Products: Products and services are needed that tailor to older adult needs and expectations.
Do you know what an “aged economy” is? According to the United Nations, an aged economy is one in which consumption by older people surpasses that of youth.4 Thirty years ago, there were no “aged economies” in the world. In 2010, there were 23 such economies, and by 2040, there will be 89.4
Many organizations today continue to focus their products and services toward youth, even though American adults ages 18–49 have US$3,000 in their bank accounts, on average.16 Why? The following three reasons may shed some light:
- Research from the United Nations shows that this lack of interest in the older consumer stems from ageism and a limited understanding of the market.4
- Many companies are either unaware of the potential of the changing market and demand for products, or they have failed to respond and adapt.17
- A widespread lack of thought exists in this area, resulting in limited availability of goods, products and services inclusive of, or appropriate for, people in older age groups.18
With your competition neglecting this market, where is the opportunity for you? Just look around. Not only is the older-adult population diverse, but so are the opportunities to provide needed solutions and offerings. Virtually every area of business can improve the way they design and deliver products for this market—from more functional furniture to cosmetics and supplements, to wellness (the fifth fastest-growing global segment in the packaged consumer goods industry19) and products to improve quality of life. One example: Once seen as a supplement for ailing and frail individuals, one rebranded nutritional drink now promises to help customers maintain bone and muscle. We’re also seeing growth in the creation and recognition of Age-friendly Cities, an initiative that guides cities in shaping more accessible, inclusive urban environments for older citizens.20
Population aging is causing us to rethink the way we design and deliver products and services. How will you adjust your products or services to better meet the market’s expectations?
A thought to ponder: What impact does the current lack of appropriate products and services have on the inclusion of older people in society? As we all grow old, how will this affect you and your family, plus future generations, if left unchanged?
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