With 12% of the world’s population now over 60, this growing demographic offers both opportunities and challenges for marketers. While many Later Lifers are disproportionately affected by economic downturn and struggling with healthcare and fuel costs, others are enjoying a comfortable, leisure filled retirement after benefiting from years of economic growth. This report examines this diverse group and their varying spending priorities.
The global population of over 60s – Later Lifers – stood at almost 880 million in 2013, representing 12% of the total global population. By 2020, this demographic will account for 14% of the total population, with the total number reaching 1.1 billion.
Growth in the share of Later Lifers is rapid, driven by falling fertility and increases in life expectancy. The highest numbers of Later Lifers can be found in Asia Pacific, where in 2013 there were 486 million people over 60.
Much of this can be attributed to China, which has the largest Later Lifers population in the world, at 231 million in 2013. China is also the most rapidly growing ageing population, with the number of over 60s forecast to increase by over 32% between 2012 and 2020.
As countries see the number of non-workers increase while the number of workers supporting them decreases. These challenges are particularly harsh in developing markets such as China and India, which still have a young and growing economy, and lack the resources and welfare systems with which to support these changes.
While China has the largest Later Lifer population, it is Japan that has the oldest population, with a massive 33% of the population aged over 60. Japan acts as an indicator and model of the impact of this demographic shift, and highlights the effects of various methods of governmental intervention. Japan has managed its difficult demographic lottery well, with its elderly people healthy and relatively financially comfortable, although younger generations are carrying a significant burden.
Italy ranks second and Germany third in this regard. While most developed markets are relatively old, the US remains quite young, due to high levels of immigration.
It is not surprising, given life expectancies, that the Later Lifers should be, in most markets, focused more on the younger end of this age groups, with the under 70s typically accounting for around 40-50% of the overall demographic. This age group tends to be healthy and active, while the incidence of physical and mental deterioration unsurprisingly increases among the older age groups. The younger over 60s – those under 68 – are also members of the baby boomer generation, who tend to be keen to embrace new products and experiences, such as travel.
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