(CLIFF, CUSTOWNERS, COSMECEUTICALS, CIRCULAR AND CHOICE)
When I think about my undergraduate education and came home once with 5 Cs on my transcripts, it was not really an academic year to remember. 2013 looks like that!
There will be more unemployment across the world, with shocking youth unemployment figures, more companies will go bankrupt, food prices will increase, there will be social inequality and a few political elections to happen around the globe (e.g. Israel, Italy, Germany). That is the holistic picture. But what you make out of 2013 is entirely in your hands. Here are some issues to watch out for:
1. Fiscal Cliff
The US fiscal cliff will affect you! The cliff is a measure to stop the budgetary deficit of the USA. If no long-term agreement will be reached, every US household will have to pay on average 2000 USD more in taxes. More money needed for taxes means less for spending, and the US will end up into a deeper recession. Since the world economy is connected, and the US consumer contributes for 17% to the World GDP, we will enter an economic crisis too. If Joe Six-Pack is not consuming, they don’t buy our products. As a result, companies will lay off workers or get into bankruptcy. Politicians in Washington have a big responsibility!
2013 will embrace 2 innovative consumption models: presumers and custowners.
Presumers love to get involved, push and promote services and products before they are realized. Thanks to crowd-funding platforms and new (hoi…hoi…local manufacturing is coming back) manufacturing models, more opportunities will be created for them. According to The Economist, presumers did spend 2.8 billion USD on crowd-funding platforms in 2012, a 115% increase compared to 2011. Gartner predicts a 6.2 billion USD spending this year for these platforms.
Custowners are consumers who move from passively consuming a product towards investing in the brands they usually buy. However, these increasingly business-savvy consumers are often looking for both – a financial and emotional return, and therefore brands that are friendly, honest, trusted, transparent and human will be able to attract custowners.
Botox, schmotox….when it comes to anti-aging solutions, beauty seekers are starting to thumb their noses at injections in favor of cosmeceuticals; personal-care products with supposed skin-enhancing ingredients. Market research group Freedonia expects a 4.9% increase in this product line this year, with annual sales going to 9.4 billion USD by 2016. Men open your wallets!
4. Circular Economy
Due to the increasing prices of raw materials, we realize that the linear economy (Take-Make-Dispose pattern) will not have a brilliant future. A circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. Currently, we have the blacks (oil, coal) who have a serious battle with the greens (alternative energy resources). The winners will be the blues, the circular economy. This model will create a cost savings opportunity of 380 billion USD in the coming years for the global industry.
5. Four Generations in one Company
This year, we will have 4 generations working in a company: from grandfather to grandson…..and they all have their work processes and need to communicate with each other. Grandfather used the typewriter and the grandson only knows social media and smartphones. This is going to be a real challenge for management.
Technology-wise it is going to be a year of choice and BYOD (bring your own device). Another abbreviation you must learn is IOT (Internet of Things). The next big technological matter: the Cloud. People will have terrabytes of memory on their PC when they die, their virtual life continues. We are becoming smobile (social and mobile), thanks to our smartblet (smartphone and tablet).
7. Final Word: about Education
The modularization and personalization will increase. Students and employees will continue to learn, online or mobile, and with shorter (in time) course modules. I recommend that you take at least one hour daily, and read about topics which are interesting for your work or personal life, be it a printed book or an e-book. Turn your car into a mobile center, life-long learning is now present more than ever.
I wish you all a wonderful year! By the end of 2013, we will see how wrong or right I was with my predictions!
Bert Wolfs, Ph.D.
SBS Swiss Business School