By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Not too long ago sixty marked the beginning of the last part of our lives….a time when we began to slow down, take it easy, retire…downsize. Well that was then and this is now. Today’s senior citizen may be in their sixties but they are proving every day that age is really mostly in your mind.
They’re ‘younger’ than ever; playing sports, working well into their 70’s and travelling all over the world. Today’s downsize is like to be into an “over 55″ community with enough activities to keep a 30 year old busy. Thanks to texting and social media today’s senior is more connected than ever to family, friends and information. The internet has replaced bingo as the primary pastime and better diets and exercise are holding off the aging process.
Over the last several years “the baby boomer” has emerged as a top demographic across virtually every product category as the world’s manufacturers introduce product after product designed to help this generation age gracefully. In fact, worldwide, the number of people over is expected to double before 2050 and the US is preparing for a flood of over 80 million ‘new’ boomers to hit their 60s and 70s over the next 20 years.
What does all this mean to marketers? Opportunity! It means that Gen X and Y and whatever the next letter is, will not be the only major group looking for the latest and greatest products in every category. And what’s best is that older consumers tend to have more discretionary income and are riper targets. This new generation has opened up a brand new market. One where new convenience products designed specifically for aging baby boomers will bring retailers a brand new source of revenue.
And every day a different manufacturer is jumping on the bandwagon. Remember “The Clapper” that turned your lights on and off with a clap of your hand….well it is still around and now it is joined by a host of other ‘convenience products like: key chains that never let you misplace your keys again, simply whistle and they beep..leading you right to them.
A little hard of hearing? There are products for that. NOT hearing aids but personal sound amplifiers designed to help amplify sound in a variety of situations.
Can’t find your car? There are a variety GPS products on the market designed to help you keep on track. Find your car in a crowded parking lot. Find your way in a strange city.
For those boomers who find themselves part of the “Sandwich Generation” as well, taking care of grown kids and aging parents, there are a number of peace of mind products mostly GPS based that allow you to keep track of your loved ones.
The big button Keypad has morphed from the telephone to the keyboard and there are a variety of computer peripherals designed to help the older and sometimes computer challenged get connected. Touch screen systems from the vehicle to the home computer make using all these new ‘Apps’ a snap.
Seniors used to worry about remembering when to take medications now they worry about remembering passwords. No problem; there are brand new products to help do both.
The list goes on and on….but I think you get the idea. From its inception, the consumer electronics industry has thrived on responding to consumer needs and desires…and it is no different now. Marketing ever changing convenience products to an older generation that cut its teeth on electronics will allow us to benefit from this new segment for years to come…
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.