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January 04, 2010

The Year Ahead: Trends and Predictions

Catherine New
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Faculty members shared their predictions about trends that will shape the year ahead. Please leave a comment with your prediction for 2010.

Mark Cohen on retail
The luxury bubble will continue to deflate, and only those truly special brands with real brand equity will recover; value players like Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, etc., will see renewed strength. The middle market of poorly differentiated specialty and department stores that lack a clear fashion and value strategy will continue to struggle, and it is unlikely that retail sales will retrace their pre-recession levels until 2011.

Cliff Cramer on the healthcare industry
Consolidation will be a major theme in 2010 as insurers and hospitals seek additional leverage in contract negotiations and pharmaceutical companies explore transformational mergers to broaden product lines, strengthen geographic breadth (emerging markets) and manage earnings in response to major patent expirations in the near term.

Brett Gordon on marketing and technology
Intel will face continued legal pressure from the Federal Trade Commission and the New York attorney general’s office for its alleged anti-competitive practices despite the $1.25B settlement with AMD in November 2009. Online newspapers and other media outlets will test new revenue generation models in a last ditch attempt to stay afloat. Monetization strategies for online video (e.g., Hulu, YouTube) will get serious attention from firms seeking to lure back advertising dollars with more advanced technology.

Paul Ingram on management
Organizational culture will enjoy a renaissance. Firms will increasingly recognize that shared values can attract and retain employees to the company and that the common orientation of a strong culture allows coordinated responses to unforeseen and emerging challenges. In the next year and beyond, organizations with strong cultures will outperform others, and leaders will focus on building those cultures.

Wei Jiang on the economy
As much as we think that we learned from the crisis, new bubbles are already forming thanks to the easy monetary policies around the world. In particular, the weak dollar has fueled a massive rally in 2009 in a wide range of risky assets — equities, commodities and emerging markets — through carry trades. We are facing the danger of a recurring asset bust in the coming years if and when the dollar reverses.

Jonathan Knee on the media industry
The inexorable fragmentation of media will continue in 2010, Comcast’s acquisition of NBCU notwithstanding. This trend will have no impact, however, on the persistent and irrational fears of regulators, politicians and the public that the global markets for media may fall under the control of a handful of malevolent moguls at any moment.

Homepage photo credit: Bart Hiddink