Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New niche markets

What are the new niche markets for 2008? The U.S. journal Advertising Age ran a list this week of the 10 top “microtrends” that will affect America in 2008.

They certainly don't all apply to Canada, but some may. Here’s the list, compiled by Mark Penn and Kinney Zalesne, co-authors of Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes.

WORKING RETIRED: 75% of baby boomers have no intention of seeking a traditional retirement. Employers, Madison Avenue ... is anybody paying attention?

SUN HATERS: Look for new interest in sun-safe clothing and permanent sunscreen.

NEGLECTED DADS: Today’s fathers spend twice as much time with their kids as dads did in the 1970s. Where are the ads for dads buying gifts for kids?

CAR-BUYING SOCCER MOMS: Someday, smart marketers are going to catch on.

SEX-RATIO SINGLES: Single women now make up the second-largest group of homebuyers in America. It’s time marketers -- of everything from home security to vacations – paid attention.

OFFICE ROMANCERS: In 2006, almost 60% of U.S. employees said they'd had an office romance, up from just 47% in 2003.

THIRTY-WINKERS: The average American sleeps less than seven hours a night – down 25% from a century ago. What are the repercussions for safety, productivity and civility? And drugstores?

SOUTHPAWS UNBOUND: With fewer left-handers being forced to conform at an early age, one in six Americans now say they're left-handed – compared to the traditional estimate of one in 10. Look for lefty-targeted products and services.

PROTESTANT HISPANICS: About 25% of Latinos in the U.S. are Protestant, mainly Pentecostal or born again. And their impact is growing.

WEB TO WEDDING: Online matchmaking is the new normal. Nearly three million Americans have turned Internet dates into long-term relationships or marriage.

Now a few Canadian trends to watch from me (since the name of this site isn't American Entrepreneur): the native birth rate is climbing; immigrants are playing increasing roles in many cities (including Calgary and Edmonton); and semi-retirees (folks transitioning out of the workforce, but taking five years to do it) are booming. Plus, condo development in downtown Toronto is through the roof: how can you enhance sky-dwellers' quality of life?

The essence of small business is niches. Find a microtrend, and you have yourself a market.

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