It’s not all about millennials: consumers are ageing

There’s never been a better time to be old – or to take advantage of the growing mature-consumer market. Life expectancy is rising around the world, having a major effect on consumer behaviour and the way business approach the market.

" Life expectancy is rising around the world, having a major effect on consumer behaviour and the way business approach the market."
Gina Westbrook, Director Strategy Briefings, Euromonitor

The median age of the global population was 29.6 years in 2015, up from 27.5 years a decade earlier. Average global life expectancy is now 72 years, up from 69 years in 2005.

Over the decade, the global percentage of people aged over 60 years grew from 10 per cent to 12 per cent and by 2020 this figure is expected to rise to 13 per cent.

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Companies are responding to the needs of an ageing consumer base by adapting or segmenting their products and packaging; offering greater customisation - and casting older icons in their advertising campaigns.

Key findings from Euromonitor, as well as economic and sales data from Passport, have found:

Living longer, healthier

The boundaries of old age continue to shift as people live longer and take better care of our health and wellbeing.

The number of over-60s has risen by a third over the last decade, making this the fastest growing consumer segment.

A burgeoning market for “age management”

A large and growing market has risen for products and treatments that help protect the skin and hair or reverse the signs of ageing.

 This includes anti-agers and other beauty products that incorporate anti-ageing properties; beauty devices; and cosmetic procedures, such as injectable fillers.

A holistic lifestyle

More consumers are taking a holistic approach to ageing, paying attention to good nutrition and recognising the need to balance their emotional wellbeing with keeping their body active and mind sharp.

This is benefiting a range of health and wellness foods and beauty-positioned supplements.

Brain fitness

Ageing consumers are choosing to remain socially and intellectually active by staying in work longer, travelling, learning new skills


Although the over-60s still represent the smallest of the key age groups, their growth has been more rapid than any other consumer segment over the decade to 2015, at 34 per cent.

In contrast, the number of under-18s crept up by just 3 per cent. The over-60s saw their share expand from 10.3 per cent in 2005 to 12.3 per cent in 2015.

Consumers’ desire to hold back time will ensure a large and growing market for anti-ageing products of all kinds and will provide an opportunity for manufacturers to adapt and segment their products to meet differing anti-ageing needs and expectations at all stages of life.

Consumers are likely to choose a holistic path to ageing, whereby they pay attention to wellness of mind and body to ensure they stay fit and healthy for longer.

Studies show mature consumers do not want to be treated as one homogeneous group by marketers.

Finding the right language can be tricky, considering people do not want to be viewed as “old”. US studies show words like ‘senior’, ‘ageing’ and ‘retiree’ often receive a strong negative response.

However business chooses to approach this new reality the overriding motto of the future will be to ‘grow old gracefully”’.

You can read Euromonitor International’s full article here.

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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