Insights

How Old is Old The Global Impact of an Aging World
Article

How Old is Old The Global Impact of an Aging World

Doug Anderson, EVP Research & Development, The Nielsen Company

At 12:01 AM on January 1, 2011 the Baby Boom generation, those aged 47–65 in 2011, started turning 65 around the world. Between then and December 31, 2029, about 10,000 people will reach age 65 every day in the United States alone. But aging is not the sole province of the U.S., or even the more developed world. Of all the countries in the world, only Niger in Saharan Africa will not see an increase in its median age over the next 10 years – it will start to rise after 2020, according to the UN Population Division World Population Prospects.

Population aging is not a short-term trend or even a medium-term one. As most countries will continue to age well into the second half of the 21st century, population aging is a permanent trend and marketers will need new models to reach aging consumers.

Why Age Matters

As populations age, the significance of consumers over the age of 50 will grow in importance. Already in the U.S., the Baby Boom generation accounts for the largest share of sales of any generation across most product categories. Understanding this new marketplace will be essential for brands that will grow in the 21st century.

Nielsen’s report, The Global Impact of an Aging World, based on findings from Nielsen’s global online survey conducted in more than 50 countries brings much to light about retirement and other sentiments around aging. The one thing marketers must accept for certain about Baby Boomers is that they will redefine what it means to be old in exactly the same manner as they redefined what it meant to be young and middle aged. And they will not allow themselves to be ignored.

The Global Impact of an Aging World provides answers to critical questions to help marketers better understand how to navigate the growing aging marketplace:

  • Why are we getting older?
  • How old is old?
  • When can I retire?
  • How will I fund retirement?
  • How will I spend my time?
  • How will I spend my money?

The New/Old Face of Opportunity

Whether you are a manufacturer who makes the products consumers use, a retailer who sells the products to the consumers, or the media who provide the means for both manufacturers and retailers to talk to consumers, you are impacted by the aging profile of consumers. The senior market is affluent, connected and a force for decades to come. And while this segment represents a disproportionate share of marketplace consumption (in the more developed world), they are often overlooked in marketing plans.

The degree and extent of aging taking place across the globe today is unprecedented. Demographers, sociologists, and marketers will need to develop new models and new ways of thinking to understand the shifts we see today and will continue to see for decades to come. Aging is here to stay.