Hindsight is 20/20, but 2020 is also in our future. The National Federation of Independent Businesses asked my projection for the growth industries of the next decade. The easy picks continue to be energy, especially solar and health care, especially geriatrics. The trends for both are just too strong to ignore. There is a threat that government incentives will decline for solar but recent increases have improved production and installation techniques sufficiently to offset added costs. The Affordable Care Act has forced millions to pay for insurance and the population is aging so there is an obvious need with added capital to satisfy that need.
Two less obvious trends occur in the retail sector. The big retailers will continue to lose revenue to on-line shopping. It is much easier to buy direct from a manufacturer and the giant electronic retailers have increased distribution efficiencies. However, the drive to hunt and gather is deeply ingrained in human society. Folks still like to see and feel what they are buying. The vacant commercial real estate vacuum will be filled with value-added and interactive stores. The success of telephone and Apple stores is apparent. Selling technology is enhanced when there is a consulting person to settle consumer dissonance. Consumers will demand more interactive shopping as is found at Downtown Disney. More and more consumers will seek experiences that affect the senses.
These trends have already overtaken many hard goods, offering mass customization. Our recent kitchen remodel featured cabinets manufactured at a remote shop, but local trades-people offered design and customized installation. Local customization will seep into other fields like furniture, clothing, cars, sports equipment and more consumer goods.
Local customization is good news for entrepreneurs. They have or will develop skills faster than the majors can react. The empty boutiques will have racks and shelves but will feature glassed-in workshops with sewing machines and saws. They will received partially completed products, shipped knocked down to save on costs. In some cases, the brands of the main street stores will be more prominent than the remote manufacturers, so declining print shops will resurrect as graphic stores.
The future is the property of those with vision. Own it!
Russ Allred MBA