SWOT Analysis: Social Shifts - dummies

By Erica Olsen

When analyzing threats and opportunities, cultural and societal shifts are probably the hardest to spot because the results of these forces affect a society’s general attitudes, preferences, tastes, and beliefs. Catching, or even better, predicting, a social trend can be a home run for your business. Think about the low-carb craze, the reinvention of coffee as a lifestyle, digital music, outsourcing, offshoring, and so on.

Social indicators include the following issues:

  • Labor availability and types

  • Lifestyle changes, such as working from home or single households

  • Attitudes about work and leisure

  • Education

  • Health

  • Fashion and fads

  • Living conditions

Here’s what to watch for or capitalize on:

  • Virtual learning: Broadband access is increasingly widening informal learning opportunities less expensively. Online access to credentialing will also increase diversity in learning options to the 500 million young people who don’t have access in today’s environment. Emerging countries will reap the benefit of online learning as quickly as companies can respond to the demand.

  • Individualism: Playing hand-in-hand with digitization (which makes it so much easier to reach consumers worldwide), individualism accelerates commercialism because consumers can now demand tailored products and services to meet their individual demands.

  • Prosperity: Prosperity is identified as a megatrend across OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries that will change the demand for new types of products. We’re experiencing a change from agricultural and/or industrial societies to knowledge societies in which demand increases for intangible products that offer experiences, services, entertainment, and investment.