The Power Of The 50+ Market In Asia Pacific
• Grow almost five times faster than the total population growth
• Represent almost 1 billion people across the region
• Comprise more than 35% of the population of most developed countries in the regions
At the same time, younger populations are either shrinking (pre-teens -6.5%) or stagnating. One dramatic example is China, where the 50+ is already greater than the entire population of the U.S. and will grow dramatically in the coming years, while at the same time, the under-50's will shrink by 117 million. Another shocking statistic is Japan's 1-34 population will decrease around 16% in the same 10-year period. Bad news for youth-obsessed marketers!
Wealthy and Wise
What's more, as in the West, older consumers have wealth. One estimate by MasterCard puts the spending power of the retired population (65+) in APAC to exceed $2 trillion by 2015.
People often comment on the volume vs. value of the older consumer in Asia Pacific. China again, is a clear example. Based on data from Global Demographics, households in China with persons aged 50 to 64 (i.e. still economically active) are important even though they earn marginally less, on average, than younger households. Because of their smaller average household size, their per capita income is actually 30% greater than younger households. Their discretionary expenditure per household (and per capita) is also significantly higher.
This means their total market value (number of households multiplied by average discretionary spend per household) is projected to reach about $176 billion) in 2019. One hundred percent growth in a decade!
East/West: Family vs.Self
Multinational companies looking to expand into the APAC 50+ market should take note of our research, http://www.silvergroup.asia/blog/SilverPoll-reveals-regional-differences.php which shows clearly that there is definitely an East/West divide in attitudes towards obligations to family and self among the 50+ sector. Getting this balance right is critical.
Among countries where the culture is predominantly Asian or Confucian, the welfare of the family remains a top priority even after retirement, much more than a more "Westernized" outlook such as is found in Australia and to a degree, Singapore.
Removing the Barriers
While there is undoubted potential for "old products for old people" (just as there are baby products for babies) the grand prize lies in ageless marketing. This includes the concepts of Universal Design and Inclusive Communications.
Companies need to reassess their entire customer experience. While people don't want to be talked to as being "old," we can't avoid the inevitably of physiological aging, including the cognitive, physical and sensory effects. Marketers must understand these issues and make adjustments to render their customer experience "age-neutral."
From communications to product design, retail placement, packaging and labelling through to customer service, the entire cycle needs to be assessed and adjusted to remove the barriers and welcome back the older (but not old) customers.