With tremendous opportunities possible for new products and services in areas ranging from diet and physical fitness to care navigation, vital sign monitoring, and medication management, it’s more important than ever for health innovators to have a strategy for engaging the 50+ audience.
Here are five things entrepreneurs, businesses, and investors should know about this vital market:
The 50+ Market Is Huge And Growing
In the year 2000, there were a total of 77 million Americans over 50 years of age, and by 2012 that number grew to 104 million. By 2020, the number of people over 50 will number 118 million, and by 2030 132 million. In just thirty years between 2000 and 2030 the number of people over 50 will almost double. In 2030 those 65 and older will represent 1 in 5 Americans. The growth in the market mirrors the growth in population, as the distribution of health care costs is strongly age dependent, a phenomenon that takes on increasing relevance as the baby boom generation ages. After the first year of life, health care costs are lowest for children, rise slowly throughout adult life, and increase exponentially after age 50.
The 50+ Market Has Tremendous Buying Power
People over 50 in the United States have the highest net worth of any segment of the population, accounting for $3.01 trillion in consumer spending in 2013. This group represents over half of all adult consumer expenditures in the United States. Over the next 20 years, spending by people 50+ is expected to increase by 58% to $4.74 trillion, while spending by Americans aged 25-50 will grow by only 24%, to $3.53 trillion. To put this in context, imagine the 50+ population was a new country on the map of the world – a rapidly expanding territory of over 100 million people, associated with $7 trillion in economic activity each year. If this group were to be its own country it would rank third, behind only China and the U.S., as a force in the global economy.
The 50+ Audience Embraces Technology
An enduring myth about people over 50 is the all too-accepted “common wisdom” that older people don’t use technology, they aren’t online, they aren’t mobile and social. The data shows that nothing could be further from the truth. As Vint Cerf, 70 years old and a Google evangelist and recognized “father of the Internet” says: “We aren’t scared of technology. We invented it!” Among the 50+ are the Baby Boomers, the youngest of whom will turn 50 in 2014. This generation has changed markets and the world at every life stage that they went through, and consider their current life stage as a time for living, not aging. This audience sees opportunity everywhere, even when facing adversity, and seeks ways to enrich their lives. They embrace change and are open-minded to new experiences. Even in their retirement years, for Boomers it is all about “what’s next.”
The 50+ Market is an Enormous Business Opportunity
The 50+ market accounts for $3.1 trillion in consumer spending and $1.6 trillion in healthcare spending. They control 80 percent of this country’s net worth, and dominate consumption in most consumer packaged good categories, as well as financial services, and travel and leisure. A recent study by Parks Associates identified nine areas of digital health innovation that collectively represent a growth opportunity $30 billion in revenue and adoption by over 100 million people over the next five years. We call these market areas “Health Frontiers” and they are currently unreimbursed, often paid out-of-pocket by consumers.
To learn more, visit the Health Frontiers page.
The Caregiving Market is Undeveloped and Ripe for Innovation
Despite an estimated $279 billion in caregiver spending and an estimated growth rate of 13% over the next 4 years, the caregiving market is fragmented and undeveloped. As this growing market takes form, new businesses that leverage social and digital technologies will need to address the six areas of market opportunities for caregivers and their needs. Making life easier for those that deliver unpaid care not only represents a huge opportunity for revenue, but also for tremendous social impact.
To learn more, visit the Caregiving Frontiers page.