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As online retail sales continues to climb, UPS, FEDEX and the Postal Service will have to deliver more and more packages. That is good news for drivers, pilots, airplane mechanics etc.
Home delivery has been on the rise and will continue to be driven by the need to save time.
If home grocery delivery ever takes off, and it looks like it will the second time around, the demand for drivers and truck mechanics will increase even more.
This trend should continue until someone invents a Star Trek - like teleportation system or replicator system. So don't hold your breath, delivery services look very, very good for a long time to come.
Cultural differences, and language barriers should effectively protect most of the entertainment industry from moving offshore.
Someone still needs to write the books, the screen plays, the TV shows, the music etc. Positions requiring a high level of creativity and originality should still be highly valued.
The impact of computer simulation on actors is still an unknown and does present some risk. As compute power grows over the next decade, the ability to completely and believably simulate an actor will become widely available.
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Reality TV will have a minor impact on the demand for actors. Unique personalities and talented people will always catch our interests and will be in high demand, at least until we tire of them.
Retail store positions will decline gradually as home shopping and Internet shopping continue to grow. There will always be retail stores and retail positions, just fewer of them.
One of the more positive trends in retail was started by Walmart. Employing older, retired people to man the store floor was a brilliant move and a win-win for everyone.
Demand for cashiers will gradually decline as stores install self service scanners and checkout. Home Depot and certain grocery stores began widespread use of automated self checkout in ~2002 to 2003. There will always be cashier positions, just fewer of them.
What about stocking clerks, those folks that come in at night to load up the shelves? Same as most retail store positions. It's work that has to be done, even in the giant warehouse stores. But if you can buy it online and get it faster and cheaper, then watch out.
We think that with increased competition, companies will find they have to do a much better job of differentiating their products and services. Marketing positions should see good demand, but only for the best. Marketing is one of those fields where the mediocre don't survive.
We think Strategic Marketing will become even more critical as companies find they need new and better strategies to succeed.
Now would be a good time for a lawyer joke but I don't have any. There will probably always be a need for attorneys. However we think that as the public begins to understand how the cost of doing business has risen due to the influence of trial attorneys there should be some reduction in demand for that sort of lawyer. We can only hope.
We do see an increased demand for patent and intellectual property lawyers, as well as estate and tax planning lawyers. These are people who are experts in a specific field such as bio tech, tax law, copyright law, etc. They are experts first and lawyers second as opposed to ambulance chasing attorneys.
If you go into law, make sure you know how you are going to add real value.
The trend towards a growing older population that is living longer is already creating high demand in products and services tailored to this demographic. Home healthcare and nursing homes are just two areas to benefit.
We see healthcare as a great field for many years to come. Insurance companies, politicians and trial lawyers will unfortunately continue their negative impact on this critical field for some time. None the less, even with breakthrough medical technologies, people will continue to need healthcare workers.
One threat however is if the politicians reduce the licensing requirements for medical professionals, allowing less educated, possibly poorly trained people into this field. Healthcare needs to be high quality.
By linking everyone's home directly to manufacturers and service providers the entire infrastructure and sales channel has been changing. Anyone who makes his or her living as a middleman had better change careers or become expert at adding unique value.
The middleman in many business transactions will gradually disappear largely as a result of technology and competition. With increased competition, neither the manufacturer nor the customer will be willing to pay for the added cost of the middleman unless he adds substantial value.
Who are the middlemen? Middlemen are found between the manufacturer and the end customer. Usually this is sales people and retailers. For instance, if you can purchase your car over the Internet, why go through a car salesman. If you can purchase airplane tickets over the Internet, directly from the airline, why use a travel agent.
If you must be a middleman be sure you know how to add value and how to differentiate yourself from the competition.
The trend towards cocooning was first identified by Faith Popcorn in her book entitled "The Popcorn Effect" (see the reading list on our web site) or visit her site for some real insight into the trends affecting consumers today. http://www.faithpopcorn.com
Cocooning describes a phenomenon where people will want to stay inside the safety, security and comfort of their homes, their cars, their offices, and their gated communities. People are afraid to go out. This is partially due to mass media's continued effort to frighten the public by showing a constant image of danger.
Thus, people will do more from their homes. They will spend more money to make their homes comfortable and complete. Home entertainment systems, home remodeling will abound.
Expect energy prices to rise, especially in the United States. This will change the infrastructure and underlying economy in many ways. With rising energy prices, all materials will cost more to produce. Recycling will be performed for economic reasons more than environmental reasons.
Expect to see more products that save energy such as solid state electronic lighting and more efficient, but more complicated home appliances.
Alternative forms of energy and energy storage will spawn new industries. Home size fuel cells will become available. Photovoltaic cells may finally become financially attractive.
Fighting over oil reserves will continue until breakthroughs in energy take place.
Increased leisure time has been reported as a trend for a long, long time. We have just never seen it materialize.
Statistics show that people today are working longer hours than their parents. Thus less leisure time.
Although most people don't have more leisure time they now know that and thus value their free time more highly than ever before.
Children who are now just barely old enough to use a mouse are now going on-line. Instead of watching TV these kids are playing games, getting educated and watching advertisements on the Net.
In growing up with the internet, they will be more comfortable and more adept with it than any prior generation. Statistics are showing that most students now use the internet as their sole source of research and help when doing homework and term papers. What does this say for going to the library?
The protective barrier of the home now has a crack in it where on-line marketers push their wares to the youngest generation.
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