Chapter 22

The New Consumer

When in doubt, predict that the present trend will continue.

—Merkin's Maxim

In the last chapter, we saw how environmental concerns are causing customers to reevaluate their purchasing preferences. But it's not just ecoshoppers who are changing the small business marketplace; it is the marketplace itself that is shape-shifting. Whether we are talking about the aging baby boom generation or the trendy Generation Y, the fact is, today's small business market is not your father's Oldsmobile. It is a whole new world out there.

Consumers become your customers for a variety of reasons: it could be that you have better prices, you are more convenient, you have better products, or you are a nice person. All may be true, but increasingly in this new millennium, other considerations are coming into play. Business is changing rapidly. It used to be that everyone wanted to sell to the all-important demographic of middle-income consumers aged 25 to 54 because they had the most money to spend, but that paradigm's expiration date has lapsed. Today, new customers are growing in importance. If your small business is going to succeed, you need to understand who they are and what they want so that you can give them what they are looking for.

Specifically, in this chapter, we are going to look at three groups of potential new customers: Baby Boomers and members of Generations X and Y.

The Aging Boomer Consumer

Today, four generations of people make up your potential customers: ...

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