It’s a question on everyone’s mind. In times of uncertainty, we look to the past, we look to the future, because we just can’t understand what’s going on right now!
In my world (and probably yours), I am working digitally. That’s nothing new for me. But right now, I have a profound sense of loneliness. I miss the sights and sounds of movies, shopping, visiting with my grandkids, even going to doctor’s appointments! I miss the gym (well maybe not too much) and I miss going out to dinner!!
In these quiet moments, I’ve been thinking about how our world will change in the next five years. Here are five of my predictions about what we will be doing and how we will be doing it in 2025.
- People have short memories. That’s a good thing. If it were not so, no one would ever have a second child! One of my major prognostications is that the gathering spots all over the nation will be teeming with people and activity. But it will be different. Visitors will “keep their distance”, be more polite, and leave space for their fellows both in front and back. This new behavior will change necessary planning factors for public assembly. Our current “order-of-magnitude” space requirements for various entertainment and attraction venues – theme parks, movies, museums, convention/conference centers and retail spaces – are all planned this way. We will need new numbers, and that will put pressure on the size of many of our social institutions and facilities. This will make them bigger, and thus likely more expensive to build.
- Consumers will pivot spending from big ticket items to more affordable choices. Theme parks and cinemas are considered recession-proof. That’s not true, but they are much more sustainable than expensive cars, hotels, high-priced vacations and restaurants during and after a recession.
As a corollary, Millennials who are the darlings of advertisers and the future of our country’s spending, will keep on the same consumption track, preferring experiences to things. But the experiences will be closer to home and without as much adventure as before.
These Millennial consumers are:
- Born between 1980 – 1994
- Number 72 Million
- Ages: 25-39
- Forming Families Now
- 29% of Adults in the U.S.
- Ethnically Diverse
- Tech Savvy
- Prefer Experiences to Things (So important to keep in mind for retailers!)
- Prefer Health to Wealth
- Prefer Mobile/Digital Communication
- Responsible for $14 billion in consumption expenditure
More fascinating though is the amount spent by Generation X, those consumers born from 1965 to 1980, and aged 40 to 55. These are the most prolific spenders, accounting for $24 billion in annual expenditure. Why we aren’t planning for and paying more attention to these mid-life consumers is beyond my understanding! (In fact, a comparison of the average annual expenditure on Entertainment by cohort shows GenXers spending $3,231 per household, followed by Boomers at $3,286 per household and finally the younger Millennial Generation at $2,186 per household. Average for the nation is about $2,800.)
These expenditures will likely be at the same in 2025 as they are today. But smart owners and developers will target the groups that spend the most.
- New entertainment-infused projects that continue planning and development during this relatively short period of confinement will come out on top. These projects will be first to market. If planners/owners develop well thought out, well designed, well executed projects with rational business plans, they will reap the benefits of a surge in demand immediately following the downturn and thereafter.
- Cultural entities such as museums and live theaters will present content that is relevant, easily understood and fundable. They will likely lag behind the uptick in commercial entertainment activity. This is because spending for nonprofit activities are seen as more discretionary than other forms of entertainment. In fact, for the past 20 years, expenditures on cultural attractions have been slipping. Why? Baby Boomer parents did not do a good job of educating their children on the value of theater and art. That’s the number one factor in propensity to spend on the arts: exposure as a child. Our institutions will reflect the society and cultural needs of a diverse population. Many of our older institutions were born in a homogeneous America that no longer exists.
- We will return to a simpler time, albeit with sophisticated tech all around us. Everything old will become new. Consumption of just plain fun with some silliness will be the norm!
While living abroad for a year, I experienced this uncomplicated world that offered simpler and enduring fun.
I went to the mountains with my friends:
I attended Oktoberfest in Munich:
I attended opera at La Scala and the Teatro dell’Opera di Firenze. I went to formal dances:
And I lightened up, became a kid again, upped my joie de vivre:
What are your thoughts about the world after Covid-19? Write us and let us know. We want to keep connecting with our friends during this time.