Updown An array of demographic and social trends will reshape the business landscape during the next 10 years, but a post-recession economic paradox could create the biggest waves of all for corporate America.

That's the word from Intuit and Emergent Research, which have teamed up to release “Intuit 2020: Twenty Trends That Will Shape The Next Decade.” Nearly one-third of those trends focus on the paradox of an economy that will “adjust for both abundance and scarcity.”

“Digital information and products will continue to take advantage of economies of scale — faster, cheaper better,” said Emergent Research's Steve King. “Digital things will get cheaper, but at the same time things made of atoms — commodities, energy, even our supply chain, which is mostly made up of physical resources — will in some cases become more scarce, more expensive, and we'll even see shortages.

“As a business person, you're going to have to understand the role physical goods play in your product mix versus the role digital goods play. Because of that, you're going to see very different rates of inflation — high inflation in some sectors, very low inflation or even deflation in others. That adds a lot of complication to the business planning we'll face in the next decade.”

Here's what the “Intuit 2020” report says about the coming economic trends in its entirety:

10. Industrializing countries emerge as the new engine for global growth.
More than 1 billion new middle-class consumers will fuel global consumer spending, driven by the developing world. Successful businesses will have to adjust their products and services to meet the needs of these new global, middle-class consumers.

11. You no longer need cash to start a business.
Starting a small business will be easier — and more affordable than ever. The cost of starting and running a small or personal business will continue to decline as smaller, lighter and smarter components and manufacturing methods emerge.

12. Sustainability becomes a competitive requirement.
Sustainability will move from social novelty to business necessity. The return of economic growth will renew pressure on resource supplies and prices, with regulation, taxes and other efforts to reduct carbon footprints adding to these pressures.

13. Health and wellness spending soar.
Health and wellness will become the world's largest industry, accounting for global consumers' single-largest expenditure. Multiple factors will drive the trend, including rising costs as a result of aging, health-intensive populations; increasing pollution problems worldwide; rising levels of chronic diseases among the young; expanding use of expensive, high-tech health equipment, services and pharmaceuticals; and a growing consumer focus on wellness.

14. Work shifts from full-time to part-time agent employment.
Traditional employment will no longer be the norm, replaced by contingent workers such as freelancers and part-time workers. The long-term trend of hiring contingent workers will continue to accelerate, with more than 80 percent of large corporations planning to substantially increase their use of a flexible workforce.

15. Niche markets flourish in the new economy.
Consumers will demand unique, niche products and services and businesses will have the means to deliver them driven in part by the vast reach of the Internet and low-cost tools and materials. Availability of niche products will be accessible anytime, anywhere due to the expansive reach of the Internet and social media.

Is it possible something good will rise from the ashes of this god-forsaken recession? Time will tell.

Whatever happens, it's bound to be different.

Let us know what you think, then listen to what Emergent Research's Steve King has to say in this MACPA video interview:

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

Update my browser now