“Don’t fight the trend,” is a familiar adage among the investing community. Earlier this year, global market research company Euromonitor International unveiled a list of global consumer trends to watch in 2019. Here we take an investor’s view on a few of them and the companies that are well-poised to capitalize on them.
“Boundaries of old age are shifting. As people live longer and take better care of themselves, older consumers feel and want to be treated as younger.”
Nobody puts boomers in a corner. T-Mobile (TMUS) CEO John Legere knows that Granny is on Instagram and Grandpa loves texting. He unleashed a five-minute, expletive-filled diatribe to introduce a new phone plan for the 55+ crowd. As The New York Times put it, Legere mocked rivals “for focusing on big buttons, phone call minutes and outdated flip phones.” He also reminded the world that boomers invented the internet.
Back to Basics for Status
“Shoppers are searching for authentic products and experiences, moving away from overt materialism to simplicity; from generic to higher quality products.”
Ottawa-based Shopify (SHOP) is a stock market phenomenon, up 48% in 2018, 120% in 2017 and 60% in 2016. The company allows artisans, boutique owners and local entrepreneurs to swiftly set up a global ecommerce platform and sell their wares directly to the world. Shopify has room to grow, as it holds third place for market share, behind Squarespace and WooCommerce, neither of which are public.
“What used to be the domain of ethically-positioned, niche producers are now being embraced by conventional companies through higher welfare products.”
Amazon (AMZN) is well aware that e-bikes are the hottest thing on wheels in Europe and are outselling traditional bicycles in The Netherlands. As the movement grows stateside, everyone is upping their game. Schwinn recently launched its elite Vantage FXe and RXe models, retailing between $3,500-$4,000 USD, and the only place to find them is on Amazon.
I Can Look After Myself
“As people become more self-sufficient, they take preventative measures against illness, unhappiness and discomfort without consulting a professional.”
Three letters: CBD. Cannabidiol, like THC, is derived from your old friend, the cannabis plant. Medical research is rapidly confirming the beneficial effects of CBD on everything from sleep regulation and PMS to inflammation and degenerative diseases. As the US and Europe loosen regulations, the best-looking companies have strong balance sheets and mitigate political risk with opportunities beyond their home market.
I Want it Now!
“Consumers seek instant gratification and frictionless experiences that mesh with their lifestyles, allowing them to dedicate more time to their professional or social lives.”
Collectively they are known as FAANG: Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX) and Google/Alphabet (GOOGL). The reason these tech behemoths are so successful is because they know what you look at, what you buy, what you like, and they’ve already got your credit card. Want to watch a movie, do some yoga stretches, read a book, hear a favourite song, order some tacos, book a vacation, buy a new tennis racket… while riding home in the back of a Lyft? Click, click, done.
“More people – especially older consumers – across the world break the stigma of living alone and embrace their independent lifestyles.”
Driving Miss Daisy? Autonomous cars are the chauffeurs of the future with the potential to help older people stay mobile without relying on their adult kids to drive them around. While the race is on to see which companies will emerge as the leaders of this sector, big funds have their money on Nvidia’s (NVDA) chip technology.