Our friend Gene Tunny (Queensland Economy Watch) gave a speech to the University of the Third Age, Redlands yesterday which is well worth a read. It’s an interesting precis of Australian economic history and a review of what might be in our futures.
Of particular interest for our region is what Gene has to say about the impact that aging baby boomers and the “collaborative economy” will have. I’m sure he won’t mind me quoting here at some length; my own emphasis.
“Recent forecasts from Deloitte Access Economics suggest strong jobs growth over the next few years in services, particularly in health, education and aged care, the latter a result of the ageing of the population, as the large baby boomer cohort moves into retirement age.
Incidentally, this has implications for consumption patterns and the types of goods and services in demand. There will be a great emphasis on cost-effective lifestyle and wellness goods and services by baby boomers. People who can help baby boomers age gracefully and keep fit and healthy will do well. I expect personal trainers, yoga instructors and other service providers will respond to the demands of retiring baby boomers with time on their hands, many of whom would have significant disposable incomes. Tourism providers will also benefit, and not just from grey nomads, but they will need to provide superior and interesting tourism experiences for baby boomers, many of whom have already traveled to many interesting places around the world.
In the medium to longer-term some important global trends will be important in shaping our economy.
First I’ll discuss collaborative consumption or the sharing economy – “what’s mine is yours” as Rachel Botsman, the expert on collaborative consumption, describes it. We’re realising that it no longer makes sense to own as many things as we once did, as the internet makes it so easy to find people who own something we want to borrow or hire, such as a motor mower or car.
Think about the ride sharing service Uber, for example, which now threatens the traditional business model of the taxi industry, which is protected by government regulation. Similarly Air BnB is providing an emerging threat to hotels and serviced apartments, by making it easy for home owners to temporarily rent out their houses or rooms.
The internet also makes it easy to find people who might want to barter or offer services in the expectation they’ll eventually be rewarded – an economy that operates on karma. An example of this is couch surfing websites that let people find places to crash in foreign cities.”