The 2023 EXPERIENCE Trendcast
Remember that the marketplace is constantly in motion and leading into each year, I post a set of market changes that are evolving right in front of us that will impact the marketplace, how people interact with one another and the actual constructs of the brand experiences!
Here are the 10 most significant trends and change agents that will impact 2023…
- High tech experiencing mid-life crisis
- Millennials shifting from “me” to “we”
- Metro out-bound migration — history repeating itself
- The working class labor movement
- The hybrid workplace
- David & Goliath brand transition
- Personalized craftsmanship
- Elevation of the in-store experience
- Emotional vs. functional home space
- Smart phone time-out times
And here you can read more of each one…
2023 Trend #1 — High tech mid-life crisis
We all knew it was going to hit eventually.
Hard to believe but it was first the desktops, then the laptops, then the iPad then the iPhone, then the iWatch and then reality set in.
With just so much brand communication about the newest, most convenient, most mobile, most do-it-all technology resource out there, the average household today has more than a dozen high tech devices.
The marketplace is now saturated with tech gadgets and Apps with limited to room to connect and store more.
The Tech world has reached market maturity with limited growth opportunity. And while some of the brands have started to compete on price, many are tied down to supply controls on the other side of the glob.
With so many services and so many human relationships linked through High Tech, in 2023 not only will Wall Street continue to be challenged, but Main Street will too.
In 2022, Apple users no longer could use Microsoft Office for free. Now there are rattlings that only those paying a monthly fee can post Tweets on Twitter.
Shipping costs and stock availability has frozen new job hires at Amazon. Meta, parent company of Facebook has laid off not hundreds, but thousands of tech geeks.
As high tech shifts to a panic mode, watch how quickly high touch comes to the rescue in 2023.
In putting together this blog post, I was astounded by how many “digital agencies” have issued 2023 trend reports citing the continued growth and expansion of everything from Virtual reality to online retail to social post sites.
Get ready for July 4th fireworks as those bubbles burst… and those digital agencies start laying off talent too!
2023 Trend #2 — Millennials shifting from “me” to “we”
From HOAs to PTAs and Family specials to Mom Nights Out, the Millennials are moving from their Social Media personal pages to common grounds under a “we” identity.
Watch in 2023 as this connectivity translates to a new found level of empowerment and how quickly personal signatures transition to those of group dynamics.
The first wave of Millennial Alpha kids will be entering Kindergartens and First Grades in 2023.
The first wave of new home buyers who snagged affordable hybrid mortgage loans with differed interest and buyer discounts join up with other residents to rally around homeowner rights.
Millennials will distance further from Eco-green to lawn care service fertilizers to keep those front yards green and matching up with the overall theme of the new subdivision neighborhoods.
Working moms who are now in their offices at least 2–3 times a week have replaced the After 5 cocktails and gym workouts with sewing clubs and recipe exchanges with their local peers.
Watch in 2023 how the Millennial “we movement” begins to spread into politics in advance of the 2024 presidential election.
While the news media and political groups continue to fail to make note of it, the 2022 Election Day results already show how Millennials are unifying together to influence election outcomes.
And while online connections do still exist, there is a surge of in-person groups even more so.
Do not be shocked to see a return of Tupperware and Avon parties complete with the sponsor host and trivia bag give-aways in 2023.
2023 Trend #3 — Metro out-bound migration — history repeating itself
This trend was cited in 2022 and it will only magnify further in 2023. Millennials have been the catalyst of the movement, but empty-nest Boomers who no longer are bound to their jobs are departing the city centers too.
The GenXers saying good-bye to their college-age kids will soon be entertaining the idea of moving to a more digestible smaller town too.
Despite all the talk about real estate re-adjusting to a more affordable cost, there has been only slight price declines.
Interest rates will climb higher in 2023 and the cost of staying in the city neighborhoods will become even less viable for Millennials… even if they can budget a house payment of $3,000+ per month, they do not have the savings to put down on the purchase.
Go back in time about 60 years ago and those living in the heart of labor-intensive city centers migrated out to the ‘burbs to secure a house, nice family lot and a safer place to call home.
Some interesting dynamics have come into the picture over the last several months.
More apartments are going up in smaller towns than in city centers. Companies are not only blending work onsite with work-at-home… they are actually leasing out co-working space away from the corporate headquarters for works clustered geographically together.
Suburban bedroom-communities and small towns with charming town squares will flourish while in-town employers and housing units will get creative in how to stop the out flow.
2023 Trend #4 — The working class labor movement
Manufacturing trickled back into the U.S. during the Pandemic, but the pace of growth is accelerating as I write this blog post.
Historic manufacturing is going through a reality check that securing skilled, dedicated and adaptable workers is the newest form of alchemy and the value of the labor pool is more than gold.
