At the end of every year, most of us look forward to the coming year and wonder what’s in store for us. As difficult as these predictions are, and as often as we get them right or wrong, we still persist in making this effort.


“Economists have allowed themselves to walk into a trap where we say we can forecast, but no serious economist thinks we can.”


This year is no different, and while none of us can predict the year ahead, there are many guideposts that the panel of experts we’ve assembled in this issue look at and use as predictors for 2020.

For example, in his “Retail Forecast 2020” article, Phillip Perry points out that retailers face a challenging economic environment in the coming year. Full employment, happy consumers, a robust housing market and low interest rates are supporting a decent economy, but fallout from the tariff wars, a shaky stock market and the threat of a recession are creating uncertainty in the nation’s boardrooms and contributing to a slowdown in business activity. His article will help you understand all the forces at work and equip you to make informed decisions moving into a new year and new decade.

With more of a focus on the floral industry, Cathy Burns, CEO of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), summarizes for us her “State of the Fresh Produce and Floral Industries” address, which she presented at PMA’s recent “Fresh Summit Convention + Expo” in Anaheim.

In addition, Ben Houston, CTO of Threekit, a software platform that helps online shoppers explore products in 3D, shares key insights about what e-commerce in 2020 will mean for retailers. And finally, in our monthly “Stats & Facts,” we show how “customer experience” is becoming the most important factor influencing consumers’ buying decisions – over product quality and price! – and that providing great buying experiences for customers is the greatest business opportunity for all companies in 2020.

Predicting the future is tricky, but our experts’ foresight, based on knowledge that is based on experience, should help get a clearer picture of what 2020 might look like. I hope you find their insights valuable.