The past 12 months were a rollercoaster, and whilst 2022 still carries uncertainty there is much to look forward to. We could yet see incredible growth, development, and change not only within the industry but also across our region, economy, and society. These are our predictions for the year ahead.
Sustainability will become even more important
The conversation around sustainability in the built environment certainly progressed in 2021, driven in part by the COP26 summit in Glasgow and the Climate Change debate it stimulated across all areas of our economy.
Yet, change was not limited to Glasgow. Individual behaviours have started to shift, and businesses and brands have committed to do better and provide greater transparency when it comes to sustainability.
As we enter 2022, we believe this is only the beginning. At Detail we have a long-standing commitment to sustainability and are hopeful that others within our industry will collectively join us as we seek to go even further to respond to the Climate Emergency.
The Commonwealth Games will put Birmingham on the map for all the right reasons
Diversity, competition, innovation – all things we connect with Birmingham, and the Commonwealth Games. This summer, the two will come together to put our city on a global stage. Competitors and visitors from across the world will descend on the West Midlands and are guaranteed a warm welcome.
This is a real opportunity for Birmingham to market itself internationally and attract investment over decades, as well as creating a long-term sporting legacy. Not to mention the economic benefits which will be felt by our hospitality and leisure industry, which has struggled during the pandemic.
More support for brownfield development
At Detail we know the importance of brownfield development. Re-developing and re-thinking urban space is fundamental to what we do.
Without question, there is already significant political support for brownfield regeneration. However, as we enter 2022 this will only grow as pressure on housing needs continues.
Indeed, official figures last year revealed that developing all the nation’s brownfield sites would deliver the government’s housing pledge eight times over and add almost £490bn worth of homes into a severely undersupplied market.
For the West Midlands in particular, the WMCA secured £33m from the Brownfield Housing Fund last year – a clear indication of this ambition with more to come.
Offices and city centres will have a resurgence as we emerge from the pandemic
In 2021 we caught a glimpse of what life would be like after the pandemic, prior to the Omicron variant. As workers began to come back to the office, we understood the benefits of sharing a work space – to culture, productivity, and work-life balance. However, even in 2021, office capacity was far from full.
As the Omicron wave abates and our national immunity grows ever stronger, offices and city centres will bounce back better than ever and thrive once again. However, this doesn’t mean business as usual.
We now know that employers must create attractive environments which encourage employees into the office, which enhance productivity, and inspire. However, we also predict strong growth in co-working spaces which can accommodate freelancers or small businesses tired of working from spare bedrooms.
Rising Inflation and increased energy bills may impact consumer spending
Household utility bills are expected to rise sharply from April, when the energy regulator, Ofgem, lifts its consumer price cap after surging wholesale gas and electricity costs. Rising energy prices and supply shortages have led to inflation climbing to its highest rate in nearly a decade. Further increases in prices are expected over the next few months, potentially leading to slower economic growth as consumers’ purchasing power erodes.
However, according to the latest PwC UK Economic Outlook UK GDP growth is expected to remain strong in 2022, at around 4.5-5.1%. PwC state three key factors that have the potential to pave the way for a consumer spending this year which include a strong labour market, combined with a large stock of excess savings, and a desire to move on from the pandemic.
Retail faces significant headwinds in 2022, as consumer spending is held back by rising inflation, increasing energy bills, and April’s national insurance hike.