Graying Boom Presents Marketing Challenge and Business Opportunity

Technology and housing, among other business segments are gearing up for the graying population, The New York Times reports.

With its “AgeLab,” MIT has resources devoted to researching the preferences and behaviors of older adults so product developers can better meet the needs of seniors. Among its research is an age-empathy suit named “Agnes” which allows younger people to see, hear and feel like older adults.

A Merril Lynch webcast series directed at seniors who will reinvent themselves, aptly named “Second Acts,” includes tips geared toward the aging population. A recently formed Global Coalition on Aging is another example. The list goes on, says The Times.

Businesses are positioning themselves to take on the boom through research and development of products and services that will appeal directly to baby boomers as they near and reach retirement age–and beyond. It’s no secret that people are living longer, and for many, that also means staying in their homes longer than before, and perhaps taking advantage of reverse mortgages.

While the research is ongoing at MIT, Stanford and other institutions, the market for their findings is still very new. Those developing the products and services will have a new challenge in marketing to their growing client base: While seniors will want and need new products, research shows they are not interested items that boast the fact they are senior-friendly. It’s not an easy sell.

“Life enhancement technology for boomers is a chicken-and-egg problem,” Eric Dishman, Intel’s director of health innovation told The New York Times. Is “the market going to take the first plunge, or are companies going to create technologies without knowing whether we can sell it?”

Read the full article here.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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