Six Global Trends on the Ageing Consumer – Research

Some interesting (but not surprising) global trends in ageing from this report titled “Global Consumer Trends – Age Complexity”. It’s a few years old (2009) and costly US$4,000 but here are some valuable insights gleaned from the content list.

1) The trend for “down-aging” continues to shape consumers’ attitudes and behaviours

  • Consumers are attempting to prolong or revisit their youth
  • European Mid-Lifers in particular support the idea of remaining in the family home until your late-20s
  • Down aging behaviours have become well-established in the markets of the Americas
  • Strong familial bonds in Asia Pacific enable consumers to be dependent on their parents for longer

Insight: Extended youth and greater commonality in consumers’ attitudes and behaviors offer opportunities to grow demand

2) Consumers are shifting their reference points towards age definition

  • Growing old is perceived with less negativity and from a more youthful perspective among Europeans
  • Consumers in the Americas feel younger than their actual ages
  • Many Asia Pacific consumers feel younger than they are, showing the trend to be a truly global phenomenon

Insight: traditional age definitions are in decline, adding to the down-aging trend

3) Fear of aging is driving ‘age anxiety’ and proactive attempts to prevent the manifestations of ageing – Many consumers are anxious about aging and age portrayal

  • Older consumers are less appearance conscious than their younger counterparts in Europe
  • Consumers in the Americas show above average levels of concern for age and appearance-related issues
  • Body image issues impact all ages groups in Asia Pacific, but the young are more influenced by beauty portrayals
  • Gulf consumers of all ages exhibit high levels of satisfaction with their appearance and health

Insight: Ageing is a cause for concern among consumers based on both societal values and pressures, and personal fears

4) Consumers are increasingly taking preventative steps in face of the fear of ageing

  • Anti-aging products have a strong reception among older consumers in Europe, while beauty foods are more appealing to the young
  • Brazilians stand out in the Americas as consumers focusing on their personal appearance and driven to preemptively tackle the signs of aging
  • Asia Pacific consumers show a keen interest in aging prevention
  • Consumers in the Gulf exhibit above average concern for taking action against the signs of aging

Insight: preventing the signs of aging is itself undergoing a process of down-aging as ever younger consumers are motivated to respond preemptively

5) Age as a badge of identity: consumers are also embracing the aging process – Age pride is a counter-trend to the fear of aging

  • Older consumers in Europe are keen to live life to the full and adopt an as old as you feel approach
  • US consumers stand out internationally due to their dissatisfaction with their current ages
  • Age satisfaction shows significant variation with age and country in Asia Pacific

Insight: More positive views of aging necessitate greater understanding and nuanced targeting of marketing messages

6) Older consumers are showing adventurousness that breaks with commonly held preconceptions

  • Older European consumers seek to enjoy life just as much as younger age groups
  • Emerging market consumers in the Americas are more likely to be experience seekers, taking advantage of new opportunities
  • Many consumers do not want to slow down in old age in Asia Pacific

Insight: Stereotypes of older consumers as unadventurous can threaten to beguile marketers out of potential sales opportunities

  • The paradox between age pride and fear of aging explains why older consumers do not relate to many adverts
  • While demand is there for products designed for their own needs, older consumers in Europe remain skeptical about associated product claims
  • Brazilians contrast Americans in their persistent interest in brands that match their outlook and belief in the credibility of product claims as they get older
  • Older consumers in Asia Pacific are keen on products designed for their personal needs, but anti agers have not yet gained their trust

Insight: Marketers need to understand the nuances within the Senior age group and the changing ideas of what aging means within it.

It all sounds like being ‘age-friendly’ to me.

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