At the beginning of each year, there is always a little buzz about what will be the next new big ticket. The world is supposed to end in 2012, so I hope you’ll buy 50 pair of underwear, six months’ worth of food rations and about 500 gallons of water.
I hope you will make those purchases, not because I think the world is going to end, but because I’m starting an underwear-manufacturing company, a food-rations-supply firm and a water-supply business. Each of these businesses will be hot in the new year as hysteria kicks into overdrive in 2012.
Don’t believe me? Flash back to Y2K. Businesses spent around $500 billion to save themselves from impending doom. But nothing happened. Not even a little Y2K postmortem belch. Nothing happened, except that vendors in 1999 pulled in a cool half trillion!
So if you’re looking for the next hot opportunity for entrepreneurs in 2012, keep these five areas in mind.
1. Elderly consumers
Because people are living longer these days, a flood of products and services will be designed to cater to the older crowd. Businesses will introduce not-so-obvious services. New retirement villages will spring up and new services that cater to the elderly, such as chair lifts for getting into airplane seats.
2. Domestic purchasing
With Europe on shaky financial ground, expect businesses to do more domestic purchasing. There is volatility ahead, so if you are based in the U.S. and have competitors overseas, you may have an advantage in 2012. It’s safer to purchase domestically, where buyers perceive more stability, even if it is more costly.
3. Mobile purchasing
If you are familiar with Square, you know that this is just the beginning. In 2012, we will see a big surge in payments made with smartphones. Entrepreneurs who have not optimized their websites and their businesses for smartphone transactions are giving money away. In fact, the research firm Emarketer says that smartphone transactions are expected to exceed $6.5 billion by 2015. That’s a lot of coin.
4. Genetic DNA sequencing
It’s not the sequencing itself that entrepreneurs need to jump on, but keeping it under $1,000. Technological advancements continue at mind-blowing speed. As Moore’s Law predicts, every 18 months technology doubles in performance and cuts the cost in half. In 2012, we should see genetic decoding available for $1,000 or less.
That price point would make it available to the average person. Most people would have the means to determine their genetic propensity to problems, and to take immediate action to live longer and healthier. This will create a boom in DNA-sequencing services and related health care services. Jump on it now, before it becomes another Walmart offering, like flu shots are now.
5. World ending
Not. My biggest, boldest prediction is that the world will not end in December 2012 (even though the Mayan calendar shows that it will). But that doesn’t mean there won’t be big opportunities to profit from the hype that will build. It could represent millions, or even billions, in revenue. People spent nearly $1 billion preparing for Y2K to hit, and nothing happened. We are creatures of habit and will likely do the same for 2012.
So, if you believe the Mayan calendar may not be accurate about the world ending in 2012, consider ways to profit from these areas. They should be lucrative and provide plenty of opportunity. Besides, the Mayan calendar also predicted that the Kim Kardashian marriage would last more than 12 months, and it was wrong about that, too!