Disney Legend Buzz Price Honored With New Book Penned By Luminaries

Buzz Stories at Thirty Thousand Feet now available on amazon.com

As many of you know, I was fortunate to have a brilliant and funny mentor who could make me laugh until my cheeks were wet with tears and cry with his admonition, “this sentence is an abomination!”

My friend, David Price, son of the late Harrison “Buzz” Price asked about ten of Buzz’s closet inner circle to write a love song to Buzz.  The result is a new book about his father titled Buzz Stories at Thirty Thousand Feet.  My chapter is about coming of age in the era of white men 

Buzz was best known as the man who figured out, by mathematical formulas, where best to build both California’s Disneyland and later, Walt Disney World In Florida. He was honored for his achievement with Disney’s highest honors, a “Legend” award as well as a “Window on Main Street, U.S.A.”

Part memoir, part consulting primer, and part love story, Buzz Stories at Thirty Thousand Feet contains stories written by those with whom he shared his intelligence, humor, passion and wit. Each chapter stands on its own as a tribute to a well-rounded, intelligent, one-of-a-kind pioneer who saw numbers as a means to an end.


Generation Alpha

We ran out of alphabet to name generations, so the newest one coming up is starting over.  “Generation Alpha” are the children of Millennials and the grandchildren of Boomers.  They are classified as the babies, toddlers and kids born after 2010 and today number 20 million.

Marketers and futurists have put forth various predictions to one day sell them computers, soap and shoes, which I find a bit silly at this stage.  Some of the ideas are really out there, like transportation in driver-less flying cars, objectless communication (no more cell phones, you just  yell at the atmosphere), and floating on air to sleep (no beds).

In my world of sales and attendance projections for cities, developers, entertainment, retail and new attractions, we adopt pragmatic formulas based on data collection. But I also find it most useful to examine the traits of the generation that went before, and then assume they will do the opposite!

As background, here are the population numbers and some of the major traits of today’s generations:Each one is unique and very different from the one before it.

Think about it for a minute:  What did you do to be your own person?  If you are a Boomer, you burned your bra, put flowers in your hair, smoked dope, held rallies for free speech, marched on Selma Alabama, and dodged the draft.  You were a free spirit, no rules, except “ turn on, tune in, drop out”.  Our mores were a bit out there.  Sleeping with someone?  Sure, just do it ‘cause it feels good.  No Aids or other scary concerns.  “Never trust anyone over 30” was our cry, until we reached 30, and then it all changed.

We raised a generation that is very different than their parents, us Boomers.  They are thoughtful.  They save money.  Their kids are on schedules for feeding and sleeping.  monitored 24/7 with cameras, and cell phones.  These parents of young babies redefine “helicopter parenting”.   To be fair, some of this parenting is due to technological advances,  which were’t available to the Boomer generation.

Remember how we parented?  Feed them when their hungry, let them sleep when they’re tired and never-ever make them do something to which they strongly object.  Millennials  child-rearing is more like Boomer’s parents, the people we objected to and  whose rules we broke.

So what’s the take-away based on “prior generation rebellion” logic?  That this new generation may be rebels.  Granted they will be the most educated generation ever, they will be astute learners, they will write code on their digital devices by the time they are 7.  But will they smoke dope, drink beer, let their hair grow and wear flowy dresses and shirts, stage love-ins?  Probably not, because they will find their own unique way to live .

Some Future Behaviors We Hope Don’t Happen:

Technological advances may affect these kids’ personalities, communication skills and emotional health.

For sure, they will be able to operate digital devices before they can read and write.  They may prefer to watch other children playing with toys (on video screens) rather than actually playing with the toys .  Predictions put their screen time a 7 hours a day!

They will be able to shop, learn, and entertain themselves without talking to another human being.

They may be able to go to school online, which I can’t image a parent wanting!  They will be home 24 hours a day!  No, no, no, that can’t happen.  But it could.

Dating may come via an app and that could be the norm.  With sites like Bumble, Tinder, and Plenty of Fish, these kids will have a multitude of opportunities to meet, without ever looking a person in the eye.  Hopefully, they will eventually get out of their bedrooms and go on  a real date with a real person at a real movie or restaurant or skating rink.

To sell to them someday, marketers will need to understand their hearts and minds, their motivation, wants and needs.  We will need to watch them closely as they grow up.

Let us know what you think, what your experience is, where you see this new generation headed.  We love your feedback.

Boxed-Retail Frenzy

Last week we published a blog about retail disruptors and included two boxed-apparel e-commerce success stories.  On June 20, Amazon announced that Prime Wardrobe, a boxed apparel product, is now available to all domestic Prime customers.  Users can order three fashion items or more with no upfront fee, send it  back after a week or pay for those they like.  Of course, there is no shipping fee for returns.

We are seeing the lights go on at online retail.  Women need to try things on, feel the material, look in a mirror before they decide to buy, and that hasn’t changed with e-commerce. It is predicted that 25% of e-commerce  retailers will offer this service by next year.

One huge issue with this type of service is  returns, which may greatly increase operating expense.  According to a new survey from Brightpearl, more than 85% of customers expect free returns.

