The Economic Impact of Changes in Social Relationships

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The chart above reflects the changes in dating patterns amongst couples in the past seventy years. In the Rosenfeld study, much was discussed about personal choice in selecting a partner, but these statistics may also reflect a more generalized view of how society interacts and how they do business together.

In the 1940s, connections were made largely through family, friends and school. The importance of family and school dwindled, as did the importance of church and neighbours. Between the 1940s and 1990s, the principal gathering places were through friends, colleagues, bars and restaurants. Starting in the 1980s and rising slowly into the 1990s, online meetings became a factor. The adoption rate of online meetings rose at a staggering rate through the next thirty years, and it is this shift that is also most easily transferable to the changes in the way business is currently transacted. Only 7% of Americans report not using the internet, and 90% of the population found it essential during the pandemic.

The use of online sales media shows no signs of slowing down and indeed, we may be into the next massive change in society’s dating and business tools i.e., the metaverse. Already, we are seeing big companies like Facebook (now named Meta), Nvidia, Microsoft and Apple making massive investments to position themselves as leaders in this new “metaverse economy”. As investors, we need to understand this technology and its potential impact on commercial and consumer activities. It is currently an early-stage technology, but if use and penetration increase similar to the previous rise in online encounters, it could be very influential in the next 30 years.


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