Friday, November 16, 2018

2019 Trendcast… Grab Hold of the Change

Mark Kooyman
6 min readSep 25, 2019

Significant Changes Ahead…

Each year I issue the EXPERIENCE Trendcast in advance of January 1st.

The trends get posted on our blog and I expand upon each trend in a PowerPoint presentation. And each year I have the pleasure of showcasing the trends in front of business leadership.

Right now the media and news editors are going crazy with futuristic forecasts post-election. And the media flurry has been further sparked by a fixation on Amazon and its announcements.

Just as corporate and entrepreneurial America often dwells in its own market bubbles, the media does the same.

Here is a snapshot of the 2019 trends … actually the first seven of them!

Kids R Us

About three weeks ago, the U.S. Census Bureau released its new 2019 statistics. While the socio-economics stats were interesting, I was shocked by the size of “kids age 0–4” — a direct age match with what is being termed “Generation Alpha.”

The size of Generation Alpha is estimated to hit 20 million in 2019. This is the first wave of what the Millennials are birthing.

The top of the Millennial “bell-curve” in 2019 will be turning 31 years of age and about half are married and about half are still single. The Millennials span a 15 year spread and so what we are seeing with kids is really only the start of Generation Alpha’s “bell-curve.”

When Millennials solely occupied the group of “kids age 0–4” back in 1983, they topped out at just over 17 million in size.

This trend is going to rattle many, many models of certainty.

If you have money invested in social media, you might want to join the wave of others thinking there might just be better opportunity elsewhere.

And if you think that Toys R Us is an indicator that retail toy stores are part of history, you might want to grab a Red Bull and wake up.

The Family Forum has evolved into the Family Force and Kids R Us is the new Millennial bumper sticker.

And as much as the current Washington administration believes it is the sole stimulus of economic prosperity, Millennial families forming those homesteads are a major force too!

The First Wave of Millennials Turn 40

Back in the 1980s NBC had a hit drama show called “30-Something.”

Last night I watched a new commercial for a hotel brand that featured a bunch of Millennials gathering around a corporate conference table that was a mimic of “30-Something.”

Many of the groups I work with continue to perceive Millennials as college kids. Sad to say, but these groups include corporate leadership, community change-makers, entrepreneurs and politicians.

If you believe that intown luxury apartments, social media, digital apps, retail websites and view anytime-anywhere-alternative to cable are the ventures to invest in… you better have some back-up financial sources.

Just as much of an impact kids will make in 2019, so too will the aging of Millennials and their passage into their next lifestage.

Owning homes, having kids, sporting professions and engaging in long-term investment planning is creating a new market paradigm.

Brands Reaching Market Maturity

Sears, Nine West, Teavana and Toys R Us… may they rest in peace.

Kroger, Subway, Target, Ann Taylor, Gap, Banana Republic, Sam’s Club… those respirators can only provide support just so long.

Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon… join the Baby Boomers as they face lifecycle maturity in 2019 and beyond.

There’s nothing wrong with brands that embrace a generational group. But brands that do so, must realize that the group they embrace will age and change.

Economics and accounting were both courses required in my MBA graduate study. I found both to be far less engaging than broadcast creative and even American history. BUT… what I learned in both courses still remain engraved in my headset.

We will see more of what many consider to be brand icons, mature and decline in 2019.

Certainly brands that still believe that Millennial youth is infinite and the Jetsons and technology is futuristic truth.

The Rise of Alternative Brands

This past week the Wall Street Journal reported that venture capital investments is at an all-time high. And more money is being channeled to niche-targeted, regional and specialized ventures vs. large, mass-market concepts.

Out are generational brands… in are personally-engaging and emotionally-driven brands where audience groups transcend beyond lifestage and embrace a sense of shared-common ground with others who may not match what they see in the mirror.

“Hands on,” “regionally rooted,” “personally crafted,” “micro & local,” “authentic and real,” “socially responsible” “cause-anchored” … these are brand platforms that drive not only consumer brands, but also B2B and tech brands.

“High Tech — High Touch” is a proven market state, so too is the balance of “Macro — Micro.”

Digital Integration

Radio stations will go away with the advent of satellite radio. Television networks will die with the launch of YouTube… and then next with Netflix… and then next with Sling TV. Newspapers are history.

In 2018, EXPERIENCE has been brought in as a business partner with the Chicago Sun-Times. It’s been a blast of fun … and also a rich learning experience.

I hope that we continue working with the Sun-Times in the next few years ahead.

The biggest insight to-date, as least for me, is that vast majority of individuals interact with the newspaper across a multiple mix of platforms versus the sole use of one form or another.

The myth long held by many is that the audience groups access the newspaper in its digital format are a completely different mix than those accessing the newspaper in its print format.

Just as a newspaper sports a multi-platform audience, so too are those who access the retail digital spectrum.

A story on Digital Commerce 360 reports that Walmart saw a 40% increase in its digital sales that in turn, drove Walmart’s overall sales to post a 4.5% increase in overall sales.

However, further buried in the story is that the customers shopping online are, for the most part, the same customers shopping instore.

In some ways it’s like the prodigal son parable… In 2019, more and more digital strategy will be integrated back into overall brand strategy.

Okay… back to the Trendcast of the people!

GenXer Career Changes

While the economy will be challenged some in 2019, the pace of Millennial family-driven progress is not likely to stop any soon!

Unemployment will remain low and the those employed will garner a sense of job security.

At the same time, the Millennials who drew attention of marketers and new ventures away from GenXers, will exercise the power of presence and size among their GenXer co-employees.

Trust me. GenXers have a lot of built up frustration in being left behind by divorced parents and pushed aside by Millennial co-workers.

In 2018, we have had the pleasure to work with a multiple number of business-centric network and community groups.

When we have profiled out entrepreneurs in particular, GenXers dominate the pack. GenXers, for the most part, fostered the Zoomers and the leading-edge of the Zoomers are now taking hold of the college campuses.

In 2018, get ready to witness more and more GenXers now in their mid-40s to 50s leave the conventional workplace and start up new ventures. Franchise brands should pay attention. Banks and financial institutions too.

Boomers on a Budget

A share of Baby Boomers is blessed with a corporate pension or retirement plan. Another share of Baby Boomers was smart to field money to an IRA or Keogh Fund.

But, more than half of Baby Boomers saved little for retirement and are now coming face-to-face with a hard fact reality. The nice lifestyle of their early empty-nest years is non-sustainable.

As published by the Wall Street Journal, “Only 55% of Baby Boomers have some retirement savings and, of those, 42% have less than $100,000. Thus, approximately half of retirees are, or will be, living off of their Social Security benefits.”

In 2019, it is projected that more than 40% of Baby Boomers will be fully retired… or at least claim to be retired from their careers.

Already places like Starbucks and McDonald’s plus flexible workforce employers like Uber and Amazon are farming Baby Boomers to fill open jobs. From academics to healthcare to financial services, HR departments are beginning to see Boomers as an employment resource.

The impact of Boomers on a Budget will come to life in 2019. Projections that as empty-nesters they will move into the urban gentrified condos will be challenged. Expectations that they will be able to meet healthcare costs will affect revenue flows.

There’s actually three more 2019 trends that will rattle the market, but one thing that has not changed is that time keeps ticking and schedules keep us moving.

If you want to hear more and see the numbers of the seven trends featured in this blog plus “The Podcasts of Diversity,” “The Union Troops Are Coming Back” and “Further Suburban Expansion,” call me at 404.245.9378.

Mark Kooyman

CEO & Discovery Chief at EXPERIENCE Insight Group, Inc. In the business to discover and craft brand experiences that humans seek out and engage in.