By Martha Boudreau

Until fairly recently, most technology companies put the 50-plus population well behind millennials in their marketing plans.  Fortunately for those companies, they realize the power of the 50+ market and they are broadening their marketing focus.  The facts speak for themselves: the 50-plus market has emerged as a tier-one, transformational economic opportunity.  In recent conversations with leaders from GM, Google, Samsung and others, it’s clear the 50-plus market can no longer be ignored.  And, in many cases this demographic is transforming not only product marketing but also design.

The emerging focus on the 50+ is dictated by the sheer size of this market.  The bottom line is that in the U.S. alone there are more than 100 million people age 50+, generating nearly $8 trillion of annual economic activity.  This vast sum of economic power is called the Longevity Economy.

People 50-plus account for 51 cents of every dollar spent in the U.S. and 83 percent of the nation’s household wealth is held by people over 50.  Those are 2019 data points.  However, if you look ahead barely 10 years, the 50-plus cohort will grow to more than 130 million people, accounting for more than half of U.S. gross domestic product.

Supply, Meet Demand

Every industry sector has an opportunity based on the sheer numbers of consumers in this cohort and their vast collective wealth.  And an interesting new dynamic is emerging.  In addition to focusing on the spending power of the 50-plus sector, innovators in the travel, clothing, shopping, housing, entertainment, food and automotive sectors now also see 50-plus consumers as a medium for connecting with younger demographics.   Here’s one example: people 50 and up tend to buy more new cars than younger people but have correspondingly fewer needs for actually driving them.  As a corollary, younger people still have use for cars but buy fewer of them.  Enter Maven, a peer-to-peer car-sharing service that enables GM vehicle owners to make money by renting out their Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac to other, often younger, drivers in need of a short-term rental car. Think of it as Airbnb for your car – supply, meet demand.

New studies show that people age 50-64 spend nearly 12 hours on digital media daily, making them the most digitally-connected age demographic.  Demand for technology – e.g., content, devices, services – among people age 50 and up represents an $84 billion market for technology by 2030.  Going forward, an even bigger prize awaits the players who make it possible for older people to age in place. Studies show that more than 90 percent of older people would prefer to stay in their own home than go to a retirement home.  As a result, providers of new, innovative products that reduce isolation, increase mobility, and ease the delivery of healthcare stand to be richly rewarded for high-quality offerings.

 In Closing

 What industry do you represent?  FYI, the transformational power of the 50-plus market is evident just about anywhere you look.

 

Martha Boudreau is Executive Vice President & Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, AARP.

 

 

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