Another huge cost to online retailers is the Supreme Court ruling on June 22 that states and localities may require the collection of sales taxes on all internet purchases.  This cost will be passed on the consumer, making goods purchased on the internet more expensive.  Price for an online item  is often critical for a purchase decision.

As I often say about these kinds of innovations, we shall see…………… For me and many of the women I know, shopping in a store fulfills the need for immediacy and the need to use all our senses,  our touch and sight  and smell before buying.

Retail Disruptors / Retail Innovators

There is much chatter regarding technologies disrupting retail today. To me, a “disruptor” is a platform by which our lives are made easier and better. I always have my eye on the actual product and the in-store experience (which may or may not be enhanced by technological innovations.) The IoT will never replace the actual experience of being in a beautifully turned-out store, where we can touch, feel, smell and embrace our potential purchases. This Blog presents our view of the top retailers disrupting today. They include Stitch Fix, M.M. LaFleur, ModCloth, Rothy’s and Bespoke. All five of these have a big digital presence and four of them have a physical location.

Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix Head Quarters

Stitch Fix is an online fashion retailer whose concept came from the produce delivery business. Its founder understood that ordering a box of produce and paying only for what you like or decide to use could be applied to fashion. Stitch Fix is a personal styling, time saver, where complete outfits, including accessories are sent to the user on a fixed time schedule. The client can select what they want to keep and send the rest back.
The business model earns revenue from a $20 initial investment of a “styling fee”, which is applied to the purchase; and the mark-up on clothes, shoes and accessories purchased through the site. An average purchase includes five items estimated at a minimum total cost of $275, and the client receives a 25% discount for buying the entire outfit. The client is given three days to review the items and send them back in prepaid packing. The company did an IPO in 2017 and now has a current market cap value of $2.4 billion.

M.M. Lafleur

Since the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, a new retailer has entered the styling/box space, but with a new twist. M.M. Lafleur provides a stylist for business and “creative casual” with a more expensive offering than its doppelganger. Average price for a top is $110, and a dress about $250. The site is geared toward business women. The New York brand opened its first store in San Francisco on Grant Ave in 2018 and allows customers to select any item from their website for purchase individually. Other new stores are open or will be opening soon in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Mod Cloth

ModCloth caters to Millennial women of all sizes and opened a store within their corporate building on Fillmore Street in San Francisco. The fashion retailer was sold to Jet in 2017 for about $50 million. Jet is a Walmart owned, Amazon-like online retailer with free shipping for purchases over $35. The fashion brand bills itself as a “quirky, trendy and vintage apparel site that caters to Millennials”.  A quick look at the offerings indicates a very affordable product, including a wedding dress for $120!


Rothy’s is an interesting retailer that offers shoes made of totally recycled materials and 3D-knit.  The 600 square foot store on Fillmore Street in San Francisco was opened to conduct consumer research before offering a specific product to ecommerce worldwide. The space is covered by their recycled materials, and the walls are entirely magnetic.


Bespoke is a co-working space which debuted at Westfield San Francisco Center on the ground floor.  Approximately 80 companies work in the space, including retail-tech startups, venture capitalists and innovating teams from large brands. According to an article, “When Bespoke launched in Westfield San Francisco Centre on May 28, 2015, it was a first-of-its-kind ecosystem combining three components. While the individual components of Bespoke were tried and true (spaces for co-working, demos and events), never before had all three of these components been built to act in harmony, and never before had this type of an environment existed inside a shopping center. While the partners responsible for the launch of Bespoke – Westfield San Francisco Centre, Westfield Labs, Westfield Corporation and partner Forest City – all had great expectations for the success of the space, which is still attracting attention two years later”.

Finally, a word about the long term. Westfield’s Destination 2028 includes a vision of a retail environment with “hanging sensory gardens, artificial intelligence infused walkways in an environment designed to cater to every need of new generation shoppers”. This concept focuses on the growing importance customers place on experience, leisure, wellness and community.

This is all good news for us consumers, don’t you think?  Let us know your views on retail and the future by leaving your comments here.


JB Research is Moving



Dear Friends, Colleagues and Clients,

We are thrilled to announce our move to the new office in Vallejo, California.  From now on, please address all correspondence to:

JB Research Company

2331 Lansdowne Place

Vallejo, CA 94591

(707) 563-8507 Office

(805) 798-1800 Cell

Young Adults


Some say Gen Y, or Millennials, are a lazy, over-parented, indulged cohort.  Being the mother of two Millennials, both parents, home-owners and extremely responsible young men, I tended to strongly disagree.  Are you sensing a “but” here?

I wanted to see if this is true statistically.  So I embarked on a study of current census data, and to my surprise and delight, the United States Census had already done this for me!  What I found is that there is striking statistical support for some of these beliefs.

Below is a summary table of some of the information collected and collated by the government.  What is most illuminating is that almost one third of this cohort lives with their parents, while only one quarter did a quarter century ago.  A huge number live in poverty, more than 13.5 million, while only 9.5  million lived under the same conditions in 1990.  This is not good news!

