Important Trends for the Future of Business

The future ahead for fitness and wellness or any business or industry for that matter will be increasingly difficult as growth will become harder to achieve in mature markets like the U.S. and the E.U. Doug Anderson, SVP, Research & Development, The Nielsen Company, confirmed this assertion in his recent summary report on what future consumers look like.

Here are the 5 key trends that can be taken from the report with a sixth thrown in for your consideration:

1. The less-developed world will comprise the clear majority of growth and the rise of the impoverished in the less-developed world will fuel increased demand in those markets.

By 2030, world population will have grown by around 20%. Only 3.2% of this growth will come from the more developed world. U.S. fertility rates have fallen by 44% since the Baby Boom peak and are projected to continue to fall by another 12% over the next several decades. Falling fertility, combined with rising life expectancy and the large Baby Boom generation just nearing retirement age, equates to an aging population.

By 2037 nearly one in three households in the U.S. will be headed by someone over the age of 65.  Household size will decline across the board with a large share of the population living in one or two person households.  Middle and upper middle classes will shrink the share the most and these consumers fuel the majority of demands for consumer products including fitness and wellness services.

2. Businesses Focus Will Need to Be on Market Share

The share of households that have children will continue to decline as a result of an aging population. By the middle 2020s, the share of U.S. households with children under 18 will fall below 30%.  This is a key demographic for fitness, wellness and other consumer and product industries. As a result players will increasingly have to focus on retaining their customers and taking customers away from others in a stable to shrinking marketplace.

3. Messaging to a Multi-Cultural Marketplace Will be Essential

Multi-cultural marketing will be critical when promoting a business. The majority of population growth in the U.S. will come from new immigrants and the children they have in this country. Since most immigrants are young, families with children will become more ethnic, more quickly, than the total population. By 2025, the majority of families with children in the U.S. will be multi-cultural. Less than half of families with children will be native born non-Hispanic White.  The industry will need to appeal to this emerging demographic.

4. New Needs Will Emerge From A Maturing Market

Boomers will rewrite what it means to be old as they have rewritten what it means to be children and adults.  According to Daniel Pink, author of DRIVE, "The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us", 100 Boomers turn 60 every 15 minutes and they are seeking "Purpose" for the rest of their lives.  This is a demographic that research suggests is connected online 98% of the time ! Hence my item 6 below.

5. Spending on Consumer Goods & Services Will Decline

As population slows in the U.S. Household size will decline across the board and so will consumer spending. The impact of these two trends means that after 2020, per household spending will start to fall.

6. To Be Competitive Social Media Will be an Important Tool

Social Media is a missing trend.  Those competitors that have an experimental sense of social media's possibilities will benefit.  There is no clear blueprint for how to proceed. Social media strategies are a new frontier. The efforts are flexible, motivational and engaging when done well. And, if you make a mistake, they are pretty easy to correct. Reach your customers more effectively and less expensively.