Older shoppers a key target in emerging markets

20 May 2010

NEW DELHI: Marketers should consider targeting older shoppers in countries like India and China, a new study has suggested.

Euromonitor, the research firm, predicted that consumer spending in emerging market economies (EMEs) will rise by 6.3% between 2010 and 2020.

Brazil, Russia, India and China will deliver more than 60% of this growth, with the last of these countries generating over a quarter of the overall increase.

While younger audiences in these areas are rightly seen to offer "tremendous opportunities" for brands, taking a broader focus could pay substantial dividends in the long term.

"With the growing number of elderly in EMEs, consumer goods companies can benefit from this demographic change by focusing on products and services for older consumers," Euromonitor said.

By 2020, there will be 415 million people over the age of 65 years old living in emerging markets, up from just 299 million in 2010.

More specifically, there are currently 130 million consumers of retirement age in China and 58 million in India, meaning these nations have the greatest density of potential elderly customers in the world.

The median age in China is currently 38.8 years old, a figure that will climb to 42 in the next decade as a result of the one-child policy and a "strong preference for male heirs."

As such, by 2030, the world's most populous nation will house 222 million residents over the age of 65 years old, with this segment accounting for 15.9% of the domestic population.

These trends are broadly similar in Eastern Europe, where the average age will rise from 38.6 years old to 41.3 in the same period.

Moreover, Eastern Europe has the highest overall ratio of people of at least 65 years old to 15–64 year olds, at 20.8%.

This compares with figures of 16.4% in Argentina, 13.5% in Chile, 13.1% in China, 7.6% in India, 4.5% in Saudi Arabia and just 1.3% in the United Arab Emirates.

By 2020, Hungary will have the highest old-age dependency rate of any emerging market at 30.1%, with totals in Poland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine climbing over 20%.

The median age in Latin America is now just 28.1 years old, and this continent is likely to remain relatively youthful going forward.

The UAE will also contain just over 280,000 people over the age of 65 by 2030, accounting for just 4.3% of the population.

Data sourced from Euromonitor; additional content by Warc staff