As we move into 2007, there are several distinct trends that will present an outstanding opportunity for business growth. The following paragraphs give a clear outline of the trends and how they will impact buying decisions.
The love affair between Generation Y, those born between 1977 and 2000, and the Internet will continue to grow. Online sites such as My Space and You Tube are becoming mega-outlets having an impact on entertainment, opinion, and marketing. More than 80% of this generation is comfortable making online purchases. Television networks have found this is an effective way to promote programming while gaining additional advertising revenue.
There continues to be significant differences between generations for gathering news. Generations X and Y are beginning to use the online sites of local newspapers as opposed to the printed versions favored by Builders, those born before 1944. Baby Boomers, born between 1943 and 1964, use both Internet and print medias on a consistent basis.
Printed phone books and home mailers continue to be a respectable marketing tool for the Builders, however this method is rapidly dwindling in popularity among Generations X and Y. The exception for the younger generations is the magazine type home mailers which can be quickly flipped through.
The affluent culture has also discovered the Internet. It is quickly replacing the print media as a source of news for those with household incomes of $75,000 and higher. One recent study shows that 94.3% of the affluent culture access the Internet on a regular basis. Over 48% are considered heavy users of the Internet.
Marketing studies now reveal that the affluent culture is much more likely to discuss purchase options with their friends prior to actually buying new products. There seems to be a feeling of elitism by sharing outstanding companies, products, and salespersons with their friends. Oddly, among these high earners much value is placed upon the ability to be lined up with an extraordinary deal.
At lower end of the economic scale, it is more likely that a bad shopping experience will be relayed to friends and family. The group appreciates fair prices and appreciation for their business more than other groups. Although per capita buying power is less, recognizing this trend for free positive word-of-mouth advertising can be a strong competitive advantage for businesses, resulting in a dedicated customer base.
The dominance of white Europeans continues to decline throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. In the United States and Canada, white Europeans will drop below 50% of the population within the next decade. The most immediate trend in the United States is the growth of the Asian and Hispanic population.
In 2005, Hispanic buying power became the largest minority market in the United States. Hispanics account for 10 to 15% of the available commerce dollars in every region of the country.
The growth of Asian Americans is double digit, from a low end of 19% in the western states to a high of 31% in the southern states. Indo-Americans, a sub demographic of this group, is among the most affluent Americans and buying power in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
The buying power of African-Americans also continues steady growth. Ethnic cultural buying power is nearing $1.5 trillion in the United States and is proportionately significant in Canada. This provides an excellent vehicle for growth at businesses that intelligently pursue these customers.
The continued and growing acceptance of cultures in the United States and Canada has opened up a marketplace for foreign heritage products. Manufacturers and distributors outside of North America now find a growing marketplace for their products with the Internet taking shape as a strong marketing tool.
The male dominance of Internet purchases is disappearing as women are buying more in cyberspace. This trend will continue in 2007 as females will account for more than 50% of Internet purchases. Particularly strong growth will be among post-college and young married woman between the ages of 24 and 36. This creates an opportunity for companies that previously bypassed the Internet to revisit their strategy.
Single women are expected to make up a larger percentage of the home buying market during 2007. This will open up opportunities for any products or services that lend themselves to this demographic. Some creativity will be necessary to use the right media to reach them.
Online users seem to be creating their own culture, especially relative to commerce. This can be seen into emerging trends. First, online buyers want a quick and easy shopping experience. This includes the ability to search for a specific product, have ease comparing it to similar products, and being able to check out quickly. Having a restriction against hitting the “back" button during a part of the online purchase is a detriment among the online culture.
Second, people are looking for easy solutions. Rather than buying software to teach them how to build your own website, they would prefer online wizards to walk them through the process. In many cases they will gladly pay to have an initial website built for them that allows for quick and easy modifications on their own.
Watch for an increased acceptance of online phone calls. Internet giant eBay has added a link to Skype for their merchants. Skype offers free phone calls throughout the world using the microphone located on most PCs. Skype already has a large presence in South America and Europe and has become a part of eBay. By adding the Skype link, merchants are allowing potential customers throughout the world to call them and discuss the item at no charge. The millions of people using eBay will quickly learn the advantages to Skype, potentially moving it into a mainstream form of communication across North America.
The impact of free trade agreements and the Internet are two of the largest changes ever to impact the business world. The dust is finally settling on the changes resulting from these two global events. Consequently we are seeing extremely defined and reliable trends in the cultures listed here. Creative businesses and individuals will be able to take these trends and turn them into successful niche products, marketing, or business strategies. The key will be to carefully analyze the full array of trends in order to capitalize on multiple trends in a single global business approach.
Rick Weaver is an accomplished business executive with a wealth of experience in retail, market analysis, supply chain enhancement, project management, team building, and process improvement.
Rick career began in retailing as a stockclerk, eventually becoming the Director of Vendor Development at Kmart Corporation during it’s heyday. In this position he worked with hundreds of Kmart’s suppliers to improve mutual processes, procedures, and profits.
As a consultant, Rick has worked with companies in various industries to develop leadership and business strategies.
As an entrepreneur, Rick has founded or co-founded six successful organizations, including non-profit and for profit.
Now in his role as president of MaxImpact, Rick uses his vast experience helping individuals connect to their dreams and teams connect to a common vision.
Rick’s presentation style of blending humor, real life examples, and easy to implement ideas has made him a popular speaker at seminars, workshops, and conferences in in 43 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
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