Here Are Your Consumer Predictions For 2015

As 2014 ended, we asked Consumerist readers to look into their crystal balls and predict some of the bigger consumer headlines — from pending mega-mergers to possible turnarounds — for the coming year. Here’s what y’all told us.

There are two pending mega-mergers in the pay-TV world — Comcast/Time Warner Cable and AT&T/DirecTV — and Consumerist readers were significantly more optimistic about the chances of the latter being approved by regulators than they were the former.

Nearly 75% of survey respondents believe that AT&T and DirecTV will ultimately be given the blessing of the Justice Dept. and the Federal Communication Commission.

But the predictions for the Comcast acquisition of Time Warner Cable were decidedly indecisive, with exactly 50% of the votes going each way.


We asked you which of four companies — Southwest, Sony, McDonald’s, Sprint — was most likely poised for a turnaround in 2015. Not surprisingly, the most popular response was “None of these,” with 30% of the vote.

Southwest, which had a year of labor issues, on-time arrival/departure complaints, and millions of dollars in federal fines, was still the one with the rosiest outlook in Consumerist readers’ eyes, as 29% of you picked the airline as the one most likely to turn things around.

Sony, the subject of multiple cyber attacks and the people responsible for turning a silly Seth Rogen comedy into a free speech milestone, trailed in second place with 19% of the vote.

Not so good new for McDonald’s and its sagging sales. Only 13% of readers think 2015 will be an improvement. But that was before the fast food giant told us all to “choose lovin’.”

And even though Sprint picked up 1 million net customers in the last quarter, it’s still so far behind AT&T and Verizon that a mere 9% of you picked it to have a winning year.


We asked readers to make pricing predictions on gasoline, supermarket staples, college tuition, mortgage rates, and airfares, and many of you seem to believe that all of these will inch up over the next 12 months.

The highest level of consensus was in the food category, where 58% of you predicted a slight increase, compared to only 33% who think gas prices will go up slightly.

The category where readers predict the highest price increase is the cost of college, with 38% of you saying the price will increase greatly during 2015. Only 9% of you thought that mortgage rates will soar.

The categories with the most optimistic outlook are gas prices, where 45% of readers predict they will stay the same or decrease in the next year. Mortgage interest rates were next, with 36% of respondents believing they will at least remain flat, if not decrease, in 2015.


Readers were asked to rank several possible headlines that could occur in 2015 from most likely to least likely. Here’s how you ranked them:

1. Data caps put in place by most ISPs
2. Apple launches subscription streaming video service to compete with Netflix
3. Major studios try same-day digital release of high-profile title (that isn’t the subject of a notorious data breach)
4. A streaming service with a large catalog of ultra-HD 4K streaming movies
5. Dish or DirecTV offers satellite broadband that competes with cable ISPs in terms of speed and cost
6. Valve releases Half-Life 3
7. A viable resale model and marketplace for digital video downloads

Sadly, the top-ranked item does seem the most likely, especially if Comcast — which has been testing data “thresholds” in various markets — is successful in acquiring Time Warner Cable.

We’d have put the 4K streaming service at the top, as both Netflix and Amazon have already committed to bring more 4K titles to consumers.


Okay, not quite, but 50% of you believe that an almost-affordable electric vehicle with a driving radius comparable to gas-powered cars will be introduced this year.

We’re thinking that prototypes for such vehicles may be shown off this year, but we’d be surprised to see one hit the market in 2015.


After years of being nickel-and-dimed by the airlines, it’s not a surprise that 55% of you predict that major airlines break the one remaining taboo of charging for carry-on bags.

We don’t think you’ll see that for any of the few remaining major national carriers, but we wouldn’t be shocked to see more smaller, regional airlines try it.

SO LONG $7.25

With nearly half the states having already taken the initiative to raise minimum wage above the federal floor of $7.25, some 62% of readers believe that 2015 will bring a change to that minimum.

However, nearly 83% of those predicting a federal minimum wage hike are expecting it to fall short of the $10.10 suggestion made by President Obama.


There are only a few national wireless providers left, which is probably why 68% of you predict that the AT&T/Verizon/Sprint/T-Mobile quartet will remain when the calendar flips over to 2016.


We asked readers to predict what HBO will charge when it eventually launches its standalone streaming service later this year.

Removing the extremes (it won’t be free and it won’t cost hundreds of dollars a month), the median prediction from readers was $15/month, with the average slightly higher at around $17/month.

With Dish recently revealing that its Sling TV service will charge $20 for live streaming access to a dozen cable TV channels — including ESPN — we wonder what HBO will be able to offer that would justify if it charges anywhere near that amount for just one network, which you may not even be able to watch live.

So that’s it for your crystal ball predictions for 2015. We’ll revisit these in about 350 days to see how well you did!

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