I love making predictions. It gives me a chance to explore the universe and “wish” something into existence. I’m certain most of the below guesses will not happen in 2015—or probably ever—but, making a case for these to occur gives some insight into what I’m thinking across a lot of areas where I really have no competence or confidence. I’d love to hear any feedback about how unlikely or ridiculous you think some of these predictions are.
Stock Markets: The bull market rises for a eighth straight year. On the backs of continued low interest rates, low oil “stimulus,” European & Japanese monetary stimulus, and poor investing environments elsewhere in Russia (geopolitics, inflation, and oil), China (slowing growth), and South America (inflation, oil, and political fears), the S&P 500 rises 14% to 2,347. The Eurozone (STOXX 50) outperforms the S&P 500 by 10% after several years of underperformance. Disney is the top performer in the Dow.
Economy: Low oil prices act as a Godsend for consumer discretionary spending. The unemployment rate falls to 5.4% from 5.8% today. Real GDP growth continues, although a bit slower. After growing 4.6 and 5% in Q2 and 3 in ’14, and forecasts at about 2.5% for Q4, we see real GDP growth in 2015 average 3.5%. Oil bottoms out in April at $38 dollars per barrel amid a warm winter and an ever stronger dollar. OPEC announces a surprise meeting; while they refuse to agree on production cuts, the perception of a surprise meeting along with a strong Q1 GDP number is enough to stop the price capitulation.
Business: Radioshack, Sears, and Ruby Tuesday all go bankrupt. Yahoo will continue on its streak of terrible and overpriced acquisitions, paying huge premiums with the Alibaba payday to acquire Zynga, Shutterfly, Blackberry, and Coupons.com. Marissa Mayer remains as Yahoo’s CEO, albeit against tremendous shareholder pressure to step down. Cable television providers, after losing 50,000 and 100,000 subscribers over the last two years, accelerate the pace of defection, losing a net one million (!) subscriptions.
Other Mergers & Acquisitions:
- Disney buys Hasbro:
Disney continues to build up its portfolio of stellar brands by buying Hasbro. This nets Disney the toy rights to Disney’s recently-purchased Star Wars maker LucasFilm. Disney also gets the venerable Transformers and GI Joe franchises and movie rights. This adds television properties like My Little Pony, G.I. Joe, and Littlest Pet Shop to Disney’s television portfolio.
- Amazon buys Instacart:
It’s already widely known that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wants to revolutionize the grocery space in the same manner as he’s revolutionized the “everything else” space. He grabs the lead in the grocery delivery movement by purchasing Instacart. I promise that in two years, even your grandmother will know the name Instacart. It simply makes too much sense to have a streamlined grocery delivery service. Can you honestly tell me that it makes sense that every single family needs to physically go to the same store once per week to get the same things they got last week? This industry is ripe for disruption–mark my words.
- Apple Buys GoPro:
The Apple Watch turns out as a rousing success with 33 million units sold. The reason Android Wear and Google Glass have so far failed to live up to expectations does not befall the Apple Watch, as the app development community for iOS is the best-of-breed. Tim Cook maintains the device momentum and buys the hottest new thing, GoPro, giving them a fantastic and fast-growing brand in a niche they’ve never dominated–cameras.
Nick Woodman, CEO of GoPro, recently said this:
“But the challenge is, my family is trapped on stacks of SD cards on my desk. This has become a big inspiration: How do we help our customers manage all this content — take 30 minutes captured at the park or on the mountain, compress it into the one or two minutes other people actually want to watch, then share it? That’s really the next phase for GoPro.”
So, their next big movement is in streamlining the video editing/upload/sharing process. Interfacing with Apple’s iCloud, using iMovie, and leveraging the new near-field communication technology now built into iPhone is the conduit to realizing Woodman’s goal.
Sports: 2015 Championship winners are as follows: NFL: Denver Broncos; NBA: Portland Trailblazers; NHL: Nashville Predators; MLB: LA Dodgers.
I’ll follow up on the accuracy of these in 12 months. What do you think?
Thanks for reading!