More industry is headed back to the States. Everything from electronic chip plants to manufacturing plants to assembly lines. Environmental alternatives are revving up a spectrum spanning from solar and wind power centers to new electrical charging stations to recycle centers.
And those with the college degrees combined with the high tech geeks are finding it difficult to secure the titles and salary levels they expected as justification for the tuition payments they make each month… even with Uncle Joe’s $20K gift certificates.
This is not a short term trend and the impact extend beyonds the work shift.
In 2020, blue-collar and service employees made up 38% of the American workplace. The projection for 2023 is 43%.
What surprises many in that the working class serving in manufacturing and trade jobs today often record a higher salary than the average person with the 4 year college degree… salaries in the $100K range!
The working class is molding everything from home decor to grocery store shelves to fashion and design to auto makes and models to entertainment series.
Brands that fail to acknowledge and get down into the trenches will pay a cost. Politicians who let academics shape their platforms will lose votes.
By the same token, brands that think Walmart, Burger King and Kroger are the retail templates to craft their brand experiences around will lose customers.
As much as Millennials are shaping the marketplace, working class labor plays just as powerful a role and marketers need to make it a priority in 2023 to explore how their brand experiences score and what might be the best development options to capitalize on the market shift.
2023 Trend #5 — The hybrid workplace
It has taken much of 2022 to shift the work force back into the daily commute traffic that drives most major metros in the U.S.
By November 2022, less than 20% of the workforce is working totally remote from their homes, but 55% of the workforce is working a hybrid mix of work at-home and work in-office.
While some of the workers found the home life to be more productive, others found the ability to retreat from the demands of the kids and pets and get back to the office an escape.
Employers also journeyed through a reality check too with operational lower overhead costs, reduced travel expenses and better employee retention. With employee retention and labor shortages a major challenge heading into 2023, corporations are exploring new models in how to engineer its workplace and work environments.
More and more businesses will transition into new models of a hybrid workplace in 2023.
We will see lease negotiations for less space, shared office and work space, new protected communication channels, corporations leasing out regional co-working space and more shared conference rooms popping up.
Even business networking and chambers of commerce will be considering hybrid events … and not just a hybrid of digital and in-person but a hybrid of in-town and exurban events.
Watch as businesses dismantle their historic corporate offices and shift to regional centers.
Here in Atlanta, one of the top corporations leasing one of the city-center high rises has given notice that they will not be renewing their lease and instead is establishing a network of five satellite co-working space centers for their team.
2023 Trend #6 — David & Goliath brand transition
When you ask individuals to name a coffee house brand, about 70% name Starbucks. But when you ask them where they prefer to grab a coffee, more than half name a local coffee house or smaller regional chain.
One of the most interesting stats I discovered in 2022 is that Starbucks only commands a 30% market share of total coffee/cafe sales in the U.S.
Independent coffee houses and regional chains account for 70% of total sales.
I talk to people on the streets across the U.S. every day and when I ask if customers have a choice of shopping at a national chain vs. a locally-owned retailer, they almost universally say a locally-owned retailer. Not only is the percentage higher than what individuals voiced in the past, the adjectives used to describe national retailers have shifted to negative commentary.
As population shifts out of the city-centers and out to regional cities and small towns, the value of the locality of the products and brands is exploding with everything from indie grocery stores, hardware stores, furniture stores, cafes and restaurants, home service vendors and alternative credit unions.
Even national chains that have enjoyed local valued brand equity like Target, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Chipotle are suddenly facing waning customer loyalty as local alternatives begin to appear.
This trend will magnify in 2023 as more and more store fronts secure new post-Pandemic tenants and more and more national brands face continued declines in market share.
Local brand experiences provide consumers with an emotional level of comfort financially, environmentally and psychologically that they are in control and affecting change in a marketplace that has exploded out of control nationally and globally.
Perhaps the most entertaining side show is watching the ad dollars climb as the nationals attempt to over-power the locals.
Unfortunately, the more the nationals spend, the more entrenched the local brands become as Millennials and Boomers shift their focus to a local market that they can sink roots in and a national political stage many have released due to frustration.
2023 Trend #7 — Personalized craftsmanship
Some say its a reality check that is taking place post-Pandemic. Some say its lifestage transition.
Watch how attempts to personalized brand experiences refocus around self-craftsmanship in 2023. More people cook at home now and continue to do so even as the Pandemic has waned. More people are refinishing and redesigning furniture than in the recent past. Even re-crafting vintage clothing is a new rage.
Cooking classes, home gardening and shop classes are not only flooding YouTube but also popping up on trade school outreach class agendas.
Yes… some of the trend is fueled by the economy and inflation pushing cost of goods beyond the affordable range of many budgets, but the Millennial drive to customize brand experiences is also a catalyst at work.
