In a presentation entitled ‘New Age’, Greene stressed the fact that it is the baby boomer generation, those born between 1946 and 1964, that are the ones calling the shots, thanks to unprecedented spending power and the fact that this generation is also socially liberated.
Aged over 50, this group is currently accountable for the biggest demographic shift in developed markets, and this is even more pronounced in the 60+ age group.
“The way age is playing out for this generation is really different,” said Greene. “It is essentially moving towards and ageless society with individuals tending to be less defined by their age. Many people don’t actually retire now!”
“This we have come to term as the flat age society because people are increasingly consuming in an ageless way.”
Baby boomers aren't sitting at home in rocking chairs...
Underlining this is the fact that this population is increasingly active and tuned into social and consumer trends. Indeed, to stress this, Greene highlighted the fact that those in the 46 to 68 age bracket are just as likely to own and use a tablet mobile device as millennials, generally aged about 10 to 35.
To highlight how this trend is manifesting itself in the beauty industry, Greene turned to Japan, which currently has one of the highest proportions of over-65s globally, and where beauty manufacturers are increasingly adapting their businesses to this demographic shift.
In particular Shiseido has embraced the aging population by launching specific social media campaigns that target specific older groups of consumers, and this trend is growing as Japanese cosmetics manufacturers realize that this is the future for many areas of their businesses.
The new approach to aging
Greene also pointed to the fact that baby boomers are starting to embrace the aging process in a different way, with the botox wrinkle-free look and cover-up dyes for gray hair giving way to a more natural look that ultimately celebrates well-being.
“Gray hair is more than acceptable now. Some would even say it is cool. While a few fine lines and wrinkles are increasingly being viewed as the more natural and healthy-looking way to age.”
For many baby boomers the key to healthier aging is diet, something that is underlined by the fact that the proportion of those aged 50+ taking vitamins supplements has grown 7% per year since 2007, according to Euromonitor.
Greene pointed to the recent launch of Superfood Elixir, which carries the name of super model Elle McPherson. The product comes in a face cream jar but is actually a powdered supplement targeting the specific requirements of women aged 50+.
Getting the strategy right
So what’s the best strategy for targeting this increasingly important demography? Greene believes that these are a few of the most important points:
- Get savvy with older consumers as youth is not the only growth opportunity
- Focus on being less generational – flat agers
- Be fun and focus on individuality
- Be empathetic and social
- Feature people aged 60+ in marketing campaigns