• Shannon J. Schmidt

Part 2: Small Business Retailers Can Leverage the Changing Demographics Altering Retail

Three powerful demographic trends will cause profound changes to retail of all segments and sizes.

An Aging America

It’s predicted that the number of Americans age 55 and older will almost double by 2030 - from 60 million today (21 percent of the total US population) to 107.6 million (31 percent of the population). During that same time period, the number of Americans over 65 will more than double, from 34.8 million in 2000 (12 percent of the population) to 70.3 million in 2030 (20 percent of the total population). This aging of America will present many opportunities for small independents that may choose to target this growing segment. New products, new services and new retail concepts will be introduced to capture this growth.

Hispanic and Latino Population Growth

The U.S. Hispanic population became the largest minority in the United States in 2002, and will continue in this position through 2050. Today, 43.5 million U.S. Hispanics make up almost 15% of the U.S. population and is growing five times faster than the general population. This growing market continues to be under-served by many retail segments. Many do not realize the possible opportunity in understanding Hispanic consumer needs that are not necessarily the same as the general population. Serving this market can create new customers, increase sales and profit, and enhance competitive advantage.

Generation Y

Born between 1981 and 1995, it’s the largest consumer group in the history of the U.S. and represents a dominant future market. Many of the most popular traditional brands are having a tough time appealing to this group who seem immune to traditional marketing messages and who gravitate to all things new - to brands that understand them and speak their language. Their medium of choice is the Internet. It drives diversity and the ability to know what’s new in an instant. Companies unable to relate to this group will obviously miss out on a huge potential opportunity.

These three demographic trends provide specific target markets for small retail niche opportunities to differentiate their consumer experience.

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