2019 Business Predictions: Pat Doody, Director, Business and Commercial Banking at NatWest Bank

It’s that time of year, when Business Link Magazine invites readers to offer up their forecasts for the year ahead. It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been doing this for almost 35 years.

And, while none of us possess a crystal ball, it is uncanny how accurate some of these forecasts have been over the years.

Here continue our series with Pat Doody, Director, Business and Commercial Banking at NatWest Bank, Lincolnshire.

Harold Wilson once famously quipped that a week is long time in politics. If so, 2019 will feel like a very long year, as the outlook is dominated by politics. Whether Brexit, protectionism or EU member states budget agreements, in 2019, financial markets and the economy will be shaped even more than usually by politics.

Although these ‘Big Macro’ themes will dominate, we shouldn’t overlook other, less obvious but perhaps more powerful forces. Demographic change and an ageing population will continue to reshape the consumer landscape.

Older households will continue to acquire consumption capital, or the capacity to spend. They are the only cohort who have enjoyed a constant increase in their spending. And they, like all ages, are increasingly choosing to spend their money on experiences over things. We all spending more on holidays, leisure, eating out, sports and exercise, pets and recreation. Acquiring and sharing experiences and memories are the new goods.

Similarly, firms will continue to investing more in intellectual assets like Software, Data, Designs, R&D & Branding. Revenue and income will increasingly come from how we advise and consult, offering specialisms and targeted, knowledge-rich, support.