A new study of European demographic trends by market analysis agency Datamonitor, predicts that “massive social change” will remould consumers to an older and more discriminatory profile.

Using as its base a mix of historic and projected data, the study examines consumer behaviour across western Europe over a ten year period, 1995-2005. “Significant demographic and social changes” have occurred across the region, says Datamonitor’s Piers Berezai, author of the report.

Consumers are growing older with the number of retirees expected to increase by six million, which Berezai suggests will compel the youth marketing brigade to revaluate the campaign payback on this demographic.

“With numbers in the youth market dwindling and the emergence of a greater number of increasingly aspirational consumers over the age of fifty, youth marketing may remain cool, but there may be ‘cooler’ money to be made elsewhere,” he opines.

Datamonitor has also noted significant changes in consumer spending habits, citing increased demand for products related to concerns about health, food ethics and indulgence. More shoppers now opt for vegetables instead of red meats, preferring organic foods and time-saving services. Conversely, vegetarianism is becoming less popular, with more consumers opting to reduce rather than renounce their meat intake.

In a fundamental demographic shift between 2000-2005, the demi-decade will witness a five million surge in single Europeans, with eleven million fewer individuals living as a family. And there will be growth in the number of childless couples, their numbers accelerating by 1.4 million over the period.

Data sourced from: mad.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff