People around the world are living longer. As longevity is becoming the new norm, it will immensely transform the world we live in and shape future consumer demand. Businesses need to recognise the overarching impact of ageing and rising longevity and embrace the opportunities it will bring in the coming years.
A look at ageing trends and the longevity boom
The world is getting older, driven by rising life expectancy and falling birth rates. The following are some main ageing and longevity projections:
- In 2019, for the first time in history, the number of people aged 65 or older will surpass the number of children aged 4 and under.
- By 2030, more than 990 million people will age 65 or over. One-quarter of them will live in China.
- The global life expectancy at birth will reach 74.4 years old by 2030, compared to 66.7 in 2000.
- Among the population aged 65 and over, the fastest-growing group between 2019 and 2030 will be the people aged 75-79.
Global Total Population by Age 1980-2030
Source: 2019 Forecasts from Euromonitor International’s Future Demographic Model
Ageing and longevity will drive consumer megatrends
Population ageing, combined with a longer lifespan, will have immense impact on the global market as it is reshaping consumer lifestyles and purchasing decisions. Senior consumers today already live a different life compared to the previous generation. For example, Baby Boomer pensioners purchase everything from items for the home and technology to cosmetics and adventure travel experiences. Ageing and longevity are driving various consumer megatrends.
Younger consumers are often known to value experience over “things”, but older consumers are a growing driver of this megatrend. Senior consumers’ demand for traveling is soaring, given the fact that they now have more time –and in many cases the resources— for travel. In order to tap into this growing market, Flight Centre New Zealand has offered tailored experiential travel for seniors. This includes senior travel packages and senior cruises.
Travel Frequency of People Aged 60+
Source: Euromonitor International’s Lifestyles Surveys
Health is the new wealth and it becomes even more important as one ages. The strong rise in the number of older consumers means the shift towards healthy living lifestyles will continue to gain momentum. Senior consumers are fuelling demand for health and wellness. Centrum, a vitamin brand belonging to Wyeth Pharmaceutical, has actively embraced the healthy living trend among older consumers in China. It has cooperated with a programme on Beijing TV to proactively call on middle-aged and elderly people to keep an energetic mindset in both their work and personal life by regularly taking Centrum vitamins.
Together with urbanisation and technology changes, ageing is a driving force behind the changing landscape of the retailing industry. The demand for convenient shopping is huge among older consumers, providing opportunities for new business models catering to their needs. Flaschenpost, a German start-up providing a fast beverages delivery service, has seen strong growth in the local market recently. Although the company does not specifically target older consumers, its business concept resonates well with Germany’s expanding group of senior consumers who may not want to, or be able to, carry heavy beverage boxes anymore.
The increasing wish of older consumers to maintain their quality of life has given rise to the “Ageing in place” movement, which focusses on keeping elderly people in their own homes for longer as they age. Technology has shown great potential for improving the life of the elderly.
Home automation, remote health monitoring and robotic caregivers are allowing older adults to continue to live independently in their own homes without affecting their health and safety. Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant, already helps many seniors by answering questions, reading the news, calling relatives and controlling devices such as lights and the television, on-demand.
Silver consumers will be the future. Their lifestyles will continue to evolve on the back of rising living standards and improving health conditions. Understanding and engaging this expanding consumer segment today will be vital for businesses to remain successful in the long term. For more information on population change and other megatrend drivers please download the white paper “Understanding the Socioeconomic Drivers of Megatrends”.