Added Value Edits: Positive Ageing

20 Nov 2014|jhall

t’s a fact: populations are getting older. And it’s not just in the West: China will have the largest population over 65 years old by the year 2030. Gone are the simple days when marketers could target their products and services through mass media at younger audiences in an attempt to engender lifelong loyalty. As sophisticated consumers live longer, healthier lives, they will re-evaluate experiences and seek brand solutions that chime with their evolving needs, attitudes and behaviours. One thing’s for sure: old age isn’t what it used to be.

The Age of Tomorrow
Our once ‘age-phobic’ society has quickly transformed into a world where seniors are rehabilitated, where ageing is no longer something to be feared, and where science and technology are working hard to push the boundaries of longevity. What if the next step is a society where ‘ageing’ is no longer reviled, but rather prized as the most beautiful part of life and a real social phenomenon that will shape future society? Click here to read some food for thought from Cécile Gorgeon, Director at Added Value.

Top 5 Ways to Win with Positive Ageing
Discover 5 ways that brands can win with seniors, from helping them to see the bright side of life, to making them feel bold and unique, to feeding their pride. Click here to read more…

A new, older world
As we slowly shift from a youth-centric world, to one more evenly split, or even dominated by older populations, society will change in step. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that half of the U.S. population will be over 50 by 2018, and Boomers will control 70% of all disposable income in the US. The traditional focus on a youth cohort will necessarily have to shift: in sports, education, and business.

70 is the new 50
Contrary to popular media portrayal, as people age, so they become more diverse. Think about it: there could be 40 years of difference between this ‘homogeneous’ group. And 78% of people aged 65-74 say that they do not feel old, which explains why they respond better to marketing that depicts people their age living healthy and active lives. L’Oreal, Danone, and Ford are all taking steps to connect with older generations in a more relevant way.

China ageing
China is faced with an ever-growing elderly population. Studies indicate that by the year 2030, China will have the largest population above the age of 65 in the world, taking the title from the current leader, Japan. Currently, institution-based care is relatively rare in China, but this market is forecast to grow substantially. And let’s not forget all the other countries, not least Italy, Croatia, Greece, and Finland….

Quantified ageing
Surveys indicate that 69% of adults track at least one health related measure, and this number increases with age. As consumer health tracking technology, such as Fitbit and Jawbone UP, becomes more mainstream, older generations will use them to take an active role in their ageing process. Some particularly savvy consumers have already used health tracking technology to change their lives in profound ways.

Staying sharp
As life expectancies increase, definitions of ‘old’ are changing. The years that are added to life are not necessarily added to the end, but put somewhere in the middle. Nowadays, life begins at 60, and with more years to spend, people are looking for ways to keep their minds active and sharp. Research has shown that “Brain Games”, special computer games or apps designed to test and increase your intelligence, can be used to ward off dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association of Australia has developed their own app, which came from research proving that mental activity can prevent the disease.

Continuing education
Longer life expectancies translate to more healthy and active years. After retirement, people are finding more and more ways to keep their lives interesting and fulfilling, not least continuing education. Especially in China, retirees are more educated than ever before, and enrolling in classes at record rates. And it is becoming more and more common for people over 50 to reeducate and switch to a new career.

Travel
As Boomers age and retire, the travel industry will reshape to fit their aspirations. For this generation, the classic “resort” vacation has begun to seem stale, and other types of vacations are being sought out. Research has revealed that more “purpose”-based travel, such as ecotourism, spiritual tourism, and adventure, is taking centre stage.

Assistive technology
According to a Harvard study, by 2025, 42% of all households will be headed by somebody 70 or older. As this number increases, different means of assistive living will emerge. “Smart objects”, or household objects that can connect to a network to provide monitoring and other services, are becoming more popular, and it is estimated that a modern home will contain several hundred by the year 2022. Japan has begun to commercialize assistive robots, and the US is not far behind. Carnegie Mellon University has recently developed a robot named HERB, or Home Exploring Robotic Butler, which can complete basic tasks for the elderly.

Get in touch if you’d like to hear how Added Value can help you think about strategic marketing that works.

Written by Jonathan Hall, President North America Consulting, Added Value.
@HallCJonathan

Image Credits: Britain’s Leading Ladies as shot by Annie Leibovitz for Marks & Spencer.

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