Mark Kooyman
13 min readOct 13, 2023

EXPERIENCE TRENDCAST 2023 Update And 2024 Change Catalysts

Usually at the end of the first quarter of each new calendar year, I like to track and see if any of the TRENDCAST predictions are surfacing as predicted.

There are also some market dynamics that are driving market change agents future forward.

While this blog post is longer than usual, I promise you that reading it is time well spent.

Here is the assessment of each of the 2023 TRENDCASTS.

2023 #1 — The High Tech Mid-life Crisis

Just like any other mid-life crisis, High Tech is pulling straws right now.

If you listen to some channels, AI is the next frontier of High Tech. Yet, outside of the high tech circles reality is moving in like a tidal wave..

From one perspective, regulation is taking center stage. Some regulation is coming out of Washington. Other regulation is coming from trade and industry groups.

From another perspective, brands employing it are finding themselves the target of social media critics and consumer groups boycotting their brand.

Then you have the mid-life crisis from players like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google hyperventilating.

Global expansion is getting interrupted by players like China essentially kicking them out. Their monopolies are being challenged by Washington.

And lastly, the workforce leading them to the water holes is entering mid-career crisis and questioning whether the tech missions match their personal core values.

In 2024, High Tech will come to a further realization that Viagra might last for an hour, but after that hour, it too wears out.

I showcased a financial brand — Synovus — who championed its customer care while at the same time launched an AI customer service “representative” in one of the summer blog posts. Synovus is experience a mid-life crisis as I write this.

No question, the High-Tech Mid-life Crisis will roll on forward into 2024.

2023 #2 — Millennials Shifting from Me to We

What was showcased in 2023 will expand 10-fold and become the catalyst of a trend moving fast forward as we enter 2024.

Some of my academic peers are convinced that social media is the drive of the shift. Social and group bonding is a social media outcome.

I must admit, there may be some validity to the relationship.

We are watching how social connectivity is becoming elevated to group impact and the enablement of change.

Over the course of 2023, EXPERIENCE has been brought in to work with small towns and suburban developments who are finding themselves driven by Millennials often by surprise.

Once the shock of the driver wears off, many realize that the evolving social dynamics of Millennials might actually be one of their assets.

Revitalized downtowns and city gathering parks are sprouting up. Millennials are running for local political office and challenging the Boomers+ who have lived in the communities all their lives.

Even houses of worship are experiencing membership increases.

More in the next 2024 Trendcast blog post!

2023 #3 — Metro Outbound Migration

This 2023 TRENDCAST is also just beginning to take hold.

Every week the Wall Street Journal publishes a new story of another U.S. urban ICON facing empty office high rises and an apartment surplus.

Not only are retiring Boomers and soon-to-be retired GenXers packing up, but Millennials are too.

And an explosion wil denotate in 2024.

There is no way in an American presidential election year that the Prime will remain at its current high of 8.5%.

As soon as the rate drops closer to 5–6% the floodgates will open with new home listings and Millennials will gobble up the real estate and abandon the intown apartments to secure room for their Alpha kids to have sand boxes and swing sets.

A colleague debated my prediction and cited a low inventory of new homes.

I quickly shared that new homes only represent 15% of overall home sales and not even half that percentage among Millennials.

In fact, Millennials would rather purchase a pre-owned home with “character” and “eco-evolving landscaping” than a new home sitting on a concrete pad.

When the next act takes center stage, watch how communities either embrace it or new voters remove those in elected office rejecting it.

2023 #4 — The Working Class Labor Movement

Just as I predicted in a Spring 2023 blog post, workplace unions have returned and taken center stage.

Despite the government-owned media attempting to paint another portrait, China’s economics are in a crisis and its exports shipped globally continue to shrink.

In 2024, as U.S. households focus on managing the cost of day-to-day living, a significant number of Boomers will return to the workforce and cost management will move from the CPAs to new smartphone apps.

The working class labor movement will further explode in 2024 as economic frugality overtakes luxury spending.

