The Forecast: In 2015, a more progressive and robust attempt to service the aging population with a new generation of products and services will emerge. They will cover a wide range, including: drawing more boomers and seniors to dynamic small and medium-size cities, where creative activities abound within walking distance; natural-health products that enhance overall quality of life; fitness programs designed specifically for active older people; how-tos on engaging creative leisure activities; travel guides; learning-skills programs; and retro products, from clothing to entertainment activities.
Until marketers and product designers switch their focus from creative marketing to creative aging, they will not find the sweet spot from which flows new products and structures attractive to the valuable senior demographic. Turning from creative marketing to creative aging will entail a real thought shift, focusing on graspable ways to enhance older adults’ quality of life, rather than on easily packaged merchandise to sell them.
Update: There are subtle but growing signs that the artful side of aging is beginning to resonate.
The institute has long contended that retailers and marketers, recognizing to some degree the enormous spending power of boomers and seniors, choose to target efforts via the obvious — coping products and services that ease the ill effects of growing older. Here’s what Madison Avenue has missed: The inherent, natural and powerful need to engage creative impulses as we age. And since most populations across the globe are living longer, there’s more time to realize that need for most.
At mid-year, there are some signs that Artful Aging is taking root — and that it’s happening on scientific and community levels, making aging artfully and gracefully a megatrend poised to ignite.
On scientific fronts, for example, the results of several long-term studies are finding their way into mainstream media and the lexicon of the business world. The data, in many cases, may be years old. Still, the scientific evidence proving this trend is only now entering common knowledge. Many articles, books, association conferences and other vehicles this year demonstrate the momentum driving this notion into the mainstream.
On the community front, there is an explosion of senior-driven arts movements drawing large numbers of boomers and seniors. And they’re also quickly gaining the attention of local business communities who sponsor those activities, develop and sell products around them and promote their businesses to this demographic.
Trends often position themselves for full-throttle advancement when scientific affirmation of a premise — in this case, the need for creative endeavors growing stronger as we age — breaks into public consciousness. Trends also are primed for advancement when big business sees small business capitalizing. There are signs that’s happening.
That said, the institute forecast at 2015’s start largely holds true: “How to stay healthy, live longer — and most importantly, live with grace and dignity is a trend still in its infancy. From entrepreneurs to big business, the field is wide open for new products, procedures and facilities for keeping the young at heart vibrant throughout old age.”