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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What can 10 billion people do to supply and demand?

This morning’s New York Times carried a story that may not have looked like a Consumer Trends issue… but it very definitely is one.  The article cited U.N. estimates that the world population will exceed 10 billion by the year 2100.  Click here to see the story.

Implications:   Okay, I for one don’t plan to see either the year 2100 or the 10 billionth resident of the planet.  But that’s not the point.  Fluctuation in population generally leads to either unrest or stability in global politics, scarcity or abundance of supply, and increases or decreases in demand.  So population expansion will definitely impact the consumer… and it won’t take 10 billion people to make it happen.

The price of petroleum, for one thing, can be directly linked to increased consumption in China and India.  That's not waiting for 2100... it's happening right now.  And when the price of petroleum goes up, the cost of shipping almost anything will soon follow. 

As raw materials are in greater demand, countries and their manufacturers will be forced to compete (or bid) for them.  That will force prices for finished goods upward.  Which raises the question—again—are you selling the deeper value proposition of your product or service (how it adds value to the consumer’s life)… or are you focusing on price alone?

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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