There are some brands that have attempted to package the process failing to understand it’s not just a mechanical process of putting ingredients together, but a process that allows for personal authorship and customization.
And the catalyst is not just expressed through cooking, clothing and crafts, but is exploding in home decor and design, furnishings and landscaping too!
This trend will explode in 2023 and field trips out to observe 2022 end-of-year Holiday shopping sprees is the best proof yet.
2023 Trend #8 — Elevation of the in-store experience
Whenever I ask the marketplace and boardrooms alike what percentage online sales represent of total retail sales in the U.S., the answers are all over 50% when in reality the percentage is just over 14% as of third quarter 2022.
The majority of sources… even the digital ones … forecast online sales stagnating or declining further in 2023.
I know that the 14% is shocking and that the sales decline is almost blasphemy, but the impact of the digital world confronting operational cost cuts, the digit world is facing a correction and accountable bottom line.
However, the in-store experience is the stage to watch as it experiences more interaction than most any time in the past 20+ years.
Watch as the overall decor and layout of the retail space becomes more HGTV aligned. Watch as product display becomes enhanced and shelves stay full. Watch as the visual and audio sensory points get aligned. Watch how smart phones get integrated in the product display and even the interface with retail staff.
And speaking of retail staff… watch as the minimum wage pays gets elevated to secure human contact and human interaction that might be the core driver of the retail experience!
Target is already launching a new chain of small, “mom & pop” stores that are not too different from locally owned retailers found on Main Street USA.
Also watch what Amazon does with Whole Foods and how that model becomes for their newly launched line of retail storefronts that right now include Amazon Style clothing stores to Amazon Fresh and Amazon Go food stores. Amazon announced a new chain called Amazon Books, a retail store selling those antique paper bound books along with a coffee cafe that will premiere in 2023.
I know it’s hard for many to believe this, but with 10,000+ techies being laid off, check out the retail jobs Amazon has posted on Linkedin, ZIP Recruiter and Indeed.
2023 Trend #9 — Emotional vs. functional home space
The Millennials announced the invention of a new room in their homes where they gather with together with spouse and kids alike that they call the “family” room back in 2021.
And Boomers have their “home offices” even though many are now fully retired and no longer do conventional work.
While room function is old news, watch how cross generational groups begin referring to home space less around function, but instead emotional state of mind.
Calming rooms… creative rooms… well-being rooms… nurturing coves… rage rooms…. resolution space.
Family rooms will also evolve into bonding rooms… kitchens dinettes will evolve into fueling stations in 2023.
Check out the websites for the new suburban subdivisions exploding on the urban fringe where one house looks very similar to the house next door. Pull up the floor plans and digest the names of the rooms plotted out.
Yes… the floor plans might have been take from construction projects initiated back in the 1980s, but the upgrades have less to do with the decor and instead the colors, tiles and laminate floor design that evokes emotion more than function.
And it’s not just the tract housing that Millennials can access at an affordable price, but where the students dwell in the college dorms to space created in retirement communities.
If you don’t believe that this trend is taking place, watch an evening of HGTV and grab a born-again copy of BHG and check out the feature decor. BTW… BHG is the old Better Homes & Gardens… AOK!
2023 Trend #10 — Smart phone time-out times
This trend is moving in full speed ahead!
And its not happening between Gen Z students, teachers, counselors and parents, but spreading through out Millennials coupling, GenXers becoming empty-nesters and Boomers trying to preserve their couple-hood and get to know one another all over again now that they are with one another 24/7.
Furthermore, its not just linked to voice calls or texting, but apps and online shopping too.
The age span of personal smart phone users has now dropped to 5 years old. And those 5 years old understand how to use the smart phone and the Apps better than the average GenXer and Boomer!
As the kitchen table re-emerges in homes and rooms emerge for calming, creativity and resolution, time-out-times are driving the smart phones not just being shelved, but literally turned off.
As the Alpha babies evolve into actually young folks and couples renew the dependence of the home space from work space, time-out times is expected to surge forward in 2023.
A good friend of mine told me that he and his son could not get their smart phones to work at a local restaurant the other night. I asked them did they see any other diners engaged with their smart phones and they said, “no.” It was then that I asked did they see a sign on the door that smart phones did not work in the dining space, but if access was needed, they could back out in the parking lot to secure messages and make emergency calls.
As many Millennial parents may say, while the home securities have yet to allow digital block clouds, they can simply take the smart phones away from both the kids and the spouse and have voice conversation with no interruption.
When you text friends in 2023, don’t be shocked if you any dialogue exchange gets delayed by a couple of hours!
If you are interested to explore more of how these 2023 Trends are impacting your brand and the marketplace you serve, call me at 404.245.9378… and if its dinner time… just leave a message because it might be time-out time with my iPhone!