On your calendar, do note 2030 as a turning point.
By 2030, all baby boomers will have celebrated their 65th birthday. And soon after, there will be more older adults than children in the U.S.
The Census Bureau summarized the demographic shift below:
I know that aging populations have typically taken us to worries about Social Security and Medicare. Today though, let’s just look at shopping.
Retailers are very aware that older people frequently go to grocery stores:
In Japan, they realized that their aging customers needed slower escalators and lighter shopping carts. One major chain widened its aisles and lowered its shelves. Some added larger seating areas.
Somewhat similarly, a German grocery group installed nonskid flooring and brighter lighting. They made sure that seniors could easily navigate their stores on mobility scooters. Even magnifying glasses and emergency call buttons were strategically located. As for packaging, it needed to be easier to open and read.
In a Japanese silver-friendly convenience store, some food items have 1 to 5 “chewing” ratings–oatmeal is a 5. They also stock extra single serving options with pre-cut vegetables and meat. And yes, adult diapers and potent deodorizing products are popular.
We should add though that it might be tough to market to seniors. During 2013, a Swedish diaper maker created a stir when it sent a sample to every Swedish man over 55. The response was an unprecedented number of angry phone calls.
Our Bottom Line: Consumption Expenditures
At a whopping 42%, the baby boomers’ spending prowess far exceeds other age cohorts:
Since consumption expenditures account for 70 percent of our GDP, we can predict that “silver spending” will increasingly shape the direction of our economy.
And surely change our groceries.
My sources and more: My good but dry starting point was a U.S. Census report on our demographic shift. From there, the articles got more interesting. Quartz had a good look at diapers, Fung Global had the best spending overview, and USA Today focused on consumer spending. But if you just read two articles, do go to this NPR focus and a living to 100 article from The Atlantic.