Jennifer Adams, executive director of the Alaska Small Business Development Council, speaks about hot business trends to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce during its weekly luncheon at the Hangar Ballroom on Thursday, March 14, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Jennifer Adams, executive director of the Alaska Small Business Development Council, speaks about hot business trends to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce during its weekly luncheon at the Hangar Ballroom on Thursday, March 14, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Orange wine, napping at work and Georgian cuisine top list of hot business trends

Small business consultant maps economic trends

Small businesses got the lowdown on 2019 trends at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday. Among those trends? Orange wine, napping at work and Georgian cuisine (the country, not the state).

Jennifer Adams, the Juneau director of Alaska Small Business Development Center (SBDC), spoke on “Hot Business Trends.”

The SBDC has been operating in Alaska since 1986, and has six regional centers across the state. The Ketchikan center is not included in that number because it’s been vacant for over a year. The center is mostly federally funded, Adams said.

“We help clients prepare for loans, we have super robust financial forecasting tools,” she said. The SBDC offers tools for any stage of business for small businesses.

Clients of the SBDC created 624 new jobs in 2018. There were 146 businesses started in 2018 through the SBDC, and 1,278 clients sought assistance that year.

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“There were almost 72,000 small businesses in Alaska in 2018,” Adams says. “Small businesses are often able to provide a wage that’s above the Alaska median wage.”

Some hot business trends she listed:

  • More goods are being sold online
  • 67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done online
  • Everyone shops online, but age, gender, geography and booze are factors
  • Americans spend $308 billion online while drinking
  • Men spent 28 percent more time online than women
  • Millennials are the biggest spenders online, even though they have less to spend

“Over 40 percent of millennials are parents now, and will soon become the largest living generation in America,” Adams said. “There’s a growing need for businesses to pivot their tactics to that generation.”

She said people can’t ignore the baby boomers either. They represent 42 percent of economic activity in the U.S, and people over 50 hold 83 percent of U.S. wealth.

People who remodel their homes on their own are more likely to be millennials, she said, adding that this group of people spends more than 60 hours a week on digital devices, including phones and televisions.

“I saw a post on Facebook where a single mom built her entire house just from videos on YouTube,” Adams said.

She said remodeling activity is not projected to slow down because new construction is harder to find.

Kitchen remodels are the most popular of all home remodels, she said. Many people are looking for natural tones and technology that can assist with function.

“There’s also a tendency to bring the outdoors inside,” Adams said.

Another big industry is weddings. The wedding industry is a $72 billion industry, Adams said, adding that fashion for grooms is coming more into play.

Anti-aging and the skincare industry is another big industry.

“It is projected to hit $216 billion by 2021,” Adams said. Men’s skincare is also a growing industry, and natural products are trending.

Her new favorite industry trend is naptime.

“The work day is changing rapidly,” Adams said. “Nap services are being referred to as wellness clubs, and some offer cafes and meditation.”

[Alaska approves regulations for marijuana consumption in retail shops]

Nap pods in New York City can rent for $14 an hour, she said.

There is a new “homebody” economy, she said.

“For millennials, staying in is the new going out,” Adams said. Millennials spend 70 percent more time at home than the general population. There’s an entire economy being built around millennial homebodies, she said, citing examples of streaming services and food delivery services.

The cuisine of the year is set to be Georgian cuisine, she said. (The country, not the state.)

“Wine is still in, but there’s some new players,” she said, adding that South African wine is hot and that orange wines will be popular this year.

“This wine isn’t new,” she said. “It dates back centuries, but people are discovering that they like the taste of it. ALDI has started supplying it.”

Milkshake IPA beers and Mezcal are other alcohol trends for this year.

Breakfast is also hugely trending, she said. People eat out for breakfast five times more frequently than 10 years ago.

Social Media Management is the top start-up idea she listed.

Outdoor recreation sustains four times the number of jobs in Alaska than oil, gas, mining and logging combined, according data from the SBDC.

“This industry also brings in $7.3 billion in consumer spending annually,” Adams said. “So it’s going to help us in Alaska if we can keep on thinking of new ways to diversify our economy in Alaska.”

• Contact reporter Mollie Barnes at or 523-2228.

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