Making predictions in any year is a fool’s errand, but attempting to make meaningful predictions during an election year is simply bananas. But – what can I say, I’m here for the lols.
My 2019 predictions did not age well. I took a point of view on 20 topics and had a 42.5% accuracy rate. Ouch! Although, I think that’s better than the weatherman. However, when you have a no softballs policy, getting 100% of your predictions right is simply an impossibility.
For 2020 I’m focusing on business, marketing, technology, and consumer trends. Although, as noted, being in an election year, we’ll see meaningful overlap between those categories and politics.
- Apple will continue its efforts to be seen as the tech company that cares about your privacy by taking one or more of these actions. They will buy/launch a VPN service to keep your internet usage data private from telecom and internet service providers. They will buy DuckDuckGo. DuckDuckGo is the de facto search engine for people who care about their privacy. In many ways, they are the anti-Google. Purchasing DuckDuckGo and making it the default search engine for all iOS devices and Mac Computers would be a significant declaration. There will be a mass expunging of apps from the App Store that originate from China, Russia, or other countries in the Middle East and/or new rules brought about for the App Store that imposes higher thresholds for data collection transparency.
- Global TV Ad Sales dropped by 4% in 2019. Many ad executives believe we’ll see a massive rebound in 2020 because it’s an election year for the United States and the Summer Olympics take place. I don’t think this is going to happen. I see more money in politics shifting online at the expense of TV.
- Speaking of politics, President Donald Trump will be re-elected.
- This will be a very pivotal year for the retail industry. We’re going to see 3 things happen. First, iconic and historical brands like Macy’s, J.C. Penney’s, and Gap will shrink their footprint. Second, we’re going to see 3 brands of significance change their CEOs and/or file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Likely candidates would include L Brands, Ambercrombie, and Bed Bath and Beyond. Third, we will see brands that were once shuttered come back as online-only operations. For example Radio Shack.
- Despite the slings and arrows that continued to be thrown at Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook will continue to thrive. We will see stock growth, record revenues, and 2 or 3 meaningful acquisitions. I could see them buying Roku to bolster TV/content streaming offerings…that would be personalized, of course.
- Apple will make all their “+” offerings free, so long as you are enrolled in the Apple upgrade program, have an Apple credit card, or have a phone/iPad that’s less than 2 years old. This includes Apple News+ and AppleTV+. These services become choice differentiators for why you would pick an Apple device over a competitor.
- Netflix can’t continue to spend what they’re spending on content creation. The debt they’ve racked up and the current cost structure won’t allow for it. We will see an ad-supported version of Netflix in 2020.
- Snapchat will implode. There are too many short-form content platforms to compete with.
- Related to #8, TikTok will implode as well. The concerns over data privacy will see it stricken from app stores and parents taking more action to restrict access for their kids.
- Much like vinyl sales and record store growth, we will see a resurgence for independent book stores.
- We will see the start of companies like Facebook or Google, offering to pay off your debt and/or fund your health insurance, if you actively use their platforms. Impressions and MAUs are the currency for ad dollars. Without them, platforms make less money. Someone will figure out a model where it’s financially sound to pay down $X against your student loan so long as you agree to be tracked in a way that allows the platform to monetize your usage habits.
- Tesla will start to license its battery technology to other car manufacturers as a means to bring in an additional revenue stream, increase the number of electric cars on the road, and make the environment better. This could happen through a direct license for building the car or by allowing other car manufacturers to leverage Tesla’s Super Charger network.
- With real estate being one of the most costly line items for organizations, 2020 will be the year we see a sizable shift in companies actively pushing for more remote workers and leveraging co-working spaces as part of everyday business. By the end of 2020 will see the % of remote workers go from under 5% to above 5%. That seems small, but it’s a massive number of people.
- One of these two new California laws enacted in 2019 will be repealed and/or found unconstitutional. AB5, the law the impacts regarding freelance workers, seems the most likely. But, the mandate for a quota system on a company’s board of directors, SB826, is the other likely candidate.
- The robot/automation/AI economy will finally arrive in earnest. There will be more than 1 million jobs lost to robots, automation, or artificial intelligence in 2020. While there won’t be any federal laws enacted to combat this trend, it will be debated and discussed as part of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election.
- Peloton is going to have a challenging year. Every few years a new workout fad takes center stage. Eventually, they all fade away, some permanently. The model isn’t sustainable. One of 2 things will happen. The “talent” will seek to unionize, go on strike, or demand something that will reduce the number of personalities that riders have grown to love. There will be a data breach/breach of trust in the data collected from members.
- Disney will have a down year at the box office. After carrying 80% of the box office hits in 2019, there’s simply no place to go but down. But, Disney+ will be a massive success.
That’s it. That’s all I got. Let’s hope I do better than my 2019 predictions! As I’ve historically done, I’ll revisit these predictions in the middle of 2020 and then provide an end of year analysis in December.