This is one of my favorite times of the year: Christmas has finally come and gone and the days up to New Year’s are slow, traffic is light and most people are off work and enjoying. It’s the perfect time to think about the upcoming year. As one of my loyal readers you know I have thoughts on most topics so for my last blog of 2018, let me share some thoughts for 2019.
Trump: Trump lost the House and now is in his West Palm Beach self-contained resort pouting and using the federal government as hostage. He wants a border wall or the 800,000 government employees be damned. Oh, let’s not forget about the 200,000 contractors also affected. If this was the only event worth watching that would be enough. But no, we have to contend with China/USA trade tariffs due March 1 (my thoughts with 2020 on Trump’s mind and the stock market down from the start of the year, an agreement will be made, however, not sure the 10% will be rescinded even if the agreement is made). Trump certainly ranks as one of the most dangerous presidents America has ever had, he represents the wild card for 2019.
China: Premier Xi Pinjing has made it known that he wants his country to be the #1 player in the world by 2025. At the age of 65, he has a lifetime commitment to make it happen. This is one reason why Trump is playing China so hard, especially with IT and trade secret theft. America must remain the #1 player on the world stage and do just about everything within legal means to keep Xi’s ambition at bay. 2019 will test both players.
Business: While consumer confidence hit a 5-month low this month, retail sales were at the highest level in more than a decade. Go figure. Housing remains weak, oil is at historical low prices with a glut that won’t go away anytime soon. But the few corporations that are left are doing better than ever and if the tariffs are resolved amicably, we should see the stock market go up 10% and corporate profits continue to rise. Everyone is predicting the start of a recession in 2020 but as we know, everyone is traditionally wrong. With student debt hitting a new record of $1.5T and corporate debt at all-time highs, the next recession could be nasty. Then again, let’s see what the Fed does with interest rate hikes in 2019.
Beauty: Baby boomers, Millennial’s and even the X, Y and Z generation all have one thing in common: They love beauty products. The question will be in 2019, who gets the business? Ulta will continue to drive sales growth opening at least 100 new stores and taking market share from Sephora. With traditional malls in decline the question for Sephora is how are they going to redeploy and become relevant again to shoppers that hate visiting malls.
Pro beauty business continues on its path to being neutralized. Amazon has signed up just about every major player so between them and Ulta, consumers have no need to buy retail products at salons. Booth rental continues to explode and independent contractors who rent space make less money and receive no benefits. When was the last retail hair brand introduced? Both Cosmoprof and Salon Centric will operate more stores with fewer DSC’s and offer less education. Cash & carry trade shows are so yesterday but the two remaining ones make so much money for the organizers, they will continue as long as booths and tickets sell.
Pro magazines will continue to crash and burn, they are already ghosts of their past that no one reads anymore. With both NAILS and NAILPRO under 100 pages and only surviving because Danny Hale has a sweetheart deal to advertise 10 pages monthly. Besides, innovation in the nail business mimics the rest of the industry and no wonder publications such as MODERN and AMERICAN are so thin you wonder why they even publish.
TNG: What can I say, 33 years and still going strong. Our brands are now #1 in most categories and in 2019 alone, we are introducing more than 200 new products. Innovation remains key and my next blog will talk about some of my favorite new products. EMMA continues to delight and is now one of the top brands on Instagram. Thebeautybook Spring 2019 catalog is one of my favorites and an integral part of what makes THE INDUSTRY SOURCE the best-in-class pro beauty distributor year-after-year.
Thank you for hanging around all these years. The beauty of all this is that beauty truly is timeless and I could not be luckier to be involved in this consumer category. Beauty will continue to evolve and so will TNG.
Happy New Year!