Corporate cultures that fail to embrace a working class will incur new tax assessments and the high end brands extolling luxury will see their economics move into the red zone.

Watch how the American Working Class takes hold of the 2024 elections.

2023 #5 — The Hybrid Workplace

There was a slew of stories hitting the news wires and websites early in 2023 that corporate American was reeling in workers parked in their home office space.

The networks crafted special stories all around how corporate American would soon reach pre-Pandemic workspace use. Shoot, I even heard in Chamber of Commerce meetings how the firms would be back to “normal.”

Flexible workspace is not fading away anytime soon and the economics are challenging corporate office real estate.

Some factoids driving it?

First… Jobs to fill still out-number the warm bodies to fill them.

The impact of this factoid is very simple. If an employer demands that all return to their 9-to-5 world, the employer will soon see his team flee as it finds alternative jobs not demanding it.

Second… The cost overhead of that fancy office space in those high cost downtown and second city center high-rises no longer make financial sense in our economic world.

Third… Millennials already represent more than half of the American workforce. GenZers currently represent another 20% of the American workforce. This is a completely different office culture than what drove the workplace configuration back in 2000.

Add the arrival of the Alpha Generation kids plus Women business leadership plus Zoom and digital meetings … this TRENDCAST is here to stay.

Will we see some variations surfacing in 2024?

Yes. Read about those in the 2024 TRENDCAST next month!

2023 #6 — David & Goliath Brand Transition

Here is what the Big Box retail tracking sources have to say about what’s happening…

“While far from the best year on records, big box retail sales are expected to grow 1.5% in 2023… below trend yes, but better than the broader slowdown in retail overall is expecting.”

2023 evolved with the cross winds generating a fog that is hard to clearly steer through.

On one end, Big Box retails — the Goliath’s out there — often extend price points that enable consumers to extend the impact of a the inflated dollar bill.

On the other end, local brands targeting the main stream customers out-perform the Goliath retailers.

Thus far in 2023, more “Davids” experienced significant sales gains vs. the Big Brands often sold at a higher price.

All one has to do is Google Anheuser-Busch and see how the brand is still attempting to dig out of a 30% drop in sales due to niche marketing strategy using Dylan Mulvaney that did not score well with the audience groups on either side of the issue.

Here locally in Athens Georgia, a new live-work-play-shop complex got final approval with 50% of the retail mandated to be local.

And so far there is a waiting line for the local brands to sign up while few National brands have even come to the table.

Some of the large brands will soon join with Kellogg splitting into two firms, Kellanova with snack foods and WK Kellogg Company with cereal brands. Bed & Body Works and Victoria Secret became two different firms last year.

More is evolving as we move into 2024.

2023 #7 — Personal Craftsmanship

Not only are antique and jungue stores posting all time sales highs in this calendar year, but so too are arts and crafts fairs.

Yesterday afternoon I ran an errand and went into a Target store where I got a chance to see the operations team unload and set-up the new Chip & Joanna Gaines furniture and home accents.

I asked a two single female shoppers what they thought about the products and they quickly replied, “I cannot wait until we get a Magnolia Store with products made locally right here in Georgia.”

Indie coffee house shops now command a 75% share of the coffee cafe market and Starbucks has dropped lower to 25%. The marketplace believes that the Indie cafes are not just locally owned, but many believe that the coffee is actually locally grown and roasted.

Local Brew pubs generate more then double the order volume as chain pubs.

Thus far in 2023, more than 100+ local water-based flavored beverage brands have been launched. Even local soft drink brands are starting to steal away Coke and Pepsi shelf space.

Indie home builders that hire their carpenters, plumbers and electricians from local trade schools are being featured on new home marketing and digital communications.

This trend too will explode in 2024.

2023 #8 — Elevation of the In-Store Experience

Some are say that the in-store experiences are more limited today than what they might have been 20 years ago.

Part of that observation is correct… Many stores are relative simple in decor and design. Not to say that they are nondescript, but certainly not elaborate.