Young Adults Table

In 1990, 15% spoke a language other than English at home.  Now about one in four are brought up in a household in which English may not be spoken at home.  What we all know is true, these young people are 43% “minority,” whereas only 27% were in the “minority” in 1990.  This is a positive in our country, since we are all “minorities,” and we are all immigrants, but classifications have changed since we emigrated from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and other continents.

One great finding is that 22% have earned a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, while only 17% had this level of advanced education in 1990. And remember, many of these people are on their way to earning a Bachelor’s degree because they are still in college.

Analyzing these data in graphic form illuminates these findings.

1.  Median earnings are waaaay down in the past quarter century!

Median Earnings.JPG

2.  This population segment is highly diverse.

Millenials Figure 2

3.  Asian Americans show about 60% of this cohort in college, while Blacks and Hispanics show increases in student enrollment, making up 30% of each of their population bases in this age range.

Millenials Figure 7

4.  We need more Millennials in the STEM fields!

Millenials Figure 8

5.  Student debt is a big problem for our college students.

Millenials Figure 9

6.  About half of college students are working, a bit less than in 1990 when that total was about 60%.

Millenials Figure 12

7.   Women are out-pacing men in Bachelor’s Degrees conferred and with some Graduate School.  It has been this way since 1994!

Millenials Figure 22

8.  As always, with this generation, the higher the level of education, the higher the average household income.

Millenials Figure 18

9.  And for older Millennials, long unemployment as a percentage of total unemployment is higher than ever, up from 15% in 1977 to over 40% in 2014.

Millenials Figure 21

10.  Millennials are marrying older.

Millenials Figure 26

11.  Educated Millennials are having kids later.

Millenials Figure 28

12.  And almost a third still live with parents.

Millenials Figure 29

My conclusions from these data is that Millennial issues stem more from  the Great Recession, and the fact that they are dogged by student debt rather than their lack of ambition.  They entered the workforce at a terrible economic point in our history.  As REAL wages increase, and the economy improves, they will quickly be absorbed into the grown-up population.

Tell me what you think.  I always love hearing from our readers!


I am just back from ICSC.  Besides much discussion of the demise or denial of the demise of  bricks and mortar shopping opportunities, I saw a presentation about this “Gender Parity” study completed by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI).  Take a look!

Click Picture to Download Report

“Narrowing the global gender gap in work would not only be equitable in the broadest sense but could double the contribution of women to global GDP growth between 2014 and 2025. Delivering that impact, however, will require tackling gender equality in society.

“MGI has mapped 15 gender equality indicators for 95 countries and finds that 40 of them have high or extremely high levels of gender inequality on at least half of the indicators. The indicators fall into four categories: equality in work, essential services and enablers of economic opportunity, legal protection and political voice, and physical security and autonomy.  We consider a “full-potential” scenario in which women participate in the economy identically to men, and find that it would add up to $28 trillion, or 26 percent, to annual global GDP in 2025 compared with a business-as-usual scenario. This impact is roughly equivalent to the size of the combined US and Chinese economies today. We also analyzed an alternative “best-in-region” scenario in which all countries match the rate of improvement of the best-performing country in their region. This would add as much as $12 trillion in annual 2025 GDP, equivalent in size to the current GDP of Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined, or twice the likely growth in global GDP contributed by female workers between 2014 and 2025 in a business-as-usual scenario.

“Both advanced and developing countries stand to gain. In 46 of the 95 countries analyzed, the best in-region outcome could increase annual GDP in 2025 by more than 10 percent over the business as-usual case, with the highest relative boost in India and Latin America.

“MGI’s new Gender Parity Score, or GPS, measures the distance each country has traveled toward gender parity, which is set at 1.00. The regional GPS is lowest in South Asia (excluding India) at 0.44 and highest in North America and Oceania at 0.74. Using the GPS, MGI has established a strong link between gender equality in society, attitudes and beliefs about the role of women, and gender equality in work. The latter is not achievable without the former two elements. We found virtually no countries with high gender equality in society but low gender equality in work. Economic development enables countries to close gender gaps, but progress in four areas in particular— education level, financial and digital inclusion, legal protection, and unpaid care work—could help accelerate progress.

“MGI has identified ten “impact zones” (issue-region combinations) where effective action would move more than 75 percent of women affected by gender inequality globally closer to parity. The global impact zones are blocked economic potential, time spent in unpaid care work, fewer legal rights, political underrepresentation, and violence against women, globally pervasive issues. The regional impact zones are low labor-force participation in quality jobs, low maternal and reproductive health, unequal education levels, financial and digital exclusion, and girl-child vulnerability, concentrated in certain regions of the world.

“Six types of intervention are necessary to bridge the gender gap: financial incentives and support; technology and infrastructure; the creation of economic opportunity; capability building; advocacy and shaping attitudes; and laws, policies, and regulations. We identify some 75 potential interventions that could be evaluated and tailored to suit the social and economic context of each impact zone and country.

“Tackling gender inequality will require change within businesses as well as new coalitions. The private sector will need to play a more active role in concert with governments and non-governmental organizations—and companies could benefit both directly and indirectly by taking action.”