Mark Kooyman
6 min readDec 5, 2023

Experience a Hands-on Encounter with the 2024 TRENDCAST

I always give myself special credit for completing the annual TRENDCAST and posting it before the Holiday Season begins and the news media begins their set of New Year forecasts.

It always is amazing just how on target the TRENDCAST is of what’s going on out there.

For reference sake, here are the 2024 trends that will drive the marketplace and audience headsets in the next year…

  1. The value of families
  2. The rise of economic consciousness
  3. Pre-owned is hot and new is not
  4. Re-generation vs. sustainability
  5. The re-engineering of healthcare
  6. Mid-career Millennials
  7. Technology addiction
  8. AI reality check
  9. Alpha Activation and Gen Z Isolation
  10. The five day office week is over

You can click on the past blog links to get more details of the 10 TRENDCASTS.

To get a feel for the trends, here are a couple of suggestions of things to do if you get bored over the Holidays.

  1. Turn on an actual TV and watch the commercials. You can put the programming even on mute. Watch the ads at different times during the day and watch the ads running g on a host of networks. Check out how people are portrayed and the interaction of the people. Check out the products and services advertised and how the ads guide the audience groups to purchase them.
  2. Get out of the house and take a walk through where people shop and dine. At the retail stores, check out what’s in the carts and what is purchased in the check-out lanes. Watch how shoppers check out what’s on the racks and shelves, sort though what they see and finally the items they put in their cart.
  3. When you are at a restaurant or coffee house, listen to what folks talk about. Dinner tables draw out topics discussed that other environments cloud over. Caffeine in the coffee shops fuels conversation Listen to tables chat about what they recently accomplished and what they plan to tackle next.
  4. Go to a bookstore and check out what sections customers hang out in more than others. Check out the age of those who are hanging out. Go over to the magazine section and pick up the magazines — especially the ones you never heard of and never read. Check out the topics featured and check out the pictures.
  5. Spend an hour reading the postings on any one of the social media websites. See what are the topics of discussion and further check out the pictures. Who is featured in the pictures and what are the people are doing. Look and see what is the age of the person posting the pictures and how the context of the pictures varies by age group.

The text books and academic groups call this ethnographic research where we passively observe audience groups and engage in face-to-face interviewing.

At EXPERIENCE we work with some large databases and conduct some sophisticated quantitative surveys and statistical modeling to uncover insight to craft brand strategy.

We also do a lot of ethnographic research. In fact, more of it informally than formally.

The Holiday season is a great time to interact with the marketplace.

People share a lot and discuss projects for the upcoming new year.

I share all this because the TRENDCAST sightings and predictions surface quickly in what you will see and experience in those suggested exercises.

This past week, I had an interesting Zoom meeting with the owner of a large retail development firm and the regional VP of Operations for a grocery store chain that has stores located coast-to-coast in the U.S.

What prompted the call was a discussion of expansion strategy to capitalize on (a) the Millennials as they depart from in-town communities and move out to small town America and (b) the Boomers who are doing similar departures to retire from the long commutes to a more hands-on sense of community.

We reviewed retail spending and sales data that EXPERIENCE licenses from the U.S. Department of Labor and IRS. We reviewed a set of surveys conducted among several smaller town communities undergoing expansion and growth and what the residents — local and new alike — shared as their desires, wants and needs.

It became clear in the discussion that what is evolving as growth opportunity challenges a lot of the conventional ways that the developer and grocery chain alike use and rely on to construct their shopping “destinations” in their past.

The developer even went so far as to say, “I have been doing this for years and I know what works and the last thing I am going to do is have the marketplace tell me how to do it and what they think is of importance.”

When I challenged them about having to re-think their past business development models, they quickly replied that the models “work in suburban America and will work as suburbia spreads further out to small towns.”

This is not an issue of the old model being “broke,” but rather a situation where the old model simply has been replaced by a new model with new mechanics and new software.

It’s like with the release of iPhone OS 17, iPhones 8 and model series might still work, but they can’t any longer be upgraded and updated.

Many apps that are used today cannot even be loaded on iPhone 8’s and models before it.

The retail strip center models of Suburban America crafted for Boomers and GenXers might still draw in shoppers, but building that model today even is suburbia does not work and taking that model to small town America where remote working Millennials are moving is business suicide.

Hoping to draw in aging generations … GenXers, Boomers and Mature Seniors … is suicide as well because many have lived for years in the small towns and know many of the business owners and managers by name.

The founder of the development laid claim that “there is no way that a small town can sustain locally owned businesses” and that “the large branded chains will eventually come in and overtake the locally owned retailers.”

In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, an article ran titled, “Smallest Employers Take the Lead on Hiring.” It has two charts in the article that showcase how firms with 1–9 employees are up 18.4% and firms of 10+ are all below their historic levels.

The deepest drop of 28.2% is among Employers of 250–999 employees… the size that captures those chain grocery stores and “big box” retailers.

New “mom & pop” … or “mom & mom”… or “pop & pop” are commanding equity of the marketplace and not the Big Box national chains.

Local community character and personality are commanding equity over the chain store brand names no matter how much ad dollars and social media posts are invested.

Brand teams that “get it” will be the winners.

From the Wall Street Journal to New York Times to CNN to CNBC to Forbes to NBC Nightly News, all reported this past weekend that store fronts are pulling in a higher dollar volume and revenue per purchase than digital websites this Holiday season.

And then they went on to highlight that locally owned and regional brands are doing much better than the large national chains.

If you have not figured it out by now, I will simply say that the changes cited in TRENDCAST 2024 are all linked together… each trend is actually directly or indirectly fueled by one of the other trends taking place.

The model is changing… high touch is emerging as more of a driver than high tech. The Millennials are driving the change factors and fueling the pace. AI might make the news and fuel the SYFI addicts, but human emotions will always drive innovation, creativity, invention and change.

If you get a chance, do one of the five suggested things to do this Holiday Season and I bet you will enter 2024 with more insight than most any digital click report will net you.

And what about that national grocery store VP and owner of the development firm?

My prediction is that in the next 3–5 years, the grocery chain will be bought out and perhaps even split apart into a set of individual brands.

And the owner of the development firm will likely be retired and move from his suburban Atlanta home to a small town that is quieter, walkable, safe and has some great locally owned restaurants, hardware stores, bakeries and coffee houses in it.

If you would like to chat more, pick up the phone and call me at 404.245.9378 and let’s have a high touch exchange in the evolving marketplace of 2024!

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.