Tracking the changing landscape of start-up sectors
Rushika Bhatia
10X Industry

Tracking the changing landscape of start-up sectors

Trends, statistics and expert opinion – here’s a round-up of everything you need to know to navigate your SME across the 3 top sectors – brought you by SME10X in partnership with UPS.

1. Construction


Higher oil prices and increased government spending on infrastructure will favour the construction sector in 2020 proving to be a great opportunities for businesses operating in this landscape.


- Public-Private Partnerships will continue to play a major role in the development of sector.

- Rising awareness around the safety of workers will push more construction firms to intensify their onsite safety procedures. Employee wellbeing would be taken more seriously as firms will face greater scrutiny than ever before.


- In order to stay afloat and profitable, businesses will shift their focus to creating quality projects that boost the bottom line.

- Rising labour and material costs will see the overall cost of construction skyrocketing.

Expert opinion:

“Technological advancements in the construction industry aren’t limited to just software. Drone usage is becoming increasingly popular with construction companies as the technology advances and becomes more affordable. Drones, sometimes referred to as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s), are useful on construction sites for surveying the job site and ensuring workers are kept out of potentially dangerous situations. Drone usage is increasing safety, accuracy, and efficiency on the job site and has the additional benefit of gathering information for survey data. Not only is the technology itself getting upgraded, but there are also starting to be more options available. These options give contractors the ability to get drones and other construction technologies at reasonable prices with features bespoke to their needs. Technological advancements and integrations are a rising construction industry trend that will definitely carry over into 2020.” - ESUB

2. Manufacturing

Overview: As one of the most traditional sectors, Manufacturing will continue going from strength to strength in the New Year. Manufacturers will have to invest in hiring and retaining talent as part of their agenda. When interviewing new candidates, their technology-savviness should be a key deciding factor. Focusing on diversity in expertise when hiring will ultimately drive growth in the long-term.


- IoT will unleash new possibilities in terms of production and technological capabilities. This will improve efficiency, accuracy and productivity.

- Going green will be on the top of every manufacturer’s agenda as sustainable practices moves towards centre stage.


- Labour shortage will continue to be a primary roadblock across major industrial units.

- Rising costs will hamper growth and reduce profitability.

- Brexit and other political uncertainties have impacted the growth of this sector and experts suggest that it will take more time before it fully recovers.

Expert opinion: “The importance of cybersecurity in manufacturing cannot be overstated. More and more connected devices are being integrated into organizational processes each day, so it almost goes without saying that the manufacturing industry needs to develop a keen understanding of how to best deal with them.

As the industry becomes more connected with time, equipment manufacturers and their customers will be impacted in a number of ways. For example, even the simple act of charging a mobile device in a nearby USB port may lead to dire consequences. As a result, companies must be diligent in their efforts to educate employees on the potential consequences of their cyber activities. The ability for a manufacturer to effectively protect itself today hinges upon its willingness to take the following two key steps: address organizational concerns and implement a clear and effective cybersecurity strategy.” - AEM

3. Retail

Overview: The retail sector has been undergoing an interesting transformation with the advancement of technology. Consumers are more informed than ever before; retailers will no longer compete on the basis of cost, but rather on the basis of the shopping experience they are able to provide.


- Retailers that invest in improving their in-store experiences will hugely benefit as customers demand more interactive service.

- Product quality and transparency will be two pre-requisites for every business operating in the retail space.

- As customers switch to mobile payments, retailers will need to ensure they have the right mechanisms in place to enable this.


- Retailers with physical stores will find themselves competing with their online counterparts, as consumers opt for the convenience of e-shopping.

- As customers get accustomed to the old tactics of personalisation, retailers will need to up their game by finding innovative ways to keep their loyal customer base satisfied. Personalised e-mails or surprise birthday vouchers will no longer suffice; companies will have to find new ways to engage customers.

- The cost of managing physical stores is escalating, forcing retailers to reconsider their business models.

Expert opinion:

“While e-commerce may have brought a revolution with online shopping, when it comes to high involvement, big-ticket items, consumers across the world still prefer assisted in-store experience apart from touch and feel before making purchases. Brands and retailers are rightly making use of this opportunity by offering customers an engaging and educative experience in-stores for an assured and informed buying decision. This is driving small to big brands focussing on physical retail as their flagship channel, including investments in experience centres. The trend is evident with global brands like IKEA setting up experiences centers for customers not only to enable touch and feel but to also provide a more inclusive purchase experience.” – ET Retail