A recent article in The Economist predicts that 2020 will begin the decade of the “young old” (or “yold”). This refers to a Japanese term used to classify people aged between 65 and 75. We tend to think of “young” audiences as people below the age of 40 but many of us have audiences where the average age is above 70.
We can’t forget about the people in between.
The yold are more numerous, healthier and wealthier than previous generations of seniors. There will be 134m 65- to 74-year-olds in rich countries in 2020 (11% of the population), up from 99m (8%) in 2000. That is the fastest rate of growth of any large age group.
This group has more disposable income and more free time.
The over-60s are one of the fastest-growing groups of customers of the airline business. The yold are vital to the tourism industry because they spend much more, when taking a foreign holiday, than younger adults. They are also changing education. Harvard has more students at its Division for Continuing Education (for mature and retired students) than it does at the university itself.
They are looking for enriching experiences and likely have some knowledge about attending the theatre or a museum.
In short, the yold are not just any group of old people. They are challenging the traditional expectations of the retired as people who wear slippers and look after the grandchildren. That will disrupt consumer, service and financial markets.
When we are identifying new target audiences, let us not forget to segment further into the over 65 age group so that we can deliver relevant, targeted content.