Your grandparents and great-grandparents saw a lot of things change during their lifetimes… During the 20th century, the first Nobel prizes were awarded. The first license plates were issued. The first World Series was played. Americans lived through McCarthyism, the Great Depression, and Orson Welles’ ‘The War of the Worlds’ broadcast. Rock and roll became popular. The first theme parks opened, NASA was formed, and Earth Day was introduced. Two World Wars were fought as well as the Vietnam, Korean, and Gulf Wars. The Gold Standard ended and the tech revolution arrived.
Many of these events had immediate or eventual implications for industries – automobiles, sports, communications, entertainment, defense, technology, and others – as well as financial markets. The last decade has seen some significant changes, too. Here are a few milestones we’ve witnessed:
2006: The United States population passed 300 million. (100 million in 1915; 200 million in 1967)
2007: More babies were born in the United States than in any other year in American history.
2008: Nielsen reported texting had become more popular than calling.
2009: More people lived in urban areas than in rural areas across the globe.
2010: This was the hottest year since 1880 – until the record was broken again in 2014.
2011: Digital music sales overtook physical music sales for the first time ever.
2012: China became the world’s biggest trading nation and largest pork producer.
2013: The United States overtook the Saudis to become the world’s biggest oil producer.
2014: China’s economy surpassed that of the United States.
2015: Millennials (born 1980 to late 1990s) became our nation’s largest living generation.
When considering investment opportunities, it can be helpful to ponder the ways in which demographic and economic shifts may affect the future and what types of businesses may benefit (or not benefit) from the changes.