Reading Trends

You’ve heard of “clicks and bricks” and “metrosexuals,” but how about “telemedicine” and “webocracy?” The latter two terms might not raise retailers’ eyebrows, but the former affect business decisions: Low diamond margins of online merchants and the buying power of stylish straight men are notorious.

These terms are explored in The 100 Best Trends 2005: Emerging Developments You Can’t Afford to Ignore! written by veteran pop-culture writers George Ochoa and Melinda Corey, who forecast changes and explain why they endure.

The authors suggest Baby Boomers will “generate higher health-care costs and collect more private and federal pensions than ever before” as well as reshape future service structures. Because people are living longer, by 2030 the U.S. population will include 70 million senior citizens.

Other points of interest for retailers include:

  • “Clicks and bricks,” or online and brick-and-mortar store locations working together bring in more revenue than working independently.

  • “Networked businesses,” which make money via partnerships, like eBay, keep overhead low by outsourcing, acting as a hub, capitalizing on technology, and ignoring geographic boundaries.

  • New and familiar terms, including multiculturalism, pirates of the Internet, Web lit, spam, online dating services, and metrosexuals.

While it’s impossible to know how these forces will affect jewelers, the book provides much food for thought. According to the authors, “In a time of rapid change, it helps to understand the underlying patterns of change—not only because those patterns are interesting but also because knowing about them confers an advantage in the pursuit of prosperity and happiness.”