Trends turns 1: Our hits, misses, and strangest finds

A recap of what we got right and wrong.


June 4, 2020

For this special edition email, we’re looking back on some trends we got right in year one, a few misses (hey, nobody’s perfect), and some of our most unusual insights.

This email ain’t just replays

Hot off the presses, our Trung Phan just published an interactive report on 30 companies that are defining the future of media and pop culture. It’s one of the coolest pieces our Trends team has produced (see an abridged version here).

Nailed it

Would you believe us if we said one of the ideas we got right was about… airplanes? Sounds nuts, but in October, we covered the fast takeoff of airplane cocktail kits.

The Signal we published was a major hit. And the kits are still going strong — air travel is grounded, but companies are buying them in bulk for remote team happy hours.

Timing is everything

In March, we wrote about the budding niches of TikTok. Shelter-in-place orders made dancing by yourself one of the world’s favorite activities. 

TikTok’s subcultures multiplied as its user base grew — in the US alone, the number of unique mobile visitors 18+ years old skyrocketed by 36% (from 28.8m in March to 39.2m in April). 

The craze shows no signs of slowing, and products for your star turn are shining bright — collapsible green screens, anyone?

But sometimes your timing sucks

Paging Freezing Cold Takes: In January, we published a bullish report about Simon Property Group, America’s largest… mall operator.

In early March, we went big on the $18B boutique hotel industry. About a week later, the US declared a national emergency over the pandemic. And you thought Quibi’s timing was bad!

Let’s get weird

Occasional misses aside, our analysts are pretty good at finding under-the-radar gems (sober bars, the strange sport of teqball). Here are a few more:

  • DIY… medical devices?! The open-source movement is going to the doctor’s office. The NIH, for example, hosts a 3D-printed prosthetics exchange.
  • The early bird monetizes the worm: Worm farms have gotten big Down Under. Now they’re wriggling into the US — one worm supplier makes $360k/month.
  • Honey, I shrunk everything: Who needs tiny Nutella jars and miniature cooking equipment? A lot of people, apparently.

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