By 2008, the over-50 demographic market for Canada and the U.S will make up almost half of all consumer spending. This enormous shift in the purchasing power of older consumers will have significant implications for the consumer business and retail sector. Companies that understand how to cater to this demographic can tap into a growing market.
Deloitte conducted an online survey of 1,059 aging consumers to examine the changes within the senior market. In the publication "Wealth with wisdom: Serving the needs of aging consumers" the survey notes that while older consumer's preferences are difficult to characterize, they do exhibit specific patterns of change — biological, psychological, economic and social. Understanding these changes can help to inform product and service design as well as delivery decisions.
Just about every consumer business industry — from consumer products to health care, travel & leisure, pharmaceuticals, technology and transportation - will be transformed by the aging consumer market. Departments and organizations such as product design, target marketing and web sites geared towards the 50-plus market will also have to adapt their consumer products and service strategies to effectively compete for this demographic. North American companies are responding to this niche and recent Canadian examples include:
- Whirlpool has designed its Duet front-loading washer and dryer on a raised pedestal to reduce back strain and fatigue
- Ford Motor engineers now simulate the mobility, strength, and vision limitations of older drivers to help test and plan some of their products
- Web site usability enhancements to help older viewers
- Vitamin-enriched foods, antioxidants and nutrient companies are successfully targeting over-50 customers
The report also recommends three "next steps" to help product designers and managers tap into the aging consumer market.
Publish date: April 28, 2006
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