Disposable personal income and spending both rose by roughly 0.05 percent (or $63 billion) in January 2016 accounting the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.

This is good news for businesses and especially for those providing consumer products and personal services. More disposable income means more money available to spend- and it seems like we're spending it just as fast as we earn it.

What is everyone buying? BusinessWire reported The Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2016. Some of the trends are about how we shop, others are about what we're buying. Here are just a few.

  • Healthier food. This is a positive trend for us personally, for our healthcare system, and for the environment. Kale rules, right!? Buying healthier means that we're all more aware of sustainable growth and fair wages.
  • Mental wellbeing. The massive interest in improving our mental well-being has sparked incredible growth in articles, podcasts, training, and coaching. Many of us are in this business or it's cool cousin- professional wellbeing. Emerging online options are blended with continued, strong interest in traditional means including fitness/yoga, therapy, and meditation.
  • Stuff for singles. Yes, this includes all of the online match up and meet up apps but also events and programs aimed at getting people together in real life. Businesses that celebrate singles win big.
  • Products to fight aging. Apparently, wrinkle creams and Rogaine are big. I'm not surprised and this reminds me that I need to pop into the cosmetics counter in the near future.

While I think of myself and family as pretty typical, I realized after reading this that we're not. As a side note, 40-something parents of young children buy a lot of small shoes, detergent, yard tools, and Kidz Bop songs.

So, what can you and your business do now to better market to new customers with new disposable income?

  1. Focus on upselling. Starting with your existing customer base is always best. What else would your most delighted customers, your biggest fans want that you could provide?
  2. Expand (or start new) your referral program. Can your existing customers link you with new ones? Start a simple referral program to find out.
  3. Move your product or service to an adjacent market. Test selling the same or similar solution to a totally fresh audience.
  4. Form a new partnership. Find a business offering a complementary solution and team up.
  5. Consider dipping into the government market. Taxes on our consumer purchases eventually make their way into the pot of money available to support federal and state programs. While it's true that government spending is decreasing (and will likely continue on this trend for the foreseeable future), government buyers are always interested in products and services that accomplish the same results faster or cheaper.

We've been looking for signs of economic recovery for a while and are starting to see them. It's a good time to check your business plan against the current market trends to ensure you're on track and well-positioned to tack advantage of your customer's increased disposable income.

Published on: Mar 11, 2016