Trends, signposts to the future or passing crazes?

Trends have long been a useful tool for making business decisions, investing in stocks, buying, selling or holding property. On a personal level many of us follow trends when buying consumer items – especially clothing and mobile phones.



Some canny investors follow a contrarian strategy by going against the trend, buying when stock prices are falling and selling when they start rising.

Are trends in consumer items created and driven by buyers purchasing patterns? Or do emerging trends influence buyers behaviour? Probably some of both.

Right now there are signs of trends that will have a huge impact on our lives and the future of many businesses.

The obvious ones are getting wide publicity:

  • On-line shopping – Amazon & others.
  • Car sharing – Uber and others.
  • Drones for surveillance, inspections and deliveries.
  • Self driving cars.
  • Use of Renewable Energy for Domestic, Commercial and Industrial consumers.

Yesterday, I read a Market Watch report on the Payless Shoe Source’s bankruptcy filing.

This is not a financial blog, if you want more details read the full article at the link above.

However, there was one sentence in the article that made me aware of a major new trend:

Experiences and Services are now more in demand than “stuff”.

The article reports that profits – and stock prices are down at many major retailers with more bankruptcies expected.

Payless via for re-use

One unexpected trend that has contributed to Payless’ problems is the increase in on-line shopping for footwear. Conventional wisdom assumes that most people want to try shoes on before they buy. Now it seems more of us are happy to buy them on-line.

Trends that show major shifts in buying patterns are the ones that will cause huge disruption in markets, supply chains, distribution, employment and the viability of large and small businesses.

Will the preference for experiences over “stuff” result in better revenues for airlines, hotels, entertainment providers, adult education courses, life coaches, tour operators, cruise lines?

Will these patterns signal the death of the automobile industry as we know it? Does it mean the end of private car ownership for urban residents?

One thing is certain, these trends are signposts to a different future, even though some maybe passing fads.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

trends graphic courtesy aechan /

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