The aging of the global population is not news.  Our response to population aging is news.  Canada is aging rapidly.  In 2009 4.7 million people living in Canada had reached age 65 and older.  By 2036 this number will have doubled to at least 10 million older persons.  Not only are we getting older but we are living in retirement for a much longer period of time.  Canadians on average can expect to spend nearly 30% of their lives in post-employment.  This will be a very diverse time and businesses have an opportunity to meet the leisure, health and learning needs of this group.  But many businesses are not addressing the needs of this growing population.  In fact, businesses for the most part do not appear to be targeting their services and products in order to gain a larger share of the older-persons market-place.

Technology provides a perfect example of the loss of opportunity.  Technology offers many solutions for an aging population.  But technology companies continue to emphasize young people in their advertising.  Possibly this is due to the young age of their marketing and advertising teams.  But their products are appealing to the older segment.  The older segment typically has more discretionary income.  Fewer debt payments such as mortgages and fewer dependents results in more available money.  The older client is looking for solutions for themselves but also for their busy families.

Our society denies that aging is taking place by using clichés such as “60 is the new 40”.  Older consumers are not in denial about their stage of life.  They are a client group you cannot afford to ignore.  Is your business ready to gain a greater share of the older market place?  In order to do this you must:

  1. Target your advertising imagery, messaging and call to action for older client segments
  2. Train your employees to understand the needs of the age 55+ client and overcome stereotyping
  3. Assess if your application of technology has become a barrier instead of a solution in each of your sales channels
  4. Continue R&D to understand future needs of the aging population and be first to market