While it has long been recognised and accepted that with newer generations gaining purchasing power, the long tail becomes even longer. However, what was unforeseen was that the long tail may become mainstream.
There was a Medium article nearly 4 years ago by Willy Braun on this. Willy talks about how the long tail can gain traction (he draws an interesting parallel between Lady Gaga’s initial audience (niche) and her audience now (mainstream).
So it is with the long tail. In his article on Medium, Willy makes a reference to an interesting study by Anita Elberse. She found that viewers watched movies in niche segments due to availability and access, and due to their interest in Cinema. These viewers also watched mainstream/blockbuster movies. Willy concluded that so it is with consumer preferences; that it is availability that influences whether consumers partake of the long tail.
As Willy suggested in 2017, what were considered niche a few years ago – free from, high protein, ethnic flavours, sustainably sourced, plant based etc, while not mainstream, are not part of the long tail anymore due to availability… and the concept of mainstream does not exist within its old definition either!