Why 60 is the new 50 and how the industry responds to the demographic transformation
[ They are young, hip and eager to spend: the 14- to 39-year-olds are considered to be the most important target group for many industries. But demographic change is rapidly shutting down the relevant age groups, and in many areas, a "new" generation is moving into focus: the so-called Silver Society. This describes the effects of a fundamental change in the age structure of our society. The world is getting old. In Berlin, Tokyo, Moscow, in Buenos Aires, in Pyongyang. The population is aging all over the world. Not always at the same speed, but it ages.
The rapid growth of older populations puts many existing systems under enormous pressure to adapt. In the 50 years between 2000 and 2050, the world population will increase by about half, from around 6 to 9.3 billion. Over the same period, the number of people over 60 is rising from 600 million to 2 billion worldwide – an increase of 330 percent.
Why is 60 the new 50?
A higher standard of living and better medical care mean that people's life expectancy is rising worldwide. Not too long ago people 50+ were counted amongst the 2old guard, today this age group is targeted under hip terms such as "Master Consumer" (the 50- to 60-year-olds), "Maintainer" (the 60- to 70-year-olds) or "Simplifier" (over 70). Welcome to the Silver Society!
Today at 77 one is considered “old”, a survey amongst Germans revealed. In North America, the majority would reckon the age limit here is 80. If one puts the average life expectancy of these countries in relation to that, one is “old” for only three to five years. Today, the decade before that has been labeled differently in the minds of the people. Nowadays, the last quarter in life is divided into three phases: "middle aged", “elderly” and "old".
The Silver Society is anything but "typically old". This generation feels fit, gets involved and stays active. While society is getting older on average, their cultural models are getting younger and younger. According to surveys, the perceived age is now about ten years under the biological. At least.
"A youthful lifestyle has become an ideal for an attractive adult life," states the German Institute of Future Research in a report.
And most of all, the Silver Agers do not live on a budget either. Thanks to good salaries and pensions, they have a high financial potential, they like to consume and use a variety of leisure activities.
As a result, a completely new market was created. For many companies, the generation 60plus offers untold potential. Many industries are already benefiting from the changing needs of the Silver Society. The change in the age structure will have an impact on virtually all sectors.
To name just a few:
According to the Zukunftsinstitut, the issue of health will inevitably come into focus as we get older, and will even be the new status symbol of the Silver Society, which should significantly increase spending on prevention and health products in the coming years.
In line with the development of society as a whole, both in Austria and in Germany there is a decline in the supply of labor and an aging of the labor force potential. Due to increasing problems with pensions, social and long-term care funds, working life continues to increase. A large proportion of older people do not seek rest in the future, but want to continue to be active in their professional lives.
The shift in the age groups is spurring – at least in the short run – the real estate market, the construction industry and craft businesses. The demand for age-appropriate housing units and conversions is increasing, those who still live at home when “old”, will appreciate a floor-deep shower very much. Functional furniture makes the cash registers of furniture stores ring, as is already shown by the example of "box-spring beds".
No age group undertakes as many vacation trips as Best Agers between 50 and 70 years. Senior citizens used to go on bus tours to the countryside on Sundays, but their demands for world-wide holidays have increased significantly in recent years.
Even Best or Silver Agers who do not travel want to spend everyday life with meaningful tasks. Thus, a large number invests in further education offers, in order not to be disconnected technologically. The 50+ generation is therefore increasingly turning to e-learning classes, and media communication is an integral part of their lives anyway. Because the supply is steadily increasing, modern means of communication are used regularly by this age group.
Therefore, it is imperative that industry and services sectors adapt to the needs of an aging society.
In addition to the areas mentioned, the care industry is also one of them. Even the fittest seventy-five-year-old will sooner or later realize that he is not twenty anymore. Serious illnesses such as cancer or diabetes are typical examples of sufferings that occur in older age and still require special treatment. Pharmaceutical companies and care providers will therefore continue to boom in the future.
Funfact: Diabetes – No. 1.
One thing is for sure: In a cross-generational society, a change of perspective is needed as well as a forward-thinking strategy, an age-friendly corporate culture based on appreciation and respect to promote diversity throughout the company and minimize stereotyping and discrimination.
Young or old – what matters is the mindset. ]