Demographics and Software Sales

Kenneth Gronbach believes that Detroit’s economic woes are caused by the car manufacturers not paying attention to the demographics of buying cars.
Gronbach is the author of the 2008 book “The Age Curve – How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Storm.” The book looks at the marketplace from the perspective of demographics. And it provides some great insights that can help us in the software development industry.
Forty-three-year-old men buy cars. Well, men aged 33 to 53 are the heaviest buyers of vehicles. Generation X (the 69.5 million Americans born between 1965 and 1984) can’t buy cars at the same level as Baby Boomers (the 78.2 million Americans born between 1945 and 1964) bought cars because there are nine million fewer people in Generation X.
Toyota, Gronbach tells us, figured it out. Instead of mainly targeting traditional buyers, Toyota has created cars that attract the much larger, much younger Gen Y buyers. Apparently, Toyota studied the types of used cars that young adults are buying today. And they built new cars that are attractive to these buyers.
Gronbach cites an ad campaign from Porsche 20-or-so years ago. Porsche of America encouraged people to buy used Porsches. Even though this didn’t make the company any money, the company depended on the sale of used Porsches to sell new ones. By making the market for used Porsches robust, it increased the trade-in value of these older vehicles. Many people traded in their old Porsches for new ones.
There might be a lesson here for software authors. Give your software to college students for free. And to high school students. And teachers. Plant the seeds today with users who don’t have the funds to buy your application. And when they graduate and enter the world of work, they’ll remember how great your software was, and buy it. And encourage all of their colleagues to buy it.
   – by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy