Trend watching has emerged in big business as a discipline of business management and a popular topic among top media publications and futurists. Small business can benefit from trend watching, too. This week's feature is on the hottest trends for business of all sizes.
Trends are far easier to observe than time. Timing of entering into a growing trend market can be costly if the trend has yet to enter public consciousness. My personal experience in timing a trend came in 1993, while trying to explain the Internet to advertising executives who had no idea of its existence. The best time to enter the market is when the trend is entering mass awareness so educating a market is less expensive. The following 4 trends were selected for longevity, market awareness & potential profitability.
Hottest Trends in Business
Youth Market: The Y generation is a market force to be reckoned with. This power is why a small-town pop sensation, Avril Lavigne, can go from obscurity to the 5th most searched word on the Internet and move to the number 2 music spot on Billboard's Top 200 charts. This power is also, why the auto industry can expect peak numbers from 27 million teen car buyers, and 4 million new buyers, a year for the next 8 years.
A quick, trend-spotting technique is to take a stroll to your local magazine rack. You can get a fast take on a market by looking at the thickness of the publication. Computer & business magazines, Red Herring and Fast Company, have thinned from an absence of advertisers. Take a look at the huge size of Muscle Magazine and Muscle & Fitness as the teenage bodybuilding markets have grown, so has the advertising.
Opportunities: Serving the teen auto aftermarket with customization should be hot. Try the Classic Driving School, a unique, teen driver training experience with a Porsche. Youth sport supplements should continue growing but with fierce competition. Look for avenues in fitness mixed with extreme attitudes.
Green Power: The environment trend has been around and been a struggle for many companies, such as automakers with electric cars trying to capitalize on the green awareness. The care of Mother Earth is still a big concern of society. According to a recent Harris Poll, over 74% of American adults believe in the global warming theory. Over 73% of U.S. citizens approve of the Kyoto agreement for countries to limit their carbon monoxide and greenhouse gas emissions. Although, the United States has not signed the accord, countries like Canada, that have accepted, the accord will be a watch place for the impact.
Opportunities: This trend will be supported by businesses reducing reliance on oil & gas with new forms of energy like wind power. Wind power experienced a 1.7 billion dollar increase in new equipment during 2001 (American Wind Energy Association). Also, look to companies helping companies reduce energy consumption with new forms of energy saving products. For example, one small business is profiting from installing energy efficient shipping doors for corporate shipping operations.