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Huge Shifts in Consumer Behavior Made Easier to Understand, Quantify and Anticipate

Demographics determine the direction of your business. Demographic trends can be overwhelming, misleading, confusing, conflicting, and difficult to predict. Not anymore.

John Burns and Chris Porter wrote this book to help make demographic trends easier to understand, quantify, and anticipate. Readers of this book will have a huge competitive advantage because they will be making decisions with facts, and they will be better able to adjust their strategies when unanticipated events shift prevailing trends. Know the facts, and learn to:

  • plan your business better;

  • support your decisions with facts; and

  • clarify the demographic confusion using the groupings and frameworks used in this book.

John Burns, Chris Porter, and their team support everything with more than 100 easy-to-read charts and plenty of facts. Those interested in change in America should read this book right away.

How Well Do You Understand Demographics?

Take this quick quiz and find out. How has single-parenting changed over time? What % of Americans live in urban downtowns? Which generation started the most companies?

Big Shifts Ahead  featured in Times Square, New York City.

Big Shifts Ahead featured in Times Square, New York City.

Our youngest reader,  Finley Porter , supporting her dad (co-author Chris Porter), on launch day.

Our youngest reader, Finley Porter, supporting her dad (co-author Chris Porter), on launch day.

I applaud John Burns and Chris Porter’s bold challenge to the conventional wisdom on demographics. Their analysis provides valuable insights for any marketer working to unlock value for their customers.
— Deborah Wahl, Chief Marketing Officer of McDonalds USA
Big Shifts Ahead is aptly titled. A valuable and interesting read for both business planners and anyone interested in thinking about who Americans are.
— Doug Duncan, Chief Economist at Fannie Mae
This is one of the best books you can read on demographics and consumer spending.
— John Mauldin, Multi New York Times Bestselling Author and Writer of the online newsletter, Thoughts from the Frontline
John Burns and Chris Porter make a phenomenal case for how demographics trends influence long-term societal behavior.
— Chip Conley, Bestselling Author and Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy of Airbnb
Really great way to break down the generations. You may have a game changer on your hands!
— Bruce Norris, President of The Norris Group and host of the award-winning series, "I Survived Real Estate"
It’s a great book. There were a number of great takeaways for me.
— Adrian Foley, President and COO at Brookfield Residential
John Burns and Chris Porter masterfully use graphs and demographic data to illustrate many of the past and future trends.
— Bill McBride, blogger at (named #4 best financial blog by
The single most important work on forecasting consumer behavior in a generation.
— Bill McLoughlin, Chief Content Officer at Furniture Today
John Burns and Chris Porter’s Big Shifts Ahead should be a must read for individuals making long term Real Estate investment decisions.
— Mark Kroll, Managing Director at Sares-Regis Group
Fantastic read, engaging, relatable and a ‘could not put it down’ experience. This well-thought out decade-born approach now provides the backdrop for key business decisions we make every day.
— Caroline Simmel, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Edward Andrews Homes
It has become a great reference for me in talking on a macro level with investors.
— Eric Wood, Chairman at Nest Homes
Best book I’ve read in 10 years.
— Tony Hallada, Managing Principal at CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC
This book is fascinating.
— Jim Blasingame, Creator and host of The Small Business Advocate Radio Show
I truly believe your efforts and those of Chris Porter are truly industry changing in viewing and understanding demographic cohorts.
— Nick Lehnert, Executive Director of Design Strategies at KTGY
John’s book is the best I’ve seen related to age demographics and their impact on housing. Usually, we have to search many sources to get the type of information he has compiled in one place. I highly recommend the book.
— Elliot Pollack, CEO at Elliott D. Pollack & Company
Burns and Porter significantly redefine the notion of demographics in a way that will allow executives to sharpen WHO they are targeting as buyers and HOW to reach and resonate with that buying cohort.
— Steve Friedman, Former Home Building National Director of Ernst & Young
I really enjoyed your book. I ended up buying eleven more copies and giving them to folks at work, friends and my kids.
— Ken Ryan, COO of Van Metre Companies
[Big Shifts Ahead] lives up to the title, describing demographic shifts and interpreting what they mean for the future of business.
— Meg White, Managing Editor of REALTOR Magazine
Part of their genius is to look at vast amounts of data, find the connections and reveal big picture concepts that contradict common wisdom in simple and easy to understand terms. “Big Shifts Ahead” is an amazing book.
— Octavio Nuiry, Managing Editor at ATTOM Data Solutions (Book review featured in ATTOM Data Solution’s monthly newsletter, the Housing News Report)
It’s great to read data like this and to see how easiy it can be to digest the demographics information as it’s presented. Our leadership team will read the book as a book study. We will purchase books for our students taking economics and psychology.
— Jan Van Blarcum, PhD, Founder and Executive Director of The Einstein School

Big Shifts Ahead: Demographic Clarity for Businesses has been covered/featured by the following:

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Three New Frameworks

Huge demographic shifts, driven by new technologies, government policies, economic circumstances, and social shifts are disrupting business models all over the United States. Business executives know that their customers are changing, but have a difficult time quantifying and predicting the changes. John Burns and Chris Porter developed 3 new frameworks to make trends easier to identify and analyze. Each framework brings clarity to the overwhelming volume of data and anecdotes that leave so many confused.

Framework #1
Usable Generational Definitions

John Burns and Chris Porter redefine the generations by decade born, making demographic shifts easier to understand and quantify.

Four Big Influencers

John and Chris identified the Four Big Influencers that explain why those born in different decades behave so differently. These Four Big Influencers will continue to shift behaviors for years to come.


Framework #3
Seven Biggest Opportunities

Burns and Porter devote a chapter to each of the seven biggest opportunities, forecast the future of each, and provide a framework to shift strategy when unexpected changes occur.

A Message From the Authors

John Burns and Chris Porter

We wrote Big Shifts Ahead primarily for ourselves. As consultants to the construction and investment industries, we need to understand the demographic shifts transforming the country. We also need to communicate the trends to our clients in a way that makes the information digestible and usable for decision making. In this book, we pulled an overwhelming amount of information together for those who need to make decisions.

Decision makers require simplification, backed by supportable facts. Big Shifts Ahead offers both.