On People and Ageing: Opportunities in an Overlooked and Misunderstood Market Segment

The world population is ageing. Population ageing—the increasing proportion of older individuals in the population—is poised to become one of the most significant social transformations of the twenty-first century, with implications for nearly all sectors of society (UN, 2015). The World Population Prospects (2022) report reveals that the population aged 65 and above is growing at a faster rate than their younger counterparts. This demographic shift is projected to elevate the global proportion of individuals aged 65 and above from 10 percent in 2022 to 16 percent in 2050.

This demographic transition has given rise to a substantial and expanding segment of the population, often referred to as the “overlooked demographic”. Their unmet needs are a direct result of this demographic change. Understanding the economic advantages of the silver economy is essential, as is gaining insight into the behaviour of older individuals that goes beyond clichés, labels, biases, and preconceptions.

An increasing number of developed countries now recognise older individuals as a priority market, acknowledging the changing global population and the growing participation of older individuals in various activities. However, despite their significance, older individuals remain relatively unknown and under-marketed.

Ageing presents a significant challenge for decision-makers in fields ranging from politics and technology to marketing and service industries. Companies must strive to fully understand what older consumers want and are willing to pay for in an era marked by rapidly evolving consumer profiles and behaviours. This involves comprehending new consumption patterns, reevaluating the services they offer, adapting to the shifting needs of older individuals, and proactively addressing the changes and challenges.

This lecture serves a dual purpose: firstly, to explore this vital yet often overlooked demographic and secondly, to shed light on the changing behaviour of older individuals regarding essential aspects for businesses. The insights gained, along with their practical implications, can assist researchers, industry professionals, policymakers, and marketers in better understanding and meeting the evolving needs and expectations of older consumers as the population continues to age.

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Posted by IAFOR