Within 35 years, there will be more people alive older than 60 than there are people younger than 15. This demographic "agequake" will drastically change the business landscape for firms, in particular in the 'old' Western countries. This concludes A.T. Kearney in the report 'Understanding the Needs and Consequences of the Aging Cutomer'.
The trend of a rapidly ageing population has already been visible in the majority of Western economies. Already in 1998 the number of people older than 60 overtook those younger than 15 in the G7* countries. By the 2050s, well over one-third of the adult populations of Spain, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Russia will be older than 60. As a result, the world will reach 2 billion 60+ consumers by 1947. Beyond 1950, the fastest-growing consumer group in the world will be the elderly and the gap will only continue to increase.
Country positions on the chart represent the year in which the over-60 group overtakes the under-15 group.
The larger volume of elderly also implies that their relative share of a country's total income will increase. By 2020, the 60+ in the Netherlands will represent 28% of the nations' spending power. By 2050 this is expected to further increase to over one-third.
This demographic earthquake - "agequake" as the consultants call it, requires companies to rethink their business model. In terms of sales, manufacturers and retailers will need to adapt their products and sales channels. Also will they need to align the design of their products and shops to meet the physical needs of the elderly. But also Human Resources will be drastically impacted, obliging organisations to adapt the way they hire and train people, and the way they think of careers, family structures, and communities.
* The G7 countries are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and US.