An acquaintance runs a strategic advisory and investment group – ‘The Atlantic Advisory Group‘ – here in L.A., and has a newsletter that he sends me. In light of the discussion below, the underlined parts in this portion of their recent issue seemed relevent.
Three Rules of the Modern Market
Demographics, demographics and demographics. This is one of our favorites because large-scale shifts in age cohorts drive many markets. For this reason also it gets a little complicated, but here are a few important, and long-term, trends to consider:
The leading edge of the Baby Boomlets…children of Baby Boomers…are now graduating from college. They are thoroughly versed in technology, especially the Internet. They have money. They will soon start to look for careers. They are starting to get married. They will soon start to spend a lot more money on eating out, drinking, buying cars, buying furniture. They like big movies (Lord of The Rings). They like eco-tourism and extreme sports. They have never worn suits.
The Baby Boom folks are being financially squeezed by their postponement of child-bearing, which means that money to fund retirement is being used to college bills for their kids. This is happening at a time when many of the Boomers are unemployed (and do not show up in the labor statistics because they are out of the labor force or underemployed). They are also getting sick, whether bad knees or the consequences of bad living.
The Boomers’ Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad are getting sick but they will live a long, long time and they will not have enough health insurance to cover the costs of extended or merely chronic illnesses. Their inevitable demise will mean a very large transfer of wealth, assuming that things like the Medicare spend-down requirements do not wipe it out.
The Middle Classes of the Developing World. At the same time, a middle (and upper middle) class has now emerged in developing countries…people with incomes, lifestyles and aspirations roughly equivalent to the American upper middle class. For example, there are now more people in India who can afford Mercedes Benz higher-end models than there are in the United States.
The Entrepreneurs Live Elsewhere. Whatever you can do to increase your business, entrepreneurs in India, China and elsewhere can do just as well and at a lower cost. With access to capital (look at China), they are even more potent. They are export-oriented or, rather, they happily understand that their markets will be elsewhere, such as the US and Europe.
The Wired World is Going Overseas. Depending upon who is counting, somewhere between 40 and 60% of Internet users are now outside of North America and most of them are non-English speaking.
Talk amongst yourselves…