Saturday, December 22, 2012

Predictions for the senior and boomer markets

The Entrepreneur online magazine has the mandatory end of year "predictions" article. This one is about the "seniors and boomer markets". I think that is where it all goes wrong. These are very different markets and you cannot collect them together as a homogeneous lump.

That said it is worth having a quick look at the predictions because they raise some important points.

Leading-edge boomers will remain in family leadership for some time to come.  

Basically, as the number of intergenerational households rise older people are going to be in a 'leadership" position for longer. I suspect that the word "leadership" is a proxy for controlling household expenditure.  I sort of agree with this but I am not sure what the spending implications are of having three generations of people living under one roof.

Dragged, kicking and screaming, or seeking ways to ease life’s burdens, or seeking new social and entertainment options, leading-edge boomers and seniors will get more and more wired.

This is sort of a no-brainer and impossible to quantify. Sure more older people will use tablets and the like.

Health and wellness care will be everywhere.

This very much depends where you sit in the socio economic spectrum. My bet is the coming years are going to see health services cutting back the spending and hoping like hell that the individual takes up the slack from their own pocket. Some will - a lot will not.

Opportunities in the 'independent living industry' will grow explosively.

The Independent Living Industry doesn't exist. This was my opening gambit when I was interviewed recently on this subject. Unfortunately, a lot of people, especially journalists, immediately link this subject with technology. Lots of WiFi networks and sensors to ensure that the grandparents are still alive. Actually, the things that contribute to people living "independently" are a lot less sexy and includes things like, nursing care at home, food deliveries, local mobility being able to climb the stairs and to get and take medications.

Yes, older people will spend a lot of money (as will their children) for the oldest members of the family to stay at home but it will be done in a far more fragmented way than we are currently thinking.

 'Made in America' may make a big comeback. 

I got the feeling that the journalist had run out of things to say at this point and chucked this point in to make up the word count and probably laced with a bit of wishful thinking. Don't get excited that your iPad is going to be made in Ohio or Luton.

As the economic competitiveness and the nature of manufacturing technology changes there might be some movement of employment from East to West but it will be small time and will be the sort of jobs that require a PhD.

Other than these points I thought it was a good article. Dick Stroud

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