Kayye’s Krystal Ball: 2021 Edition

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Welcome to my 21st annual Kayye’s Krystal Ball! I love writing this annual predictions article — it’s both humbling and rewarding. It requires me to stop and research anything new, evaluate the potential impact it will have and then articulate it in a way that matters to readers. If you’re a regular reader of my content, you already know this, but for those who don’t, my Kayye’s Krystal Ball piece is an annual article where I not only tell you what I think is going to happen in the AV, UCC and Digital Signage markets for the upcoming year, but I also look back and review the previous year’s predictions — sort of a scorecard of accuracy, if you will. 2020 sucked and surprised us all, so it was more than humbling to start this article by reviewing what I predicted for 2020.

Before we begin, let’s address the so-called elephant in the room: COVID-19. No one was prepared. However, some companies pivoted beautifully, some already had fluidity built into their business models and some floundered or were caught flat-footed. I will address each one of these with examples of companies in our market that experienced each scenario. The good thing is that we have survived what is likely the worst part of its impact on the business climate. And, with the exception of live events, if you’re still limping along and not seeing growth, you might want to check your business model and (quickly) readjust it. If you are reading this and your company is growing again, congrats! Your company pivoted or already had fluidity built into its DNA. So, consider that.

With regards to live events, there was nothing you could really do other than pivot to virtual. But, no one really wants to watch an online rock concert or Broadway play. “Hamilton” may have been incredible in person, but it was TERRIBLE on Disney+. I am confident that we will see some live events return by the later half of the year. (Not big ones quite yet, but manageable small ones, for sure.) By mid-2022, we will see live venues return to 75% and maybe even 80% occupancy! Some of you may see this as being too conservative, but I see it as reality. Don’t believe me? Well, then read this from McKinsey & Company as it has way, way more data and research analysis than I do — I am counting on this research to keep me informed: https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/leadership/the-next-normal-arrives-trends-that-will-define-2021-and-beyond.

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