THEN & NOW

Published on .

Most Popular

Since its inception 25 years ago, American Demographics has devoted its pages to one main mission: identifying consumer trends. Although the magazine's staff, owners and even look have evolved over the years, its commitment to this mission has not wavered. We therefore thought it fitting to begin our 25th anniversary package with a look at what the next 25 years will bring. In our opening feature, Editor-at-Large Alison Stein Wellner uses population projections from MapInfo, a Troy, N.Y.-based market research firm, to present the three key demographic trends that will shape the consumer market over the next quarter century.

In an accompanying piece, Peter Francese, American Demographics' founder, highlights some of the most important consumer changes of the past 25 years — developments that are still relevant today and that we were among the first to report. What he describes represents seismic shifts in who we are and how we live, changes that irrevocably altered American attitudes, consumer behavior and culture. Additionally, to provide a sense of how research into consumer behavior gets translated into successful marketing strategies, our award-winning columnist Matthew Grimm identifies some of the most effective ad campaigns of the past quarter century. The ads he chose resonate more than most, because they successfully sold a product by capturing the spirit of the target demographic or by speaking to unfulfilled consumer needs.

In a separate section, “Demographic Diamonds,� we present profiles of 25 people who have made significant contributions to the worlds of demographics, market research, media and trendspotting during the past 25 years. These experts share their views on what they consider the most important trends in their fields over the past quarter century and predict more far-reaching changes to come. (A sampling of their thoughts, in their own words, are included. Their full remarks can be found on our Web site, www.demographics.com.)

The original list of people whom we wanted to profile as “Diamonds� was extensive. We regret that not everyone on our initial list appears in the pages that follow. In choosing our “Diamonds,� we decided to limit our search to five people in each of the following categories: media experts; demographers/social scientists; market researchers; futurists/trendspotters; and niche experts. To help narrow our choices, we excluded the deceased, those who have written for American Demographics in the past and those based outside the U.S. Yet even despite these filters, we still had the unenviable task of whittling the list down further — a highly subjective exercise, at best.

The last page of our package is a roll call of contributors and American Demographics alumni whose ideas have graced our pages during the past 25 years. It is by no means a full roster — just a sampling of the people who, in some form or another, helped to fulfill the mission of the magazine over the years by giving readers a better understanding of consumers.

In the coming years, we plan to continue helping our readers break away from the pack by providing early information on emerging markets and deeper insights into consumer behavior.

In this article: