It cannot be denied that Americans are getting older. Here are some staggering stats that I keep coming back when considering the aging of America: Over 10,000 U.S. seniors will turn 65 years old every day for the next 20 years; every six seconds, someone turns 50 years old; 55 million people in the U.S. are now 55 or older and 34 million are 65 or older (those last two figures will double); and the over-85 age group is the fastest growing segment of our population. Wow.
A few more facts to consider: People over 50 account for 43 percent of all U.S. households, and within 10 years, the senior population of America will be around 115 million. In 1900, life expectancy in the United States was 46 years. In 2013, life expectancy is nearly 76 years.
The more interesting fact for commercial concerns is that this august group of seniors – known then, now and forever as Baby Boomers – has some $900 billion jingling in their pockets. This is why we see what I term “serial entrepreneurs” targeting this new sector of the marketplace. It represents mass and, for some, a good bit of disposable income.
This is in stark contrast to previous decades, where members of the elder set weren’t high on society’s pecking order. It’s almost fair to say that seniors were “shunted aside”, while nearly all consumer goods were aimed at the younger, 18-34 year-old segment.
Initially coming from a marketing background, I once had a boss tell me that “going young” is the way to sell products and build “brand-equity”. Build brand loyalties at a very early age and consumers will make buying decisions that they will carry with them throughout their lives. But with so many older Americans alive and in force, Madison Avenue has redirected some of its attention to the senior set, and not just for the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” pitches.
Amazing: New York’s Madison Avenue is now listening to seniors.
So, seniors, I’m going out on a limb here but making the suggestion: Start talking. With this relatively “newfound” mass-market appeal becomes buying posture. In terms of life expectancy, we’ve come a long way in a relatively short period of time. In addition, now seniors have the opportunity to enjoy the quality of life that they deserve, with products and services designed just for them.
Keeping the Promise,
By Brian Carrigan