Local and regional retail brands operate with less development dollars than the large national chains..

However, the store front… fancy or not… drives more brand interaction today than the character and personality of the website.

On July 5, 2024, Amazon will be celebrating its 25th year anniversary and today it owns 38% share of digital retail sales. BUT digital retail sales just topped off over 15% in the 3rd Quarter 2023 tracking U.S. retail sales report.

Just under 85% of all retail sales in the U.S. are still made in a physical store front and the in-store, human-to-human interaction experience still commands the marketplace.

EXPERIENCE has a great client located up in New Jersey whose brand experience is driven by organic and natural pet food and pet products. The store character is very local and mom & pop.

And because of that personality, the store brand competes wonderfully with pet product chains as well as online accessible only brands.

In fact, the in-store experience can actually function better as the brand catalyst than all the SEO tactics.

Our New Jersey client is exploring setting up small niche store fronts that function as online order centers for their different organic home deliveries.

Are the retail stores fancy?

No, but they do offer owners the opportunity to bring their dogs into the store and taste-test the different combinations and flavors.

More new bookstores have opened up in 2023 than in the last preceding 10 years combined together and retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depots that eliminated on-floor sales assistants and human check out lanes are losing market share to Ace Hardware stores where the help may even know the customer’s name.

Watch how in-store catapults more in 2024 as more Millennials purchase their small town and suburban homesteads.

2023 #9 — Emotional vs Functional Home Space

Okay, the true benchmark wave of change of 2022 did not hit until fourth quarter.

In Fourth Quarter of 2022, the U.S. set a new record of the most deliveries of babies than any other quarterly time block of any preceding year.

This past week, I put together the evolution of the generational groups in the U.S. in terms of size ad population mix.

The biggest change in the generational dynamics is concentrated around the Alpha Generation which in 2024 will be populated by those just born and those turning nine years old.

In the past 12 months the Alpha Generation increased by 6 million strong or 15%.

What does this have to do with emotional vs. functional home space.

Parents with new borns are less concerned about having a meditation space as they are a place to dump the dirty diapers before they are washed in organic no-artificial dye detergent and then air dried in the environmentally green natural air flow.

So much for the emotional home space.

Even the Empty Nester Boomers are sacrificing the man caves for the She Space Full Room Walk-in Closets. Bye-bye to the wine bars and coolers and hello to the dog bathing centers & spas.

The radical rise in Millennial family forming also put a damper on the emotional space vs. functional space. The new borns crying and the dogs barking negated this trend from reaching any level of fulfillment.

2023 #10 — Smart Phone Time-out Times

Some are saying that the smart phone today is the umbilical cord that connects people to the world and all its inhabitants around them.

Are time-out times on the rise as predicted in the 2023 TRENDCAST? Yes, but not at a speed thought a year ago.

There is a balance taking place specifically between parents and kids.

Dinner times together around the kitchen table is now way more mainstream among the Millennials than ever thought would return.

Parents value the time together for conversation and updates.

Most of the Millennial kids are less than 5 years old and few are engaged in any form of social media.

Gen X parents and their teenage kids is another matter.

Yes, they do get together around the kitchen table for breakfasts and dinners, but even if the parents ban the use of the smart phone, many of the teens listen to their music venues with the ear-plugs hidden in their ears.

There are some studies tracking the Gen Z Teens that even if the teens are sitting in a house of worship and/or classrooms, the ear-plugs are hidden in their ears linked to the online music tapped through the smart phone in their back pocket.

A driver of social media use today is found among grandparents and grand kids.

In fact, the Baby Boomer grandparents might be posting the highest levels of smart phone use as they stay glued to their smart phones “staying current on the news flow” and “staying 24/7 connected with the grand kids.”

More restaurants are banning the use of the smart phones in their dining rooms and schools are doing the same in classrooms, but the population today continues to be addicted to the hand-held, smart phones more than they are connected in offline modes of interaction and dialogue.

