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Businesses Gearing Products, Services to Older Demographic

As I've mentioned before, the 65 and older population is rapidly growing. People are living longer and healthier lives, and what was once a seemingly unfashionable demographic is now becoming a highly marketable age group.

The New York Times reports that companies are taking heed of this business opportunity and gearing their products to an older audience. AgeLab, a research center at M.I.T., is just one of the companies and research centers that develop technologies to help older adults maintain their quality of life. Other businesses come to AgeLab to understand their target audience, or to have their product studied.

What these companies are learning is that older adults don’t necessarily like products or services that show agedness – the article provides the example of a cell phone with larger buttons. The key is to appeal to a certain demographic without alienating other groups. Author Natasha Singer explains that baked potato chips and toothpaste that promises whitening or gum health do exactly that – they appeal to every demographic, yet maintain an older skew.

Baby boomers are healthier than previous generations, staying fit and active well after 65. And with this increasingly older and healthier population, there is more of an emphasis on maintaining health from the comfort of home. Companies are realizing this new sense of independence in old age, both physically and financially, and gearing their products and services to promote it. Wireless pillboxes and specific financial services are helping older adults maintain autonomy and plan for a longer life.

The sheer number of baby boomers is attracting industries that previously did not pay any attention to the mature market. According to the article, the UN reports that the number of people 65 and older is expected to more than double worldwide, to about 1.5 billion by 2050.

Like the article says, “Gray is the new green”.

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