One of the benefits of reaching the fourth quarter in the calendar year is to pause and reflect upon the year being completed, but it’s just as important to look ahead for what’s to come.
In the case of 2020, I think there will be some meaningful changes to routine business practices. Some insights to consider:
• Millennials might have promoted the phrase that, “Spending on experiences is the long-term key to happiness while spending on products only produces short-term satisfaction.”
Research now has been published that calls portions of this adage into question. For wealthy individuals who have spending capacity to fill their homes with the latest and greatest clothing, technology and home accessories, spending additionally on experiences creates additional happiness and favorable “experience” memories.
However, individuals who do not have the capacity to pay for top notch living and big experiences, researchers found that the day-to-day living products might offer better happiness value than an extravagant vacation that lasts only several days.
So do experiences lend themselves to greater levels of happiness over other forms of spending? The results are mixed and directly linked to the economics of the individual. In 2020, we will continue to see spending in both experiences and personal living.
What is right for one individual might not be for another. The one constant is living (and spending) within one’s means also has a tremendous influence on happiness. And that, in and of itself, might be the most important information of all.
• The interconnected social economy — cooperative ride shares, cooperative food production (farmers markets) and other shared areas of the economy will continue to be powerful.
We see this in large and small scale examples. Artisan craftspeople who can create one-off custom metal railings that are works of art, furniture made from salvaged Iowa wind-fallen trees, local beer and the like are powerful catalysts to our socially connected community and economy.
Art in the home is great, but art in the home where you know the artist and the story behind the print is all that much better. Social media allows us to connect with individuals in new and exciting ways. Community and culture are alive and well, and technology has played a part in facilitating those interactions. Look for more of the same in the coming decade.
• Our population is aging, and spending will continue on health and wellness. But health and wellness spending is not limited to just individuals 65 and older. No doubt that those older than 65 spend nearly as much as all other age groups combined.
But looking at this another way, those ages 5-64 account for more than 50% of all health and wellness spending. This is expected to continue in earnest. Great news for those in the health and wellness areas.
This would include fitness trainers, personal life coaches and products designed to proactively prevent illness rather than treating one. Separating products that offer clinically established health benefits from those with only a placebo effect continues to be a challenge.
• Organizations that value collaboration are moving quickly toward flatter workplaces where there are fewer managers and quicker business decisions.
This agile alignment will lead to faster product/service changes and leverage customer feedback much more quickly. Part of this innovation also is the result of the growth in artificial intelligence deployment in the workplace as well as strengthening data analytics.
Speed to market in many sectors is a major competitive advantage. Thanks to enhanced robotics, turn-around speeds will continue to increase.
• Finally, 2020 (like many years in the previous decade) will be marked by significant innovations in the technology space. Core customers expect that their online experience mirror that of their face-to-face interaction.
While we see continued focus and investment in technology, human interaction will play a leading role in defining success or failure of products/services and companies.
Individuals might lean on social media to help find the best place for a locally produced glass of beer but it is the social connections around you that ultimately lead to a great night out.