Editorial Roundtable: 9 Bold Consumer Predictions For The Year 2020
adidas, GE, Pinterest, Stitch Fix, American Giant, Allbirds, Helix Sleep, hmbldt and Ready Set Rocket tell us what they predict for the year when consumers fully seize away control from brands, retailers and institutions
PSFK’s Editorial Roundtable series takes its inspiration from the traditional roundtable: bringing together industry insiders to share their insights on emerging and compelling trends in an idea-friendly manner. PSFK guides the discussion and our roundtable helps guide the future.
As a sort of epilogue to a Year 2016 marked by displacement, we predict 2020 will be the year when consumers seize away control. (Yes, from you, brands, corporations and governments). What that means is that the consumer will stop being simply a consumer. They’ll become the consumer cycle itself, wielding control over more than just consumption. As our Forecast 2020 predicts, the supply chains, media channels, and product offerings that were once determined for the consumer will be determined by the consumer.
As the closing act to the twenty-tens (and the opening act to the twenty-twenties), 2020 will serve as a preview to not just the fully empowered consumer but the prospect of ‘people as business platforms.’
But three years separate us from then and now, and we must first learn how to crawl before we can fly civilian missions to Mars. As folks forever-fixated on what lies ahead, PSFK wants to know: what will come to define 2017, 2018, and 2019 in order to facilitate 2020’s retelling? How can brands and other propped-up institutions respond to the shift? If consumers come to replace the organizations that once supplied them with products, services and messages, what will become of consumerism as we now know it?
To answer some of these looming questions, we’ve turned to a handful of experts, who include:
Katrina Lake | CEO and Founder of Stitch Fix – the personal style service for women and gents that evolves alongside its users.
Eric Liedtke | Executive Board Member at adidas – more than simply a household name, the sportswear manufacturer has become a lifestyle for many a mobile consumer.
Linda Boff | CMO at GE – serving industries in the medical, automotive and financial spaces, the multinational corporation can be called ‘innovation incarnate’ for all of the novelty it’s brought into the world.
Brian Monahan | Head of Vertical Strategy at Pinterest – the inspiration-collecting site that has elevated the act of ‘pin-ing’ into an enterprise valued in the billions.
Derek McCarty | VP of Marketing at hmbldt – a health and wellness brand delivering bliss and calm through cannabis-based solutions.
Adam Tishman | Co-Founder of Helix Sleep – a direct-to-consumer company using an algorithm to personalize mattresses to consumers’ sleep styles and body types.
Aaron Harvey | Co-Founder and Executive Creative Director at Ready Set Rocket – a digital agency that specializes in connecting consumers and brands by means of innovative and award-winning multi-channel experiences.
Tim Brown | Co-Founder of Allbirds – makers of the ‘world’s most comfortable shoe.’
Bayard Winthrop | CEO of American Giant – the direct-to-consumer clothing company knows a thing or two about the ever-changing worlds of distribution and marketing.
(Below is the fourth and final part of a four-part editorial series).
Short and sweet: What’s your boldest consumer prediction for 2020?
Brian Monahan | Head of Vertical Strategy at Pinterest
“By 2020, visual search will be how consumers expect to transact. If you can see it, you can buy it.”
Linda Boff | CMO at GE
“The majority of consumers will have AI in their homes and may not even realize it.”
Katrina Lake | CEO and Founder of Stitch Fix
“By 2020, 100 percent of what is sold in retail will be by recommendation. Whether it’s from friends, experts or influencers, our lives will be rich with relevant sources to help us find what we love.”
Tim Brown | Co-Founder of Allbirds
“Absolute transparency. Company scandals will be a thing of the past because potential customers will have access to–and interest in–every aspect of the business. With the rise of direct-to- consumer brands, there has been burgeoning interest in previously back-end facets of a brand: important but unsexy workings like material sourcing and supply chain. I see this trend continuing, and consumers having a vested interest in every detail of the goods they’re purchasing. I see it as a positive trend, with consumers holding businesses accountable for their practices, and building a more beneficial network of companies and organizations.”
Bayard Winthrop | CEO of American Giant
“There’s already a downward pressure on traditional retailers to deliver on being a substantive, value-driven and transparent brand. That pressure will only get stronger, and brands that can’t deliver will continue to fail. Traditional brands will continue to be forced to make hard decisions about their brand in order to adapt—or die.”
Eric Liedtke | Executive Board Member at adidas
“Consumer = Creator.
Digital Innovation has been one of the driving forces in social change over the last two and a half decades globally. This will not slow down. The reality of the consumer will be increasingly shaped by the combination of technology and a return to traditional values in addition to the global consciousness about the need to live more responsibly. Consumers will more and more turn into creators and challenge brands to take a stand and lead change.”
Derek McCarty | VP of Marketing at hmbldt
“Technology, as a platform for connectivity, and dissatisfaction and distrust in established systems will empower consumers to reclaim very non-tech things, like food and healthcare. You’ll see less dependence on the established system and a rise in decentralized/consumer-owned basics like clothes, healthcare and food.”
Adam Tishman | Co-Founder at Helix Sleep
“Virtual reality makes trying products so simple that in-store visits become somewhat obsolete.”
Aaron Harvey | Co-Founder and Executive Creative Director at Ready Set Rocket
“Consumers will look outside America for technology and lifestyle trends.”
The PSFK 2020 Forecast strategizes how brands and organizations can remain relevant as the power of choice grows in the hands of the individual. By analyzing important shifts over the past year, PSFK’s research team has studied how consumers are increasingly tailoring information and products to their own needs. The full report is designed as a roadmap for brands, retailers and organizations to reestablish themselves as platforms for guidance and encouragement. Download the full report here, and learn more about PSFK’s Intelligence Platform.
Note: If you would like to participate in a coming PSFK Editorial Roundtable, please contact us here.
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A talk from Scott Bedbury at PSFK 2017 stresses the importance of transparency in a country that has fallen prey to “alternative facts”