As any successful business owner knows, keeping on top of the latest trends is key to keeping your business current…and successful. Here are three of the hottest trends I’m seeing this year.
Don’t be fooled by the headlines exclaiming (based on a Pew survey) “40 percent of Americans call marriage ‘obsolete.’” For plenty of people, weddings aren’t out of fashion, they‘re big business. In fact, America is on the cusp of a wedding boom that’s projected to last for at least the next 23 years.
Why? Well, in 1987, a new “baby boom” essentially got its start. Nearly 4 million babies were born in America that year, and the population surge continued through 2010. The oldest of this generation turn 25 this year. At the same time, the median age at which people first get married has been on the upswing since the 1960s—in 2010, it was 28.2 years old for men and 26.1 for women. That means next year, a whole generation of women will start hitting prime marrying age.
Clearly, this trend affects you if you already own a wedding-related business such as a catering, floral design, videography or photography business. But there are plenty of new niches to get into as well—and not all of them involve 20-somethings. The legalization of gay marriage in a growing number of states has opened up a whole new market of couples with pent-up demand (and plenty of spending power). And the increasing number of overweight Americans creates demand for plus-size formalwear and wedding gowns.
With school districts nationwide cutting their budgets at the same time that getting into college has become more competitive than ever, parents are willing to spend on extracurricular programs that help their kids boost their grades, get into better schools, or learn an extra skill like music or foreign languages.
But children aren’t the only one seeking tutoring. As the economy continues to heat up (albeit slowly), adults—both the employed and unemployed—are looking for extra training and continuing education to become more competitive in the job market. Research firm IBISWorld predicts this trend will continue and forecasts the testing and educational support industry will grow at a rate of 5.5 percent each year, reaching $19.1 billion in 2016.
The globalization of trade, along with an increasingly diverse population in the U.S., has make language instruction an especially hot area for adults and children alike. According to AnythingResearch.com, language instruction is already a $1 billion industry, with a 13 percent annual growth rate.
…as in, plus-sized. More than two-thirds (68 percent) of all U.S. adults over age 20 are overweight, according to health journal The Lancet. Of those, about half are obese. Overweight Americans are a complex market with a lot of opportunity.
One area of opportunity, of course, is helping them lose weight. Personalized diet consulting, online health and fitness sites, and personal training programs catering to the unique challenges of heavyset clients are among the business ideas here. One particular growth area right now is mobile apps that help users (via their smartphones and tablets) track calorie intake, create exercise routines and commiserate with other dieters.
Another key opportunity is helping overweight Americans feel comfortable just the way they are. This could mean gyms that cater to overweight clients with special programs and classes, bigger fitness equipment and understanding trainers. It could also mean clothing and accessories tailored to them. To succeed in this arena, it helps to think niche. For example, plus-size wedding clothes (as I mentioned above) is an area ripe with opportunity, but plus-size apparel for tweens, men or pregnant women are some other areas with room to grow. (Believe it or not, there’s even a niche for plus-sized pet clothes—it seems more of America’s dogs are tipping the scales, too.)
You can learn more about these trends and others in my new ebook from StartupNation. How do you plan to capitalize on 2012’s hot trends?
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