It’s 2020? Where did the 2010s go?

Is it just me or does it seem like 2010 was yesterday?  The decade flew by.  Time for a review of my 2019 predictions and a look into 2020.

As my 2019 trends/predictions demonstrate (humbly provided below), there’s a reason I’m selling labels and not a psychic.  You can read below but had you done the opposite of what I suggested in 2019, you’d be sitting pretty.  I still believe in trends towards increasing volatility in financial markets and supply chains.  I also think there will be an environmental backlash against direct to consumer shipping at some point, but I have no idea when that will occur. 

Without further ado, here is what I see for 2020.

  1. The trend away from growth at any cost that has started in the technology sector spreads to the entire economy.  Profits do indeed matter.  Public companies will miss revenue forecasts and say they are focused on profitability instead of growth.  That mindset will permeate the entire economy.  Expect to see signs of inflation as a result, especially in consumer services that have been heavily subsidized over the last few years (ride sharing, package delivery, food delivery). 
  2. The US economy continues to chug along.  Low growth continues.  Financial markets have tantrums over international affairs and concerns over the US election, but economic growth in the 2% range remains.   
  3. In the good ol’ label/packaging industry, expect more of the same trends we have seen for the last few years.  Consolidation will continue.  Convergence of print technologies and functions will continue.  The aging of our workforce will force companies to get more creative in how they attract young people to what is incorrectly perceived as a dying industry. 

I hope you enjoy a healthy and prosperous 2020. 

2019 trends/predictions

  1. To state the obvious, after a relatively calm period, volatility returned to the financial markets in the last several weeks. It will continue and impact the economy.  Banks will begin to tighten credit standards.  Economic growth will surprise on the downside at some point during the year.  Overall, the US economy will grow but the growth rate will slow.  (This is a prediction I would love to be wrong about.)
  2. Expect volatility in your supply chain as shortages in raw material components (real or perceived) are possible. Top concerns are thermal transfer ribbons, release liners, and certain adhesive components.  As I’ve written in the past, price does not matter when you cannot get something.  Be prepared for longer lead times.
  3. The death of bricks and mortar retail continues to be greatly exaggerated. For environmental and cost reasons, direct to consumer shipping slows.  Merchants will encourage (translation: monetarily reward) consumers to pick up items ordered online at centralized locations.

The New Year is a great opportunity to reflect on what went right, what went wrong, and what you can do to change your future.  I hope you create the 2019 of your dreams.

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