Best Market Bets For This Year

Published in Philippine Daily Inquirer, January 7, 2005

The decided shift toward micro-marketing, spurred by globalization and the proliferation of new media, technology and distribution channels, has challenged today’s marketers to discover and explore new segments just waiting to be tapped.

In this year of the rooster, marketing experts see opportunities among baby boomers; metrosexuals; women with pocket power; single, upwardly mobile YOCOs; silver citizens and empty nesters; Mr. Mums; SOHO microentrepreneurs, ethnic communities; kids behaving like teenagers and the EDLP consumers.

Baby Boomer Market

Born between 1946 and 1964, baby boomers today hold the world’s record for the largest demographic segment with spending muscle. Baby boomers are constantly preoccupied with ways and means of delaying aging, maintaining health and wellness, an active mind and good spirit. Not surprisingly, they remain focused targets for natural-based, health and wellness products and services, diets and fitness regimens, memory acuity and anti-aging products as well as surgical services that include even voice lifts to keep a youthful voice.

A 2004 ACNielsen report on What’s Hot Around The Globe bears out this consumption behavior across 56 countries in the Asia Pacific that included the Philippines, Europe, emerging countries, Latin and North America. The categories of hair care, sun care, hair removal, face cleansing and moisturizing,
body cleansing and moisturizing all showed a +4 to +7 market growth. Star performers were mostly face and eye moisturizers.

The anti-aging phenomenon has even hit television with the increasing popularity of the reality based Extreme Makeover that allows viewers worldwide to track major transformations in the appearance of the not so naturally endowed and gifted. Of course, local television has its counterpart, Buhay Diva.


Soccer star David Beckham, today’s metrosexual icon is typical of straight men that happen to exhibit soft traits, originally identified with the female gender. Metrosexuals are simply narcissistic, preoccupied with self-image while at the same time comfortable with their sexuality. Hence, they enjoy the finer things in life including fashion, passionate shopping, relaxation, spa and grooming treatments, even cooking. Today’s metrosexuals are not reined in by mainstream society’s stereotype of how they should behave, dress and act.

Indeed in an ACNielsen Global 2004 report, the male population has boosted sales in personal care products specifically in body cleansing and deodorants.

Likewise, noticeable is the fact that the men’s cosmetic Asian market is growing at a faster pace than in the West. Asian men are more open to using cosmetics in what was traditionally a woman’s enclave. A U.S. focus group revealed that Western men shied away from skin care products because they did not understand the relevance of skin care benefits like exfoliate, refine and retexture. On the other hand, Japanese companies are quick to benefit from the seemingly lucrative metrosexual market. In Japan, a remarkable 60% of 20-year old men report that they dye their hair. A similar percentage would use an eyebrow liner to enhance their appearance.

New age women with pocket power

Worldwide, women are enjoying greater financial freedom than ever before. With pocket power comes an open mind, fresher perspective and desire for higher learning. For example in Europe, more women than ever are pursuing doctorate degrees. Similarly, Ivy League schools like Harvard, Yale University
and Columbia report that half of all students in their graduate degree programs are women. The same holds true at the De La Salle Graduate School of Business. Around the world, one in four married women earns more than their husband.

With financial gain, women are no longer dependent on the spouse’s household budget or allowance. They now have their own personal monies to spend.

Single, upwardly mobile

Others call this group, YOCOs or young cosmopolitans but some are no longer that young. What makes them an exciting market segment to tap is their ever increasing disposable income borne out of their being single, marriage to their careers further sparked by 24/7 work schedules and their strong urge to delay marriage and remain single for a longer time. Others even opt not to get married at all. They are perfect targets for convenience-driven and digital lifestyles, smart products and services (customer-friendly products with internet based platforms) and those that promise intense sensory experiences like extreme sports, action packed or adventure weekends and sensations like aromatherapy, authentic ethnic foods and flavored drinks. Style, design and aspirations are sure-fire ways to win them.

Silver Citizens and Empty Nesters

As the percentage of population over 60 years old continue to grow worldwide, categories catering to this market are also on the rise. One such category is the adult incontinence pads/pants that grew by +4% equal to US84 million, according to the 2004 ACNielsen Global report. Another is the personal
care category driven mostly by anti-aging face and eye moisturizers that reduce wrinkles, lighten dark circles and blemishes. Likewise, hair care products that offer hair loss solutions and stay-young hair colorants. Other categories locally that have yet to be tapped are memory loss nutraceuticals, recreation and edutravel, enrichment and life long learning, home improvements, etc.

Mr. Mums or Stay At Home Husbands

A strong emerging market is the segment of househusbands more recently referred to, as the brave new dads. While women are moving into traditionally male echelons, more men are taking on feminine roles including active responsibilities in parenting and home upkeep like tutoring the kids, house cleaning, marketing and cooking.

HOBOs or SOHO micro-entrepreneurs

An emerging market is the increasing number of employees and workers leaving the mainstream workforce to start new careers or move into second careers on their own as their corporate lives takes a dip and more time with the family becomes a priority. These HOBOs control their time, hold offices in their homes, are regular patrons of business centers and business process outsourcing, likely to be potential clients and providers of B2B solutions and webbased platforms and solutions, etc.

Ethnic communities

Ethnic communities have strong ties to race, language, religion or culture. Locally, the Chinese and Muslim communities, each have a stronghold of at least 5% of the general population of 82M. Overseas, there is the increasing number of migrant OFW workers building communities elsewhere.

Globally, marketers across different categories from ultra-chic fashion brands to personal care to technology brands are racing to address the needs of Muslims while presenting this group with products and services glocalized to their culture, tradition and lifestyle. All three ethnic markets have yet to be fully tapped by Filipino marketers.

Kids behaving like teenagers

Tweens, 8 to 12 years old are no longer at the crossroad of choosing to remain a kid or behaving like a young adult. They have cast their votes with pre6 teens now acting and thinking older, behaving more like teenagers. This means that marketers with tween brands need to put in more teen appeal. No small wonder that the cable TV series, The Amanda Show and Brothers Garcia are alltime favorites among young, urban tweens.

EDLP Consumers

Every day low pricing (EDLP) consumers know that each time they visit an EDLP store, they are guaranteed the same low price. Hence, retailers that promise EDLP do not rely on price promotions to extend the lowest price. In the Philippines, where there is an increased concern over the economy (87%) and where consumer sentiment remains low with prevailing pessimism over economic performance in 2005 as indicated in ACNielsens Consumer Confidence Trend in the second half of 2004, catering to the needs of practical and prudent-spending consumers made up by the majority CDE markets may yet be the avenue for trade marketers to stimulate sales and increase over all retail