A recent article from the November 2011 issue of Forbes magazine profiles consultant and author Ken Dychtwald, founder of the Age Wave, who urges businesses to understand and proactively market to the tidal wave of aging American baby boomers - those born between 1946 and 1964, a number that reaches 78 million people and, according to Dychtwald, is responsible for 80 percent of the growth of the United States population. Dychtwald, whose has consulted on boomer products for clients such as Centrum, Johnson & Johnson and Anheuser-Busch, also sees massive financial opportunity for brands and businesses where others only see the downsides to an aging population, as this group creates a "vast market for a potential explosion of products and services, from new dating websites to longevity insurance to new kinds of food."
The later years are becoming a time for reinvention, experimentation and consumption. In a poll he did for financial services firm SunAmerica this year, 54% of people over 55 said they viewed retirement as a new chapter rather than a time to wind down... How will they live, what will they buy, and how should businesses serve them? Dychtwald, who swims, practices yoga and eschews caffeine and red meat but has nevertheless battled high cholesterol, high blood pressure and arthritis, has some surprising ideas.
The list, which includes "all-in-one travel agents" reflects how consumer values are likely to undergo a huge shift as this group's needs and lifestyles change.