Associations Reveal Industry Predictions for 2016

With a new year just getting started, associations of all kinds are sharing their predictions for what’s to come for their respective industries in 2016.

January marks an opportunity for many associations to reflect on what went well the previous year, generate ideas about how to improve, and think about what’s to come in the year ahead. From travel and meetings, to food and retail, associations have big ideas for 2016.

Business Travel

India, China, Colombia, Mexico, Singapore, and Australia are six destinations “where increased business travel demand is driving significant air price increases,” according to the 2016 Global Travel Price Outlook [PDF], which is produced by the Global Business Travel Association’s Foundation and Carlson Wagonlit Travel. Hotel prices are expected to increase due to demand outweighing supply in every major global region. GBTA predicts there will be modest increases in the cost of meetings per attendee per day and group size in every region across the globe, with the exception of Asia Pacific, which will see a 5 percent increase in cost and an 11 percent increase in group size. “Strong demand from China and India is the major driver for the region’s increasing cost and group sizes,” GBTA said. “North America will also see a 4.5 percent cost per attendee per day increase, with food and beverage pressures continuing to be a significant driver of costs.”

Food Trends

Locally sourced meats and seafood, chef-driven fast-casual concepts, and locally grown produce are the top-three food trends the National Restaurant Association expects in 2016 after surveying nearly 1,600 members of the American Culinary Federation. Almost half of the professional chefs surveyed said the food trend that has grown the most throughout the last decade was local sourcing, while environmental sustainability was the trend 41 percent said would grow most in the next 10 years. “Menu items that gained in trendiness since last year’s survey include African flavors, authentic ethnic cuisine, ethnic condiments/spices, house-made/artisan soft drinks, Middle Eastern flavors, and non-traditional liquors,” NRA said.


The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) says to watch for three trends in 2016. The first is cloud as the new electricity. “While cloud will not quite become a pure commodity like electricity, it will be so prevalent in IT architecture that cloud-specific focus will give way to overall solution planning,” said CompTIA Senior Director of Technology Analysis Seth Robinson. Second, technology vendors will experience a wake-up call in 2016. “Program staples such as upfront discounts and back-end rebates are declining in relative importance,” said CompTIA Senior Director Industry Analysis Carolyn April. “That’s a wake-up call for vendors, who need to be thinking differently about partner compensation models for the future.” Finally, CompTIA predicts user experience will drive technology initiatives. “Some of these efforts will be ‘pushed’ by technology providers or employers who want to encourage or influence certain behaviors,” said CompTIA Senior Vice President Research and Market Intelligence Tim Herbert. “Others will be ‘pull’ efforts, as users accustomed to user-friendly consumer applications will exert influence over corporate IT to replicate these same experiences.”


Convenience, personalization, big data, and technology are all top trends the National Retail Federation expects in the upcoming year. Customers increasingly expect same-day delivery, and NRF predicts more companies will start offering this service in an increasing number of markets. Personalization is another big trend. “Shoppers expect tailored offerings—including savings, merchandise and services,” NRF said. “And personalization needs to be a consistent omnichannel effort. If retailers can’t identify a shopper across various points of interaction, they’re on thin ice.” The Toy Industry Association agrees. In its 2016 color and materials trend report, TIA noted having technologies like 3D printers that allow for hyper-customization “are making big headway in the design sector.” Though not a top trend, NRF also expects an increase in partnerships and retail/designer collaborations—like H&M with Balmain, Kohl’s with Thakoon, and Target introducing Adam Lippes.”

What other trends do you predict to see in 2016? Let us know in the comments.


Katie Rucke

By Katie Rucke

Katie Rucke is former Associate Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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