A decade has come to an end. Nevertheless, every end signals a new beginning and nowhere is this truer than in business. Every year brings new business ideas, economic fluctuations, and emerging trends. However, these aspects are even more pronounced when we begin to look at new decades. The patterns we discussed in 2010 are wildly different from the things which are on the table today. So, what business trends can we expect in Atlanta’s market for 2020 and even beyond? Take a look at our insights below. 

Small Business Hiring is Beating Out the Larger Players

It is never easy to hire and retain good people. However, data by Glassdoor seems to show that small businesses are having an easier time of it than one would think. Larger companies are posting fewer positions, while small businesses are more rapidly hiring new talent in Atlanta. This trend can indicate two encouraging things for small businesses in this city:

  1. They are in an economic position to recruit new talent.
  2. Small businesses are gaining more access to high-caliber candidates that may have only gone with larger companies if given a chance.

As 2020 progresses, and if this trend keeps up, small businesses may be able to be in a better position to compete with larger players in Georgia’s capital city.

business trendsAtlanta Will Continue to Grow in Prominence as a Fintech Hub

Over the past decade, Metro Atlanta has quietly been growing as the country’s most profitable hub for the financial technology sector (fintech). This reputation was further solidified in 2019 as three key mergers and acquisitions took place that boosted the strategic standing of key Atlanta fintech companies:

  • Fiserv’s $22 billion acquisition of First Data.
  • Fidelity National Information Services deal with Worldpay for $43 billion
  • Global Payments and TSYS’s $21.5 billion merger

Each of these companies gained new features and solutions to offer enhanced services to customers. 

As of 2019, there are 120 fintech companies (when compared with 90 in 2016). These events almost ensure that Atlanta will grow as the U.S. gatekeeper of digital payments and transactions in 2020 and even beyond. Atlanta will continue to lead the way in the electrification of payments, and play a significant role in the economic standing of the country.

The Continued Rise of CBD

From cocktails to kombucha, CBD is the new “popular ingredient” for many of Atlanta’s restaurants and health stores. Last year, revenue attributed to CBD topped $1 billion. Many cite the substance’s health benefits as a reason for its popularity. 

The federal 2018 Farm Bill opened the door for CBD oil to be developed and sold throughout the country. In Georgia, Mayor Kemp recently made it easier for companies to begin producing the substance and selling it as a form of commerce, whether the substance can lawfully be added to food and drink is still being discussed

While some are questioning the safety of CBD, its distinction from marijuana has loosened the public’s opinion of it, which has allowed companies to jump in to monetize it. 

Many small businesses and pop-up shops are opening around Metro Atlanta that have populations that embrace CBD. Even the parent company of Edible Arrangements, Edible Brands, is planning to build a hemp store in 2020. If the laws become clearer regarding how CBD can be used, it will continue to be a hot commodity going into the 2020s.

Look for Radical Changes in Traditional Real Estate

business trendsThere will always be a need for single and multi-family housing, but rising rents and housing payments are making way for new living options. According to the Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2020 report conducted by The Urban Institute and PwC, Atlanta was recognized as a top overall real estate prospect in 2020.

This acknowledgment confirms that interest in Atlanta’s real estate market has grown over the decade. However, along with it, the cost of living has also increased. Some savvy companies are looking to address the trend by venturing into offering co-living spaces. Co-living has already popped up on Auburn Avenue, and a couple of other spots in the city. 

However, this trend is getting a significant boost this year. The property management company, Common and Atlanta-based developer Domos, will use 2020 to build a $50 million 345-bed co-living space in the Grant Park area.

The goal is to provide affordable housing and allow individuals to pay only for a room in a fully-furnished apartment. Moves like this could have long-term ramifications on the urban center of Atlanta as more young professionals and middle-income individuals could afford to live where they work, potentially reducing traffic and creating more options for hiring for in-town companies. This development, along with PadSplit’s continued work in this sphere, could turn Atlanta into a progressive model for handling housing affordability.

Final Thoughts

These business trends will likely move beyond 2020 to impact the city of Atlanta well into the next decade. It is no secret that the issues related to the business developments above are those that profoundly matter to consumers: employment, technology, health, and housing. As we progress further into the next decade, Atlanta small businesses who can recognize pivotal trends and develop the agility to address them will win in their sectors and with their customers.  


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This has been a JBF Business Media production.

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