Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Small Business Trends for 2012

Melissa Thomas, Greenville Area Consultant with the SBDC, gave us some insight on 2012 Small Business Trends after attending the Association of Small Business Development Centers’ national conference in San Diego. Here are some points for everyone to consider, whether starting a business or looking to redirect their business path or products to fit the coming trends:

  • Every business should have a website and it should be optimized for mobile use. Consumers want value and expect a deal. 68% of people shop with coupons; 69% of consumers go online to comparison shop before making a purchase and 41% of those consumers go directly to a retailer's site.
  • Age 85 and up is the fastest growing demographic. In-home non-medical care is big business. 33% of people 75 and up live alone (40% of them have a disability). There are currently 4,600 adult day-care centers. However, this is not going to be enough. There will be a very steady need for handy-man services, cleaning, lawn maintenance, and companies that provide home-proofing for seniors. Gyms have seen a 300% increase in membership in people ages 55 and up, but they are not catering to them.
  • There are presently 85 million Baby Boomers. They spend more money on online shopping than any other age group. Because most Baby Boomers are almost retired there is a huge need for financial planners. 46% of women in this group were raised to believe men would handle financial planning. Now, 3% of those women say they agree with that... but 49% of women have no financial advisor.
  • There are 75 million children 18 years or younger. There were more kids born in 2007 in the United States than ever before. The U.S. has the largest toy market (other countries are buying our toys). There has also been a trend in certified green toys. Tweens (ages 8-14) have what Thomas calls "pester power". They spend $2,000/year of their own money on clothes, electronics, food, computer games, home furnishings, etc.
  • Popular Businesses:
    • Weddings - consolidated services and wedding rentals (for every aspect of the wedding) are becoming increasingly popular. 60% of people today are paying part of the wedding cost on their own.
    • Men's Health & Beauty - Barbershops have seen a 10% increase in the last 2 years. Yoga studios have seen a rise in male participants. Currently, there are 19 million men's grooming products on the market. By 2014, studies expect that number to be at least 28 million.
    • Retail - By 2015, online shopping will be a 279 billion dollar business.
    • Plus-size - 60% of adults 20 and older are overweight. Bridal wear (2.1 billion dollars/year), bikes, and nightclubs geared toward plus-size people are just a few of the many products and services for which this group will continue to demand.
    • Pets - 62% of families have one. In 2010, 55 billion dollars were spent on pets - this does not include food or veterinary costs.
    • Food - Butcher shops are making a strong comeback. Gluten free food sales have grown 74% from 2004-2008. Food trucks - like the ones in Wisconsin offering pizza after 10 p.m. in the bar districts - are in demand. 91% of people surveyed said they would eat from a food truck. 70% of people eat dessert once a week and it is predicted that pie on a stick will be the next big hit.
    • Cyber security is a 75 billion dollar industry.
    • By 2015, mobility/apps will be an 8 billion dollar business.
    • Translators are a 2.5 billion dollar industry.So … where does your business stand? Are you ready to grow? If you need to refocus your small business as we head toward 2012 and need a little guidance, give your local SBDC a call. We’re here to help you grow! Winthrop Regional SBDC, Rock Hill, SC: (803) 323-2283; Florence Area SBDC: (843) 661-8256; and Coastal Conway Area SBDC: (843) 349-4010.

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