Ageing consumers key to the future

24 September 2009

LONDON: An ageing population and an increasingly inter-connected world are two of the main factors companies will have to consider when making their long-term plans, according to the speakers at an event looking at the key developments which will shape societies over the next few decades.

Hosted by Intelligence Squared, the event – covered in more detail here – featured speakers from the James Martin 21st Century School, a "unique collaborative research effort with the goal of formulating new concepts, policies and technologies that will make the future a better place to be". 

Dr Ian Goldin, the school's director, said we are now living in what could be a "golden age" of possibility, although while there is much "potential", the choices that are made every day will shape what life will look like in 2050.

More specifically, he suggested the internet is an example of the inter-connected nature of the modern world, but the movement towards true globalisation could also have negative consequences, such as an increase in the number of pandemics.

Professor Sarah Harper predicted that the advances in medical science could lead to an average life expectancy of over 120 years old in many countries in 40 years time.

Indeed, Japan already has over 40,000 people over 100 years of age, and this development, combined with falling birth rates, will have profound implications for brands, governments, and societies.

From a purely commercial perspective, it was argued the ageing population is badly served by manufacturers at present, and this must change when almost a third of the population is made up of consumers over the age of 50.

The dangers of climate change also mean there will be a need for new green technology to transform the automotive and energy sectors, and this is an area which will receive a heightened emphasis in both the short and long term.

To read Warc's coverage of this event in full, click here.

Data sourced from Warc