A Look Ahead.

Things I Think For 2023.

Over the holidays I took a break with JustMyTake and I am definitely ready get started with my weekly posts. As we are already into the second week of the new year, I thought I would provide some random thoughts and takes on what we may see and experience in 2023. I have a note in my calendar to review my predictions at year-end. As always, your comments are welcome.

The World, The Economy & Finance

The Russia-Ukraine war will continue with no cease fire. As long as Putin is in power, he will continue to justify his existence with his goal of a Ukrainian land grab. A sad and alarming conflict.

Imposition of Islamic law, a continuing economic crisis, lack of freedom of expression, violation of women’s rights, and the killing of Mahsa Amini. Yes, Iranians will continue to protest, and violence will continue throughout the year.

The environment again becomes top-of-mind for the world. Going green was ‘too costly’ years ago, but the world, based on science and data, has no choice but to level-set sustainable environmental policies and controls. It will be more than residential recycling. Way more. A new generation of thinking will want our planet to heal, dictating carbon-reducing agriculture and massive incentives for farmers and others who grow food. I know, I write like I am living in the Arlo Guthrie/Joan Baez era, but seriously, something has to give with the way all of us are altering the environment.

More banking institutions will shy away from consumer services, as the onslaught and availability of online banking continues to keep people out of bank branches. As more secure and encrypted virtual communication comes online, why would the consumer spend time to travel to a bricks and mortar branch when they can just simply schedule a ‘zoom-type’ virtual visit with their favorite banker?

Speaking of virtual visits, the number of virtual healthcare visits will skyrocket in 2023. Same as above: If you do not need to be examined by a doctor, there is no reason to wait days for your appointment, travel to the doctor’s office, sit in their sometimes unhealthy waiting room, and receive the same information and prescriptions from your doctor that you could have obtained on a virtual call.

Regarding unhealthy offices and waiting rooms, indoor air quality will become a mainstream strategy and practice. The science and data around indoor air quality having a direct correlation to airborne viruses and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is vast and eye-opening.

Look for the acronym ‘ACH’ to become mainstream. ACH, or air change rate, is the number of times that the total air volume in a room or space is completely removed and replaced in an hour. See above regarding indoor air quality. Why is this important? If your air change rate is too high, you are losing air that you are paying to heat or cool. If the rate is too low, your air becomes stale and stagnant, which can lead to a buildup of toxins, viruses, pathogens, VOCs and the like.

Equity markets, other than the S&P 500, will actually have a decent year. The pending recession has yet to fully bite into corporate earnings expectations or stock valuation…but it will later this year.

Investors will focus on profits this year and not worry too much about top-line growth. I always loved the old adage, “We want year-over-year double-digit growth AND we want a substantial increase with margins all the way down to the EBITDA line. Uh huh. I know my friend and private equity executive, Chris A., will chime in on this one. 🙂

The Fed will stay the course by raising rates to ensure inflation stays in check. See the next item.

Real estate will be problematic, with mortgage rates unacceptable and home prices still too steep. The Fed will continue to manage inflation by raising the fed rate, which bottom line will raise 30-year mortgage rates to 8%+ and lead to homes sales dropping 10% in 2023.

The cannabis industry will continue to scale, with bigger brands and entities entering the once ‘taboo’ space. There are many dynamics with cannabis, and the massive growth of the industry will be fueled by public policy to improve access and streamline regulations. Hockey stick growth may be waning, but the projected numbers show the industry will grow from $30 billion back in 2021 to $55 billion in 2026, a compound annual growth rate of 13%. It will be very interesting how regulation will play out with this industry.

Self-driving cars will still have barriers for consumer use, but government entities will quickly acquire self-driving fleets to offset labor costs.

Food, Media & Entertainment

Netflix will merge or be acquired by Paramount or Disney. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts…

Due to socio-economic drivers, we will see a surge in group outings and group activities. Bowling, which no longer is just bowling, will surge with continued development of multi-purpose bowling venues. Drink, eat, play, meet, socialize….and yes, bowl. Look for the continued swell of pickleball, indoor and outdoor soccer, chess and checkers parlors, group cooking, and art-type classes to get people engaged with one another. What a concept, huh?

Kitsch will be the go-to, cool design look. Why? I have no clue. I think we previously used the term ‘eclectic’ but I will leave the word kitsch to the interior and fashion designers of the world.

“Digital nomadism” will continue at a high rate and the ‘hush’ trip will be the travel trend of 2023. Scenario: Remote workers pack up and head somewhere new for a limited amount of time—think a week or two, rather than all year—without ever telling their employer. They then login, get to work, and save some time to explore a new city or area.

The National Football League will announce one or two international franchises. Think Munich, London, or Mexico City.

Disney, with their former CEO now back in the captain’s seat, will divest and refocus on core businesses. That could mean they spin off ESPN. Crazy right?

Twitter, with Elon Musk driving the ship, will alter its platform and offerings, driving subscription rates with comedy and other entertainment offerings. Yes, Musk will streamline Twitter’s headcount while expanding their platform.

The platform initiated by OGT Management, where you can order food at airports and other venues before you get to the restaurant, will quickly become a standard platform and practice. Think about the ease of ordering and limited time waiting on a server… and quickly receiving your food, drink, and tab.

Southwest Airlines, after their massive technology debacle last month, will take a $1 billion dollar hit…and become ripe for acquisition. Shame on their lack of technology and redundancies.

REALITY: Last Monday night’s football game, between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, reminded us of how precious and fragile life can be. It looks like Damar Hamlin has turned the corner and we can only hope he continues to progress to the point of having a normal quality of life. For all parents, and their children playing contact sports, take a look at this product from Unequal Technologies. https://unequal.com/commotio-protection/

Unequal Technologies has done a great deal of work with commotio cordis.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and have a Funday Sunday!

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