The Century-Old Consumer
An innovation agency owned by M & C Saatchi has apparently carried out a study with people aged between 20 and 70 in the UK, China, Netherlands and USA (which is where their offices are located). This study examined people’s attitudes and behaviour regarding the fact that they may live to be 100 years old.
In what has to be seen as a publicity coup worthy of the eponymous M & C themselves, the research study has been shown exclusively to Marketing Week and forms the basis of an extensive piece by Lucy Handley (22nd April 2010). However, this exclusivity makes any sort of review or critique of the research somewhat difficult, not to say impossible!
The starting point for the study seems to have been an article in the Lancet, which predicted that 50% of all children born since 2000 in the developed world will live to be 100. It is predicted elsewhere that people currently aged 50 have something like a 1 in 8 chance of reaching their century. From this, according to Marketing Week, it is concluded that businesses need to understand what this means for product, services and communications, and should start planning for this now - but that very few businesses seem to be doing so.
This final conclusion is probably not too surprising. Many businesses are still adapting to the most basic realities of an ageing population. Our own research established that not only are there more adults aged over 45 than under 45, but that this older group accounts for disproportionately higher expenditure. Despite this, it seems that many businesses are still struggling to find a way of segmenting, targeting and positioning against this long-term but inexorable change. Looking into the future, the population continues to age. However, to plan for a future dominated by centurions is probably a step too far, although I’ll bet P&G are working on it…
But well done to the consultancy for thinking about the issue and to Marketing Week for covering it. I only wish our own publicity efforts were as successful! Please visit the our knowledge section of our web site for exclusive access to our own research report.