Monday, April 12, 2021

I have moved on from the Ageing Business

In July 2003 I wrote my first blog post about what became to be known as the ‘Ageing Business’. It was titled ‘Web usability – still not taken seriously’. How seriously is taken today? More than it was, not as much as it should.

Looking back over the topics I blogged about - there are 3,000 posts – it is surprising (and depressing) how little has changed.

I have now moved on from writing, thinking and consulting about ageing and marketing to pastures new. However, I thought I would leave the blog in place because it provides a good historical account of how marketers tried to cope - or totally ignored – demographic change and the fact that consumers were, and still are, getting older.

My business website (20plus30) no longer exists - that explains why the page navigation doesn’t work – but if you want to know what I have been doing with my life you can find out from dickstroud.com.

I think the future is bright, for those of you working in the Ageing Business. But then I have always been an optimist about the subject. 

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Have we committed a terrible blunder with our assumptions about the future price of property?

There are three reasons why this is my first blog post for 9 months. I have been busy enjoying myself and working on a new project that has nothing to do with marketing or ageing. The main reason is that the Ageing Business seems as if it has gone into stasis. Sure there have been lots of reports, conferences and 'events' but little has changed. Same old issues - same absence of innovative solutions.

Today I read two articles that made me stop and think. One was in the WSJ and the other The Times, Both were about property and (unfortunately) both are behind paywalls. I have provided the links in case you are subscribers.

 OK Boomer, Who’s Going to Buy Your 21 Million Homes? is the better article and provides the most statistical data to substantiate its arguments.

Don't be put off by the headline that couldn't help inject the banal 'OK Boomer' insult that has suddenly got so much attention. The issue it identifies is the mismatch between a lot of property that is owned by older people and those that want (more likely don't want) to buy it.

Think about this statistic:

Seniors are expected to vacate roughly 21 million homes over the next two decades. That’s more than the amount of new properties sold during a previous two-decade period that ended with a housing boom.

Now here is the nasty bit. The people (the young) the generation of buyers of these properties is smaller in size and - as they constantly tell us - in a precarious financial position. Neither of these things are magically going to change. Add to that the properties owned by dying boomers are likely to be in places that the young don't want to live. Remember that the trend for the urbanisation of the population is as powerful as demographic ageing. Do you see the problem?

We have a mismatch between the supply of property and the expectations of property price. How many people have you heard say 'my house is my pension'? Not any more buster. How many times have you heard the arguments about care being supported by the sale of older person's property? Maybe that aint going to happen.

The article in The Times was saying much the same thing.

The bottom line to this blog post is this - I think our assumptions about future property price and property demand is probably dreadfully wrong. I think we are going to have lots of property in the wrong place being sold for prices that are far below expectations.

Maybe some bright spark in the Ageing Business is thinking about this issue. Somehow I doubt it. Dick Stroud

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Boring old demographics keeps determining our future

I have always thought that demographics is a bit like statistics. It is one of those subjects that we know is mighty important but rarely take the time to understand. For marketers it is much more exciting to study branding strategies or the latest craze in social media than get their heads around multiple linear regression theory.

When I talk to people about median ages, support ratios and the suchlike I can see their attention rapidly evaporate.

Occasionally you get an article along the lines 'demographics are our destiny'. Well, know what, that is true.

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal had an interesting article about 'China’s Demographic Danger Grows as Births Fall Far Below Forecast'. I will not bother to give you the link since it is behind an expensive paywall.

The theme of the article is that :

The number of newborns in China dropped to 15.23 million in 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. That’s two million less than 2017 and 30% below the median official forecast of more than 21 million.

The outcome of this fact is that if you look at the median age population of China V US you see that China is fast catching up with the US and will soon become 'older'. Of course neither of them are as ancient as Japan.



You might know that we in the UK are looking forward to exiting the EU  - not everybody but 17.5 million Brits. One subject that hasn't been discussed is what this will do to the median age of Europe.

Have a look at the chart and it will give you a clue. If I was an economic planner sitting in Brussels (thank God I am not) I would be worried (mighty) by the implications of these numbers, especially for Spain and Italy. The big up side is that both countries have very high youth unemployment so there will be lots of young to look after the old. Unfortunately, the downside is that there will not be the government funds to pay for it.

So what is the conclusion of my blog? Demographics will tell you a lot about the long term shape of your markets but little about how you will meet your annual marketing and sales budgets. Dick Stroud