Increased life expectancy is swelling the ranks of older people globally and in particular, those over 80, whose numbers will double by 2040. Women of this age outnumber men by 2:1 and companies ignore this market at their peril. 28 nations have more than 2 million older people. China is predicted to have 178 million over 65s. Japan’s older population has doubled in the last decade and by 2025, between 509% of world population with be over 80.
Yet, the older market is more diversified that you think, even though it suits marketeers to talk about the similarities rather than the differences, as then it is easier to talk about size of market and trends. Yet, some older people are well off and some are not, some are active and healthy, whilst others are frail and some are socially engaged, whilst others are withdrawn. There are significant differences physiologically, psychologically and socially.
The implications for companies are significant, in terms of developing the right products and service to meet the needs of this growing target audience and not just blanket needs, but specific needs, dependent on their particular situation.
In addition, the effect of such an ageing population has profound implications for workforces and many companies are simply not ready. There are fewer young people to employ and absenteeism amongst staff to look after older relatives now accounts for more time off work than time off work looking after children. The stress and pressure of being a carer and a member of the sandwich generation, pulled between children, older parents and a job, also affects job performance.
As a result, many companies are employing people for longer. Older people have a lower absentee rate, lower turnover and a higher customer satisfaction rating. They might also help you work out what the right products and services are for people just like them!
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