The generation that is about to go into retirement in Sweden is unusual in two important ways: They are many and they are wealthy. In fact, Sweden has never had senior citizens as rich as those who were born during or right after the Second World War. A fair share of the result of the economic development that made Sweden a post-war welfare miracle is now accumulated in their retirement funds and on their bank accounts. Compared to earlier generations they are also healthy, active and willing to spend. A lot! They travel, they shop and many of them plan to do all the things they didn’t have time for when they were busy with jobs and careers.
So – how does diversity and innovation come into this? Well, to start with - the market is taken by surprise. It is simply not prepared for older people’s unprecedented propensity to consume. 95% of the marketing of products and services is directed towards people under 35. As far as age is concerned Sweden is a rather stratified society. You hear the term age-racism quite often and for good reasons; when it comes to lifestyle, consumption and marketing young people seem to be the ones that count. However, as it turns out, they are not the ones with the money. The average age of a Porsche owner is 52 in this country and the average age of a Harley Davidson owner is 56.
Luckily businesses are waking up to the need for age diversity to match this important customer group. Therefore there are now opportunities for older professionals in fields that traditionally are dominated by young people. For instance, there is a demand for older models, older writers for new lifestyle magazines about new topics etc.
Another example is an increasing demand for travels with a high level of comfort and service but basically there is a need for new variations in almost every business field. Therefore age diversity is not only necessary to meet these powerful customers – it is also likely to reinvent business.