Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Updated: What Industries Will Be Winners or Losers With Generation Y?

What They Want Now and What They Will Want

Echo Boomers are changing our society in a multitude of ways. The Millennial generation doesn't want what its parents wanted, and if you want your business to succeed or if you want to lower the probability that you'll be in the unemployment line, take note of the winners and losers with this generation now and in the future.

Winner: The Rise of the Renters.

I could write pages on why Echo Boomers won't own homes like former generations, but I think numbers and graphs tell a better story. Only a third of Echo Boomers express interest in ever owning a home. And the current data?

Things may change over the next ten years, but for now, real estate agents will struggle with this generation in selling homes. Of course, if real estate agents focus their energy on landlords they might succeed. Otherwise, if you rent out decent homes or apartments, prepare for a large customer base among Echo Boomers, but be aware that they can move out quickly if they don't like it.

Winner: Education Is the New Homeownership.

Yes, I think that education is in a serious bubble (see When Will the Higher Education Bubble Pop?). But I doubt that the Millennial generation will recognize this. The reason for my doubt: over half of Echo Boomers state interest in pursuing a degree, and a third of Echo Boomers with degrees already want to go to graduate school or further their education in some way.

The next generation (Generation Z) may see the error in their older siblings ways: too much faith in education. But for now, there's no indication among the Echo Boomers I speak to that they're changing their view on education.

The winners here are the trade schools and community colleges - not only do you save Echo Boomers money, Echo Boomers tend to recommend these places to their friends. In fact, when other Echo Boomers go back to school during an education bubble a community college or trade school will hold the highest appeal. Large universities still attract top students, so for now, they're winning too.

Loser and Winner: Marriage Is Dead, But Other Opportunities Exist

If you're in school, and you're considering becoming a divorce attorney or marital counselor, beware: only 21% of Echo Boomers are married! Those may have been the hot professions at one time (especially divorce attorneys), but the future seems dim for them now. Unless those 21% of Echo Boomers line up in divorce court or try to "work things out," the need for divorce law or marital counseling may be history.

Keep in mind that while Echo Boomers are ditching marriage, they seem to favor serial monogamy, which might become its own profitable industry. For instance, Susan Walsh asserted about the hook up culture in our interview:
I see hookup culture sticking around for a long while, but there is some backlash already occurring.
HPV is causing cancers in both sexes, and there is a strain of gonorrhea in the UK, which is now considered untreatable. Of course, there’s the very real possibility of a new, opportunistic virus, much as we saw with AIDS in the early 80s. A worsening of the outlook in this area could create behavioral changes.
Behavioral changes may create more marriages, but if we see increased STDs or increased protective methods against these diseases, some businesses will need to create these products - whether prescription drugs or advanced protective measures.

And with marriage rates declining, Echo Boomers seem to be putting their money into other places: the fitness industry, the outdoor industry, and the fashion industry. In other words, you still have many other opportunities to have a wide customer base. Keep an eye out for the single Echo Boomers and watch where they spend their money (see Products and Services for Single Female Echo Boomers and Products and Services for Single Male Echo Boomers).

Other winners:

1. Technology - if you're in the engineering profession, prepare to work. I have never spoken with an unemployed engineer (unless it was by choice). Since I've been speaking with engineers at DeVry, robotics seems to come up the most. Apparently, there is a growing demand for electrical engineers to perfect the robotics industry.
2. Medical - Echo Boomers will need more medical care as they age. Keep in mind, the obesity rate the in the United States is growing, and this offers medical opportunities for doctors, nurses and those in the research field.
3. Innovative Science - the world faces major hurdles in the twenty-first century, and this industry will boom if science continues to overcome these hurdles. Innovative Science includes, but is not limited to, stem cell research, fuel cell technology, electric transportation technology, robotics, and 3D printing.
4. Green Energy Industry - Echo Boomers like environmentally friendly companies, and green energy not only saves money, but builds a sustainable world.