Sunday, November 22, 2015

Digital exclusion an 'age thing' or a 'age cohort thing'? There is a big difference

Laurie Orlov raises an interesting question in her blog about the likelihood that boomers will be able, or want, to retain their digital literacy. Well that is not exactly how she puts it but I think that is what she means.

The question is this... is there something about ageing that means people lose interest in 'keeping up' with technology or is the lack of digital skills that we see with today's older people (the 70+ age cohort) a one-off phenomena?

I had always subscribed to the age-cohort explanation, however, I am beginning to rethink this conclusion. I am surprised at the number of older people, some of my friends included, who are happy to keep using their old technology until it stops working. They have no interest in what is going on with the evolution of digital and if anything take an antagonistic attitude to technological change (i.e. I cannot see why people want these apps and keep staring at their smartphones). Of course there is some truth in that!

There is a distinct chance that they will become unable to use the sorts of digital technology that we will see in 5-10 years time.

Now let me give you another example, but in this case where behaviour definitely seems to be associated with age cohorts. Today's papers cover the subject of volunteering and find that instead of it being something that is the natural realm of oldies it is more likely to be a youth thing. I quote:
In a damning survey of charitable attitudes among different age groups, a third of Britons said nothing would persuade them to leave the comfort of the sofa or the warmth of the pub in order to make a difference in their community. This figure rose to 47% of over-55s – compared with just 12% of 18-24s.
These numbers seem a tad extreme but it is definitely my experience that your archetypal Boomer is not that interested in repeating what their parents did and become a cornerstone of the community as a volunteer. This is bad news for charities as they are seeing their volunteers and contributors fading away and not being replaced by the next age group.

Bottom line of this blog posting is that you had better understand the difference between those behaviours and attitudes that are related to ageing and those that are specific to an age cohort. Dick Stroud

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The UK's imploding care sector. A perfect example of how to screw up the ageing business

I have written numerous blogs about the mess that is the UK's care industry. A combination of imbecilic financial engineering and central and local government stupidity means that much of the industry is financially bust.

This will change but not for the better.

The ongoing saga is not so dramatic as the recession of 2008 but probably as devasting on the lives of people.

This press release from LaingBuisson provides a good distillation of what is happening (or not).

A more recent report from ILC describes the difficulty in finding people to work in the care industry. This is another issue that is getting worse with no signs of improvement.

What really angers me about this is that it so predictable. Yes, there will be really good business to be done by providing services to those that give up on the state. What happens to the rest (the majority) is anybody's guess. Dick Stroud

Generational wealth in America - great work by Deloitte. Not good news for Millennials

This report and video is from Deloitte University Press and maps the trends in generational wealth in the US through until 2030. If you have difficulty watching the video this is a direct link. 

Assuming you have some interest in where the wealth in the US resides for the coming 15 years I strongly suggest you have a look at the report.

I think this chart says it all, you will need to click on the graphic to see the detail.

The bottom line is that Baby Boomers still retail as much wealth in 2030 as the next two generations combined (or there or thereabouts). Right now they have about half of all the wealth.

The poor (literally) old Millennials will have about half as much as Gen X and only a third as much as Boomers.

Now call me old fashioned but this kind of contains a message for marketers, does it not?

I recently commented about all the fuss that is going on about Millennials. Pity more of the commentators don't start from the basic numbers of what age of consumer has the money to spend.

Well done Deloitte on this report and supporting materials. Real high class reporting and presentation. Dick Stroud