Marketing students, take note. To hear this book tell it, one of the great unacknowledged factors affecting marketing and sales is simply the (in)ability of some companies to count people.
The book opens with anecdotes of how many companies have seen failures — or successes — by (not) recognizing the impact of the different relative sizes of each demographic cohort in the U.S. Gronbach then expands this idea by looking both at demographic cohorts and specific sectors of the economy (like healthcare, housing, and transportation), and draws conclusions regarding what sorts of sectors should be poised to take huge advantage of such trends.
To look at one interesting generational anecdote: what’s often thought of as the largest birth generation in American history, the Baby Boomers, are just now entering their retirement years. Health care, retirement, and assisted living industries, take note! Subsequently, the Gen Xers (born 1965-1984) are often derided as slackers who avoid work and who broke Social Security. Not really, says Gronbach – they’re just, by number of births, 9 million people fewer than the Baby Boomers and 10 million fewer than the Gen Yers that follow them. No wonder Gen X’s number of jobs, house purchases, car purchases, etc. all look slightly pale in comparison.
Oh, and those Generation Y folks, Millennials? Most of you UWW college students? As the new largest generation of Americans by birth numbers – edging out the Boomers by some 1.3 million, as shown in this table – Gronbach is optimistic about the great impact you and your spending will have on the American economy too. Go forth and take on the world!