Series sponsored by Microsoft
What better time than the beginning of a new year to embrace new concepts, ideas, and markets in order to propel your small business forward, or get the push you need to launch a new company? Here are the small business trends you should pay attention to in the coming year.
The first thing you should know is that demographics matter when it comes to marketing—and it’s not as cut and dry as it used to be. Today, people of the same age and gender have less in common than they used to, and people of different ages and genders share more in common than they previously did. So think about the similarities among the generations when marketing your products. Can you sell the same goods to women that you currently market to teens?
Don’t forget the kids either. Gen Z (Americans born between 2001 and the present day) spend more than $44 billion of their own money, and they influence another $500 billion in sales. They are the most ethnically diverse generation ever in America, and prefer shopping online at sites that also have physical locations. According to Advertising Age, they’re “true digital natives—the first generation born in a digital world. Businesses should act digitally native too, creating a seamless and strong overarching brand experience in-store, digital, and mobile.” In fact Ad Age says it’s “shocking” how few retailers reach Gen Z, leaving lots of opportunity for entrepreneurs to be their marketers of choice.
But there’s no group with more market influence today than Millennials, also known as Gen Y. The largest demographic group ever born in this county, America’s 83.1 million Millennials (born between 1982 and 2000) are having a huge impact on many industries. Look for an increase in the number of weddings as the bulk of Gen Y starts approaching the average age for getting married (27 for women, 29 for men). The $79 billion wedding industry touches so many businesses, such as restaurants, florists, caterers, bakeries, tourism, hair and makeup stylists, retailers selling wedding attire, gifts, stationery, jewelry, and many more. It is vital entrepreneurs targeting brides and grooms be tech-savvy, since 93 percent of those planning weddings use online resources to do so and 61 percent use their mobile phones to access those businesses, so make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
Millennials are also impacting home décor in a different way than older generations. They want smaller, functional homes—in fact, 77% want a home with technological innovations. And after the weddings and homes come babies. In 2014 there were 3,985,824 babies born in America, very close to 4 million, which marks an official baby boom year.
If you want to reach Millennials, the best way is to email them. Over 40 percent say they prefer being contacted via email, rather than social media (5 percent) and text messages (2 percent).
But Millennials are important in another way to small business owners—as potential employees. This trend has years to go, so there are some things you should know about Millennial staffers.