The demographic environment in marketing
Demography is the study of populations in terms of their size and characteristics. Among the topics of interest to demographers are the age structure of a country, the geographic distribution of its population, the balance between males and females, and the likely future size of the population and its characteristics. Changes in the size and age structure of the population are critical to many firms’ marketing. Although the total population of most western countries is stable, their composition is changing. Most countries are experiencing an increase in the proportion of elderly people, and companies who have monitored this trend have responded with the development of residential homes, cruise holidays, and financial portfolio management services aimed at meeting this group’s needs. At the other end of the age spectrum, the birth rate of most countries is cyclical, resulting in a cyclical pattern of demand for age-related products such as baby products, fashion clothing, and family cars
Consider the following changes in the structure of the Indian population and their effects on marketers.
- There has been a trend for women to have fewer children. There has also been a tendency for women to have children later in life. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of women having no children. Fewer children has resulted in parents spending more per child (more designer clothes for children rather than budget clothes) and has allowed women to stay at work longer (increasing household incomes and encouraging the purchase of labour-saving products).
- Alongside a declining number of children has been a decline in the average house- hold size . There has been a particular fall in the number of large households with five or more people and a significant in- crease in the number of one-person households .
The growth in small or one-person households has had numerous marketing implications, ranging from an increased demand for smaller units of housing to the types and size of groceries purchased. A single person buying for him or herself is likely to use different types of retail outlets compared with the household buying as a unit.
Marketers also need to monitor the changing geographical distribution of the population (between different regions of the country and between urban and rural areas). The current drift towards rural and suburban areas has resulted in higher car ownership levels and a preference for using out-of-town shopping centres.
The technological environment in marketing
The pace of technological change is becoming increasingly rapid, and marketers need to understand how technological developments might affect them in four related business areas:
- New technologies can allow new goods and services tb be offered to consumers- internet banking, mobile telecommunications, and new anti-cancer drugs for example.
- New technology can allow existing products to be made more cheaply, thereby .widening the market for such goods by enabling prices to be lowered. In this way, more efficient aircraft have allowed new markets for air travel to develop.
- Technological developments have allowed new methods of distributing goods and services. (For example, amazon. com used the internet to offer book buyers a new way of browsing and buying books.)
- New opportunities for companies to communicate with their target customers have emerged, with many financial services companies using computer databases to target potential customers and to maintain a dialogue with established customers. The internet has opened up new distribution opportunities for many services-based companies. The development of mobile internet services offers new possibilities for targeting buyers at times and places of high readiness to buy.