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Executive Summary: Mature Market in the U.S.

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Containing a snapshot of the overall market analysis, each Executive Summary provides a description of the scope and methodology used in the report; chapter overviews complete with statistical data; a sampling of charts and graphs when applicable; a brief look at the trends shaping the market; and projected future growth or demise of each market sector with relevant sales figures.

The report from which this Executive Summary is compiled is for The Mature Market, and the full study abstract is as follows:
When it comes to the mature market, one of the greatest mistakes marketers can make is to assume that once consumers step across the threshold of 55 years, they plunge into some great vat where they are boiled, stirred, then poured out again to quietly gel and fade away. Sure, by age 55 gray hair approaches ubiquity, and certain unpleasant physical realities announce their presence—but to assume homogeneity among this cohort of 68 million people is hardly an effective strategy. Though racially and culturally less diverse than younger generations, the mature mark spans 40 or more years and embraces generations of socio-cultural, political, and technological revolutions, not to mention a vast array of lifestyles, financial situations, health concerns, career choices, education levels, and family dynamics: In the mature market, parents and children suddenly become peers; retirees rub shoulders with full-time workers; marathon running professionals care for frail, housebound relatives. The eldest in this cohort remember when a live piano provided the only film soundtrack; the youngest can’t remember a time before Bugs Bunny. Thanks to the proclivities of that latter contingent, or leading edge baby boomers, entrenched notions of what it means to grow older no longer apply. People are living about 30 years longer and enjoying a better quality of life than ever before; clichés involving a rocking chair, two cats, and a flickering light bulb are quickly giving way to images of a yoga mat, tennis partners, and a large-button cell phone.

Still, as boomers gallop through their 60th birthdays with hardly a backward glance, the market simply has not spent enough effort in meeting or even imagining the wants and needs of those already in their 60s, 70s, and beyond—while the ranks of these mature adults are swelling into unheard-of numbers. As of Spring 2006, nearly 68 million people had blown out at least 55 candles on their last birthday, and various estimates show the 50+ crowd to be sitting on $20 trillion in resources, to control over 70% of disposable income, and to wield $1.6 trillion in spending power. By 2030, people age 65 and over are expected to number over 70 million; an even greater wave is sweeping the 85 and over age bracket, who are projected to surge from 4 million in 2000 to an amazing 20 million by 2050.

To help marketers prepare for this silver tsunami, Packaged Facts presents The Mature Market: Consumer Trends and U.S. Retail Markets, an all-new report on the attitudes, preferences, and shopping behaviors of mature market consumers. Drawing on uniquely cross-tabulated Simmons Market Research Bureau survey data, along with government and private sector data sources, this report explores the many reasons that marketers should be scrambling to accommodate this cohort. Following an overview of mature market attitudes and spending trends are five focus chapters:

  • Mature Market Demographics. Mature segments can be delineated by age, but successful marketing will require careful research into specific, overlapping segments, many defined by life stage. Besides boomers and seniors, there are pre-seniors, young seniors, early retirees, grandparents, fully retired, older married couples, singles and/or widowed, and most recently, parents of seniors. Regional, economic, and educational differences add even more dimensions.
  • Mature Market Lifestyles, Health, and Wellness. Exercise is crucial to maintaining good physical and emotional health at any age, and even elderly or frail adults who have never exercised before can benefit. This chapter takes an in-depth look at the growing health and fitness industry in mature sectors, and how preventive wellness and exercise can help reduce burgeoning medical costs.
  • Mature Market Personal Finance and Home Ownership. This cohort runs the gamut in how they have prepared (or neglected to prepare) to support themselves and their loved ones over the long term. This chapter examines work habits, consumer debt, and personal financial strategies like long-term care insurance and reverse mortgages.
  • Mature Market Internet and Telecommunications. The 65+ segment may be somewhat less open than younger generations to Web surfing or text messaging, but mature adults are gaining in every digital activity from medical research to social networking. In computing, wireless communications, and even television, larger print capabilities and technologies that assist hearing- or sight-impaired consumers will help marketers to reach their target audiences.
  • Mature Market Travel, Transportation, and Entertainment. While the needs of a 55-year-old can be very different from those of an 85-year-old, a common bond will almost certainly be desire for independence, mobility, and new experiences. Fertile opportunities abound for industries that cater to mature adults who, like many of the younger generations, are more interested in doing than acquiring. Leisure and travel activities, often in the company of grandchildren, will become increasingly important as mature adults reward themselves for years of hard work.

Please Note: Due to the brevity and/or nature of the content posted, there is no table of contents available for this report.

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