By 2030, the number of people in America over 50 years old will surpass those under 20.
– In 1950, women gave birth to an average of five children each. By 2000, the birth rate dropped to 2.65.
– Seventy-six percent of people ages 57 to 65 use the Internet for accessing news and information.
– Consumer consumption tends to decline with age, with one exception — health care.
A declining birth rate and a rising life expectancy are bringing about an unprecedented demographic transformation around the world, participants were told at a recent futuring and trends conference, hosted by Ford at its world headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.
To accommodate the needs of a tech-savvy aging population, automobile designers and engineers are developing an array of specialty products.
For example, a heart-rate monitoring driver’s seat is hoped to one day reduce the number of accidents and fatalities that occur as a result of motorists having heart attacks behind the wheel. And because healthcare is a major issue for boomers, systems are being developed that will provide people with self-help health and wellness information while driving, helping people manage chronic illnesses and disorders, such as diabetes, asthma or allergies while on the go.
“It used to be thought that you hit midlife and you went into a slow, steady decline,” Carol Orsborn, the writer and CEO of Boomerinfluence.com,told a group of lifestyles, technology and green media from across Canada, the United States and Mexico.
But baby boomers are defying ageism, she said. Today’s seniors tend to be far more physically active than their parents or grandparents were.
And they’re technologically connected. So what they do, how they think, and what they buy differs greatly from previous generations.
As consumers, Boomers are a powerful force, Orsborn pointed out, cautioning marketers not to ignore this demographic and focus instead on young consumers with an abundance of disposable income.
While individual boomers tend not to spend as much as Gen Ys, boomers are becoming a greater percentage of the total population, and in turn their combined buying power is significant.
Tomorrow’s products and services need to reflect this every-changing world, Orsborn stressed.
For example, luxury is being redefined. The bigger-is-better or the-more-luxurious-the-better mentality is being replaced by a desire for simplicity. Although today’s boomers don’t want to be poor, “we don’t mind being simple and selective,” Orsborn said.
She also pointed to the growing awareness of the importance of women as influencers in the types of products that are bought, noting that many boomer women have not saved enough for their retirement, which inevitably will affect the purchases they make in the future.
“The upside is this is a generation who have always been resourceful and creative — and redefining success according to their own values. They will not go down without a fight.”
For example, boomer women are travelling together and living together.
“My vision of women in the future — make it one great pyjama party,” Orsborn said.