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TrendReport Track Record for Predictions for 2018 

Each year, before issuing a set for predictions for the upcoming year, we evaluate how we did with regard to the predictions we made for the current year. Without further ado, here are the results for our 2018 predictions.

  1. Expect to hear about “the retailpocalypse" as a key consumer sector tries to fight Amazonification. Retailpocalypse probably was included in more headlines in 2018 than Amaxonification but pretty much any news story about the retail sector mentioned Amazon. It was a tough year for the sector, with two to three thousand locations closing, and 125-year-old Sears declaring bankruptcy in Q3. Unfortunately, we expect the brick-and-mortar stores to continue to have a tough time of it even as Amazon opens more retail locations. While the bad news for retail has been covered, did not capture the attention of consumers as much as we had expected. We expect that Amazonification will capture more attention in 2019, and the downward cycle continues, and expect calls for “doing something” to protect failing retail. Grade: A.
  2. People will be more anxious and angry. We called this era the Age of Anxiety and Anger, and we got this right. In 2018, we saw lots of anger, much of it political, and lots of anxiety. There were many more references to people needing to take a break from their devices’ notifications. As of Oct., we expect more anger after the midterms — however things turn out — that will carry over into 2019 and people start focusing on the 2020 election cycle. We also expect that people will continue to be more anxious — whether due to politics or not — and that there will be more articles about how to de-stress. From a marketing perspective, look for some consumer brands to try to tap into the need to de-stress.  Grade: A.
  3. There will be a debate about whether or not and how to regulate Facebook, Google and Twitter. We got this totally right, particularly when we said, “Expect Congress to continue to hold hearings on the subject – just don’t expect any agreement on the answers before 2018’s midterm elections.” With concerns about disinformation campaigns and data breaches, and claims of censorship-by-algorithm, expect this debate to continue past the 2020 election cycle. Grade: A+.
  4. The labor shortage and the gig economy will spark think-pieces about the nature of work. The labor shortage and the gig economy did get some coverage but we didn’t see as many think-pieces as we expected. However, there were think-pieces about the potential impact on jobs that robots will have on the nature of work. We expect more coverage of the impact of robots on jobs in 2019, along with calls to better track and understand the gig economy’s impact on the economy at large. Because we expected more essays about the labor shortage than we saw, we will reflect that in our grade. Grade: B+.
  5. Conversations about gender, sexuality and sexual harassment have changed – at least in the media. This was definitely true in 2018. We continued to see a big divide, and lots of anger, and unfortunately, both will continue next year. Grade: A.

Look for our predictions for 2019 before Christmas.

Meanwhile, tell us what you think. Did we get it right? Are we way off base? Drop us a note at birnbach [at] birnbachcom.com.

 
 
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