Will You Still Woo Me When I’m 94?


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This past week I found myself researching trends that will define the human race over the next generation. Many of the expected prognostications are there, including world population shifts, a heightened focus on the environment, and wireless everything.

Buried in the many blogs and reports is one obvious but critical expectation: We are going to live longer – much, much longer.

You’ve probably read the recent stories. Researchers at Boston University have identified 150 genetic markers that can predict if someone will live to be 100. A recent USAToday report indicates that about one-third of middle-income U.S. citizens will run out of money 20 years after they retire. Twenty years! You don’t have to be a mathematician to figure out how old that would make us.

So it got me to wondering about customer segmentation, and whether a new group of consumers – the ultra-mature – should be examined and defined. After all, if one-third of Baby Boomers lives to be 100, that’s roughly 25 million people. How will they act as consumers? Where will they shop? What will influence their purchases?

A few things are certain. For one, you can expect them to be online. According to research by Deloitte, 47 percent of Baby Boomers maintained a profile on a social website in 2009. The ultra-mature also are likely to be active longer, and will work full-time or part-time, sometimes changing careers. This means a good selection of running shoes for the octogenarian, and stylish but appropriate lines of professional apparel. Small, efficient homes and apartments may become in vogue as the number of empty-nesters climbs.

But so much more needs to be determined. Stores might have to modify their layout to suit the purchase behavior and needs of the ultra-mature. New products – and possibly micro-industries – will be developed to address diet, beauty and health. Loyalty marketers will need to stay in close touch with these consumers, adjusting their recognition and rewards as demands change. A 90-year-old might not hesitate to take a trip to Italy, for example.

It is a fascinating prospect. So much of consumerism focuses on the young, but in 40 years this nation could be nearly dominated by the old.

I wonder how many miles I’ll have by then?

Lisa Biank Fasig
Lisa leads the creation of editorials and feature stories for COLLOQUY and oversees the work of contributing editors and writers. With 18 years of reporting experience, most in business and specifically consumer behavior, she is highly skilled at researching data and teasing out the trends. A background in graphic design enables her to see ideas in three dimensions and tell the story visually.


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