The Market Dynamics Driving TRENDCAST 2024

  1. The Economy

The average person who is watching a news network not only believes the economy is a top trend drive, but are convinced that America is sitting on the very edge of an economic collapse.

Most are age 65+ who watch the news networks and many of them remember the Great Depression and how it affected their families.

No question that the economy is affecting the consumer mindset, but in a different context by different group.

One generational showcase…

The average Millennial today is making over $100K and is receiving annual salary increases of 10%+.

The majority of Millennials not only fail to believe the economy is about to collapse, they see the economy of growing and expanding in the here and now. They have friends and colleagues who are becoming entrepreneurs. They see technology driving new economies like AI.

However, the average Millennial faces more day-to-day cost of living issues than the typical empty nest couple.

They are actively buying homes and everything from pots and pans to furniture to lawn mowes to live in them.

In the past, they went grocery shopping to feed a couple and today they go grocery shopping to feed a family of four plus a dog and a cat.

Are they budgeting and exploring ways to conserve spending, reusing and repurposing the products they buy? Yes.

Is the economy a factor influencing how they live each day? Yes.

But the dynamics of influence are linked to their current lifestage and cost of living vs. continued employments, salary and impact on the value of the dollar … at least in their perception mix!

How the marketplace forms and sustains relationship with brands will drive a set of trends that will surface in 2024 and likely carry through the next 3–4 years ahead.

2. Post Pandemic Times

Futurists, sociologists and economists are just now peeking out from under the Pandemic blanket and making an assessment of the impact.

Other than the Great Depression of the 1920s and the two World Wars, did the American marketplace ever travel through a more impactful time as it did during the Pandemic.

No question that the social and consumer marketplace was rattled.

A share of Millennials were just starting their careers, a share of Boomers were just heading into retirement, a share of GenZers were just starting college when the Pandemic hit back in 2020 and weathered through essentially 30 months of challenge and adaptation.

No question that economics and business dynamics were rattled.

The balance of product / service delivery meeting demand coupled with re-gearing business and commerce after a complete shut down are market dynamics still attempting to settle.

Even with the post Pandemic economics added to the broader economic change factor, the impact beyond economics have altered history and more will surface in 2024 than surfaced in the immediate post-Pandemic months of 2023.

3. The Mainstreaming of Millennials

Some of my colleagues accuse me of being way too focused on Millennials than a market strategist should be. They blame it on my time running the Cartoon Network strategic insight team.

Their observation may have part validity.

I admit that in my assessments, there is a focus on Millennials, but the Millennials are not only the largest generational group ever to command the global marketplace, they are also at the most impactful life stages as they take over management of businesses, become entrepreneurs, purchase their first time homes and make babies.

In 2024, the Millennials are no longer entering the American marketplace, but instead they are the command-in-chief of the American marketplace.

And as they take centerstage, they are re-crafting our marketplace and will likely do so for at least the next 10–15 years.

A Final factor to mention…

As I started to put together this blog post and track the impact of forecast changes, a very cruel and evil group invaded Israel and committed unimaginable acts of humankind.

It is way too early to know how society will respond, what the outcomes will be and how this act will impact global headsets, but this Act of Evil will impact how individuals interact in public, with family and friends and even around the kitchen table.

Elements of the 1960s culture cultivated by the Vietnam War are factors driving part of the 2024 TRENDCAST.

Boomers living back in their times of youth. GenZers attaching to the 1960s fashion icons. Millennials and GenXers incorporating pop-culture colors, curved furniture and pop art into their homesteads.

Vietnam and the Soviet Nuclear threat drove elements of the 1960s.

Family values are likely to become way more mainstream in the years ahead.

Not the “family values” of the religious right, but the value of the family unit — kids, partners/spouses, pets and extended family members — and the time spent together with them.

If any readers are interested in securing a premier presentation of the 2024 TRENDCAST that will appear on this Blog Post in about three weeks, please contact me at or call me at 404.245.9378 and let’s schedule it.

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.