This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

July 18, 2001

Service, Please

Time is precious. We have so much to do that it seems impossible to do everything we want. We need help. Consumers will seek convenience, reasonable prices, and freedom from having to do everything themselves.

The answer will come from service, from more people and companies providing service for us. While not everyone will use every service that will be available, demand will be sufficient for the service industries to become substantially stronger than they are today.

A contributing factor to the increasing demand for services is our aging population. As the 76.4 million Baby Boomers in the United States get older, along with their counterparts in other countries, they will be less able to do everything they do now. They will need assistance, the kind of assistance that will come from the personal service industries.

People living in homes that need maintenance will be more inclined to hire carpenters, electricians, painters, housekeepers, lawn service, and landscaping contractors, and even closet organizers. Relatively few people service their own cars anymore, and in the future the service garages will provide pick-up and delivery more often than they do today. Already there are companies that service your automobile in your own driveway or parking lot.

Grocery shopping is a prime target for increased personal service. We have reported in previous Trend Alerts the movements toward automated self-checkout (9/5/00) and ordering groceries over the internet (8/17/99). While some web- based grocers are struggling, there is a market there and it will be served. A number of grocery stores invite shoppers to fax or e-mail their orders or place their orders through a web site. Personal shoppers walk the aisles on behalf of the customers and package the orders ready for pick-up or delivery.

Restaurants and home/office dining customers are now connected by independent delivery services. These companies can even pick-up orders at several restaurants, enabling a group of diners to enjoy different dishes at the same table.

Then there are the massage therapists and the manicurists . . . the services we've touched on are only the beginning.

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