Any tourism business, organization, or strategy that ignores the world’s ageing population is ignoring a golden business opportunity

The Global Agenda Council on Ageing Society report, “Global Population Ageing: Peril or Promise” points out that

  • The global share of those 60+was 8% in 1950, 11% in 2011, and will be 22% (2 billion) in 2050
  • The global population is projected to increase 3.7 times from 1950 to 2050, but the 60+ will increase by a factor of nearly 10, and the 80+ by a factor of 26
  • Women account for about 55% of the 60+ group, rising to 64% of the 80+ group and 82% of the 100+ group. On average, women outlive men by nearly 4.5 years.

Baby boomers in Asia-Pacific will account for 63% of the world’s total seniors population by 2050.

They will have US$1.9 trillion in spending power.

According to the latest Ageing Asia Alliance Journal (AAAJ), their spending power will significantly drive economic growth in industries such as tourism and transportation, wellness, education, finance, and healthcare.

AAAJ goes on to say that “there is a need for businesses to change their mindsets in how they view grey power, and also start paying more attention towards innovation and product design with the older consumers in mind.

Ageing is both a social and economic opportunity.

It would be advantageous for businesses to monitor Asia Pacific’s demographic trends and also keep the ageing consumer needs in mind for their future development of products and services.” AAAJ ponts out that Asia’s ageing baby boomers are looking to age healthily, well, and independently.

Businesses that understand the significance of the benefits of healthy ageing can take advantage of commercial opportunities to deliver such services as tourism and active lifestyles, and thus enable older people to stay healthier, longer and encourage social inclusion (source: Ageing Asia Alliance).

Japan has one of the fastest-growing seniors populations in the world. Spending power of the over 60s in Japan is estimated at 100 trillion yen, or 44% of the nation’s entire personal spending. From cosmetics to travel, affluent retirees are spawning a host of new business opportunities.

In the USA, there is no doubt about the importance of the Baby Boomer generation to business. There are 76 million American Boomers, and they control over 80% of personal financial assets, and more than 50% of discretionary spending in the USA.

A Met Life study estimates that American Boomers will inherit $8.4 trillion in the next few years (with a total transfer of assets to them estimated at $11.6 trillion – Met Life). More Access ourismnz news here.

In New Zealand, the Boomers are the biggest cohort, with 1.25 million members. Boomers are the biggest group of Australian and New Zealand visitors in the Asia Pacific region, and the percentage of visitors to New Zealand who are over the age of 45 slowly and steadily increases every year.

Any businesses – including tourism businesses – that do not plan to cater for the ageing population (and the concomitant increase in the number of people with various types of disability) – are ignoring a golden business opportunity.