordingly.

That’s why we compiled a list of key business trends for 2024 that are also expected to build momentum into 2025 and beyond.

  1. Community building
  2. Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  3. Cybersecurity
  4. Sustainability
  5. User-generated content (UGC)

Small business owners can adapt their products, services, and marketing strategies to align with emerging trends, ensuring they stay ahead of the curve and effectively meet evolving customer needs.

Community building

Customers are increasingly drawn to brands that have built a community because it fosters a sense of belonging and connection. In today’s digital age, where social media facilitates instant communication and interaction, consumers seek more than just transactions—they crave authentic relationships and meaningful engagement.

Building a community means not just pushing out information but also listening and creating opportunities for interactivity among like-minded organizations. Creating this type of dynamic isn’t just good for a brand—it’s also good for your customers1
– Hudson Hollister, HData

Brands that cultivate communities offer customers a platform to connect with like-minded individuals and provide opportunities for shared experiences, support, and empowerment. As a result, customers feel valued, heard, and emotionally invested in the brand, leading to stronger loyalty, advocacy, and, ultimately, sustained success for the business.

From Facebook groups to private messaging with apps like Geneva and WhatsApp, businesses are building digital (and occasionally in-person) gathering spaces so customers can be a part of the brand.

Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Generative AIis a type of artificial intelligence technology that broadly describes machine learning systems capable of generating text, images, code, or other types of content, often in response to a prompt entered by a user.2

While an estimated 11%3 of small businesses currently use Generative AI tools, that number is expected to steadily increase. In fact, a recent survey5 increase in data breaches from 2022 to 2023, it’s not a surprise that consumers are becoming increasingly more aware of the dangers online and, with that, increasingly more concerned with how companies they do business with use, store, and share their data.

According to a study by MAGNA Media Trials and Ketch, consumers consistently rank data privacy as their top ethical concern — and it’s the same across all age groups. In addition, the study found that:6

  • Most people are concerned about how their data is being gathered and used
  • People want personalized preference centers with clear and easy-to-understand privacy choices
  • Consumers will spend more with brands when they feel their data is safe
  • The biggest factor impacting brand trust is data retention

But cybersecurity isn’t just about how businesses use and store data; it’s also about how they respond in the event of a data breach.

As a part of PwC’s Consumer Intelligence Series, consumers were asked what their likely reaction would be if a company suffered an incident that affected their data security or privacy. While 27% said they would stop doing business with that company, “62% of consumers said they would either “wait and see” how the company responded or “seek” an alternative provider — and “seek” implies that they might still stay with a company that had failed them once.”7

Consumers aren’t looking for perfection, but they do want to see that a company is doing everything it can to respond and mitigate damage quickly. In fact, 44% of consumers call “transparency and quick action after a breach” important steps when it comes to building or rebuilding trust.”8 That’s where cyber insurance comes into play. It can help you spring into action and respond quickly in case of a breach or security incident


Nearly eight out of ten (78%9) consumers believe sustainability is important, and that sentiment has been spilling into consumer consumption patterns. If your business is moving toward sustainable practices, don’t be shy about it! And if you haven’t started – maybe now is the time to do so

“We’re fast approaching this tipping point where sustainability will be considered a baseline requirement for purchase, and companies should prepare now.” 10
– Harvard Business Review, 2023

The Harvard Business Review points to three factors that explain why sustainability is becoming a baseline requirement for purchases.11

  1. Trust drives behavior and, ultimately, business outcomes.
  2. Sustainability promotes trust, particularly among younger generations.
  3. Younger generations will soon have most of the purchasing power in the US.

Customers want to know that when they buy your products or services, they’re helping the environment. The best part – sustainable practices don’t have to break the bank. It could be going paperless, using recycled packaging, partnering with green suppliers, using renewable energy, or even just recycling.

User-generated content marketing

User-generated content marketing (UGC marketing) is original content created by real people, not actors. It’s not a polished commercial but an authentic review, experience, photo, testimonial, video, or the like that consumers can relate to.

Consumers are searching for authentic brands because they want to feel a deeper connection to the companies they support; and, according to 58% of consumers globally, user-generated content is the most authentic form of content.12

There are two types of UGC marketing: organic and paid. Organic UGC is content that your real-life customers share. While fees for influencers can cost tens of thousands of dollars, asking customers to share photos enjoying your product or service can cost next to nothing. Even the great Calvin Klein created a landing page just for UGC content.

On the other hand, paid UGC is where a brand compensates a creator for content. This form of UGC marketing is becoming increasingly popular, especially for newer brands that want to share this type of content but don’t have enough customers yet.13

In 2022, the user-generated content market size was valued at $4.4 billion. By 2030, it’s expected to grow to $34.59 billion.14 As more and more businesses lean into this new and authentic form of marketing, small businesses should ensure they aren’t left behind.

From community building to user-generated content, small business owners should jump on these emerging business trends to stay ahead of the competition and in the good graces of consumers.

  1. How To Build Engaged, Enthusiastic Communities For Your Tech Company (
  2. Generative AI Defined: How It Works, Benefits and Dangers (
  4.[/efn_note reveals two out of three small business owners plan to at least try Generative AI within the next 12 months.

    If you’re ready to try Generative AI, Chat GPT is a great (and free) place to start. Just remember to carefully review and edit any content produced by AI. It’s a great tool, but it’s not foolproof.


    Following a 20%4Why Data Breaches Spiked in 2023 (

  5. MAGNA-Ketch-UM The Person Behind the Data – US Consumer Research Study 2022 (1).pdf
  9. Research: Consumers’ Sustainability Demands Are Rising (
  10. Research: Consumers’ Sustainability Demands Are Rising (
  11. Survey Reveals How Consumers Really Judge Brand Authenticity (and Influencers) | Social Media Today