Cultural Change Changes Markets

Oct 17, 2012

I guess I can say now that I’ve seen it all. It was a big social step when New York City started giving away millions of condoms every year. But a recent story in the New York Times took things up another notch. 

Trojan Company stocked two hot dog carts with ten thousand free samples of vibrators and gave them away in Manhattan: five-thousand of their thirty-dollar model and five-thousand of their forty-dollar Tri-Phoria Vibrators.

Vibrators are now on the shelf in Walmart, Walgreens, Target, Kroger, virtually every major chain. And nothing moves products quicker than free sampling. Who knew how big - what they call the sexual enhancement market - is? Last year it was a sixteen-million-dollar market, growing at over twenty-three-percent a year.

Few factors have bigger impact on the economy and specific sectors than cultural change. Before World War II, few women drove cars. During the war they started and after the war the car market boomed. Then we started moving to the suburbs and auto sales continued to boom.

Nothing affects markets as much as cultural change.

And nowadays it probably doesn’t pay to be a social conservative because you’ll be a lot less likely to spot cultural changes that foretell marketing opportunities.

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