A Fearless Forecast for 2019

It’s that time of year again when we dust off our crystal ball, peer into it deeply, and choose our best and boldest predictions for the coming year. So let’s get to it: Werth’s fearless forecast for 2019!

To see how we fared with last year’s predictions, click here

LeBron James will have more Twitter followers than Donald Trump.

The Akron native NBA star has 42 million Twitter followers – just 10 million fewer than the president of the United States. While President Trump has proven to be an unrivaled master of the medium, his market share has probably peaked. LeBron, on the other hand, is poised to grow, picking up gains thanks to entering the Los Angeles market – second largest in the nation behind new York. James’ HBO talk show, The Shop, a movie deal with Paramount Pictures and his ongoing political commentary won’t hurt, either.

The flip phone will make a comeback.

2019 will return us to an era when the iPhone wasn’t even a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye. Yes, the flip phone will make a comeback, as consumers seek less distraction, lower costs, and a phone that’s just a phone. There will be plenty of consumers who will shuck the $1,000 price tag of a new smartphone and opt in on smart watches and other portable devices to handle email, social media, Uber or news alerts. What won’t make a comeback? Rotary dials.

Facebook will go brick-and-mortar.

Facebook will start expanding beyond the digital space and develop physical spaces in communities next year. These centers will be used to expand the Facebook Marketplace experience where users can meet to exchange or buy merchandise from each other in a safe and fun environment. They will also be used by communities as mixed-use spaces where people can meet to socialize and share their views on knitting, local craft beer, vinyl records and whether Amazon is killing retail.

The ‘90s will be the new ‘80s.

1980s nostalgia has finally peaked, what with Stranger Things, Ready Player One, and the fact that at this very moment at least two Columbus radio stations are playing “White Wedding” by Billy Idol. Next year, the kids who went to high school in the Clinton era will be just old enough to start yearning for their lost youth. Look for ‘90s music to take over the clubs and airwaves as disc jockeys rediscover their taste for Snoop Dogg and Chumbawamba. There’s already a Men In Black reboot opening in June. Look next for a Seinfeld reunion, or for that long-planned Kurt Cobain bioepic to finally go into production. At the very least, Jennifer Aniston is due for another comeback.

Presidential hopefuls will spend more time on social media than in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Trump’s tweets and Beto’s Facebook Live posts have set the stage for what will be a very different run-up to the 2020 presidential primaries. Yes, candidates will still visit the occasional living room in Des Moines and coffee shop in Manchester, but some of them will decide they can reach more voters digitally than face to face. They will use different messages – some will use the Trump tactic of provocation, others will invite voters to share their daily life routines – but the platforms will be similar. Will it be effective? That we won’t know until 2020.