The Future Of SOHO

A Snapshot Of Tomorrow's Homebased-Business Owner

Home officers are not like the average American. Not today, and not tomorrow. They're more affluent, educated, mobile, married and satisfied with their lot in life. And that rosy outlook is only expected to grow in time.

A snapshot of today's home office entrepreneur shows a slight majority are men (55 percent), with the average age to be the early 40s and the average annual household income nearing $63,000, according to the Home Office Demographics Update 2000 from IDC. In addition, some 60 percent have attended college, 64 percent are married, 80 percent own their home, and 45 percent have at least one child under the age of 18 in the home. Ethnically and culturally, home officers are a slice of Americana, with all racial groups equally represented among the current population. "It's such a widespread and broad trend that it doesn't skew toward specific demographic niches," says Mary Porter, a senior research analyst with IDC.

The number of home offices in operation in the United States today (including teleworker and after-hours workers) is expected to hit 39 million by 2002, she says. Income-generating home offices should rise to 21.8 million in 2002, up from 20.3 million today.

Though the numbers will grow, the picture painted shouldn't change much in the coming years, Porter adds. The group will remain affluent and educated, she says. In fact, many college graduates will still opt for traditional jobs, if only to garner experience and contacts-and then quit to go it alone, she says.

Tomorrow's homebased entrepreneur will likely grow older as the baby boomers age-and increasingly head home to work. As they wind down traditional careers, Porter explains, "[they'll be] looking to homebased business as the next pre-retirement stage of their lives."

Note This

Fifty-five percent of home office operators are men, the average age is early 40s, and the average annual household income is $63,000.
While most homebased demographics are expected to stay the same, the average age may increase as baby boomers age and look to homebased business as the next step in their lives
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