Dearborn, MI — When the futurists at Ford started work on their first-ever trends report, they were looking for insights into what may influence consumers’ values, attitudes and behaviors in the coming year. They uncovered 13 shifts that are meaningful to their innovation and development pipeline. One trend particularly is also critical for building healthcare communications and tools people will actually want to use.
Trend #12: Down-aging
60 is the new 50 is the new 40, which, of course, is the new 30. Driven partly by medical innovations and prolonged life expectancy, consumers are staying forever young—mentally as well as physically.
Cultural anthropologists say we’re living in an increasingly ageless world. Boomers are as likely to be texting their grandchildren on their way to a zumba class as they are to be gardening with the transistor radio on (whoops, there goes that favorite pharma photo). They might prop their Kindle Fire up on the counter to see a video on how to make a new recipe instead of pulling out the well-worn index card to chef up a family favorite. Walks on the beach? Only on vacation – they’re working well past the typical retirement age.
Meanwhile, Gen Y is turning the age expectation on its head, too. They’re delaying the typical milestones of adulthood, like marriage, parenthood and financial independence, And, thanks in part to Rock Band, they’re embracing cultural touchstones from previous generations.
The new expectation both generations share is personal fulfillment to be enjoyed now, rather than later.
Down-aging is critical to healthcare marketing in two ways: How we connect and what we expect. Finding images and headlines that reflect real life is harder and more personal than ever. The ideas we had about what looks or sounds “normal” or even aspirational is no longer the shared American dream.
What we can expect from ages and aging will change, too. The correlation between year of birth and adoption of new technology or everyday health habits will become every more tenuous.
The trend by the numbers:
- The average baby boomer will live to be 83 and 1:4 people who are 65 now will live well into their 90s
- 70% of boomers say they plan to work past the traditional retirement age of 65.
- 64% of adults describe themselves as “youthful.”
- And, here’s a wild one from Digital Flash: Female gamers over 55 spend more time online gaming than males ages 15 to 40.
Looking for more takes on trends? Here are three of our favorites:
From JWT, 100 Things to Watch:
From our colleagues at GSW, Healthcare Digital Trends:
And, from Trendhunter, an action-packed look at the top 20 for 2013:
Posted by: Leigh Householder