Ignore Older Consumers at Your Own Peril

According to A.T. Kearney’s Global Maturing Consumer study, the fastest-growing consumer group will be over the age of 60.

In 1950, some 200 million people were in the “over-60” group; by 2000 the number had risen to 600 million, last year to 800 million, and by 2050 the number will have reached 2 billion. Globally, this older population is increasing at a rate of 2.6% per year, considerably faster than the current 1.2% annual growth in the population as a whole. Further, the 80 years and older group is increasing at 4% per year.

The nature of age has changed. People are active and healthy well into their 70s and 80s. Worldwide, consumers aged 60 and older spent more than $8 trillion in 2010; by the end of this decade, they will spend $15 trillion

The use of technology is widespread, with 69% of respondents having both fixed-line and mobile phones. The percentage that uses only a mobile phone is 11%, while 22% have fixed-line phones only. Mobile phone usage declines sharply with age. However, as many as half of the respondents over 80 say they use one.

Mature consumers have time and want to be well informed, so they tend to be heavy Internet users and shoppers. Half of the survey respondents use the Internet, with 20% taking advantage of it for shopping, research and communication. The younger of the respondents, and the wealthier and older participants, say they tend to purchase more products online, and are also more likely to use home delivery services.

For more insight, see the full report.