THE NEXT AGE

Two consumer driven studies will be delivered here during the General Merchandise Distributors Council's Annual HBC Marketing Conference, May 16 to 21, 1997. The studies were conducted by Willard Bishop Consulting, Barrington, Ill.Both studies, "Identifying and Marketing to the Heavy GM/HBC Shopper" and "Growing Opportunities in Do-It-Yourself Health" emphasize the importance retailers must place

Two consumer driven studies will be delivered here during the General Merchandise Distributors Council's Annual HBC Marketing Conference, May 16 to 21, 1997. The studies were conducted by Willard Bishop Consulting, Barrington, Ill.

Both studies, "Identifying and Marketing to the Heavy GM/HBC Shopper" and "Growing Opportunities in Do-It-Yourself Health" emphasize the importance retailers must place on the consumer, market segments and buying patterns to survive in today's retailing environment.

"Anytime you can better define a market, you can go out and address that market. You can find out what's needed to take care of those customers," said Jerry Barnes, vice president of member affairs and education for Colorado Springs, Colo.-based GMDC.

Consumer expert Roger Blackwell, professor of marketing at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, and president of Blackwell Associates, Columbus, Ohio, will be on hand to analyze the heavy nonfood shopper study, which will be presented jointly by the GMDC Educational Foundation and the Grocery Manufacturers of America, Washington.

Blackwell has said: "There are no more mass markets -- only variations in size and growth rates of segments. People who understand those segments will do well."

As an adjunct to GMDC's look at consumer buying behavior and opportunities in HBC, SN presents two consumer segments that are impacting the HBC aisles now -- the massive and powerful 50-plus age group and the kids' segment and its influence on adult purchases.

The combined segments represent over 93 million people who have a lot of discretionary income. These segments are expected to grow to over 108 million consumers by the year 2000, close to half of the American population.