Guest blog written by C.H. Huang and edited by Rosie French --
In Taiwan by 2025, one in every five people will be over the age of 65, which will make Taiwan a hyper-aged society. Meanwhile, the average age of retirement is approximately 59 for females and 62 for males, and the average of life expectancy is 85 for women and 82 for men. Thus, people will have around 20 to 25 years to live after retiring. In order to understand and promote the well-being of the next generation aging population, Chinese Consumer Center (CCC) pioneered a new study on the needs of the aging generation by conducting in-depth interviews and co-creation workshops.
Different from the past generation of older adults, whose life centered around their families as they aged, the next senior generation (born between 1954 and 1975) will value independent living, looking young, and being more social active. Currently, 22% of Taiwanese aged 35-54 are university educated, which is 10% higher than those in the 55-64 range. Additionally, the average household income is significantly higher than it was 18 years ago. This means the next generation of senior citizens will be ready to spend money living well and being active during their retirement.
Instead of relying on children for financial and physical support, the next senior generation is prepared to live on their own, thanks to improving in-home living assistance, innovative technologies and new products and services. As new products come to market, those designed for seniors will be rejected by consumers if they feel “big, beige and boring.” However, products that are functionally fitting for elders' needs but look sleek and modern, will be far more successful with this target market.
Research also shows that women plan to be more social active than men after they retire. Most of the married female interviewees intended to spend time with friends, while married males chose to spend time with their spouse. The study also indicates that male elders depend more on their spouses for daily support than females. This finding may generate interesting business opportunities; marketers must position products differently for men and women in this demographic.
In another finding, the number of unmarried, divorced, and widowed people in Taiwan has now exceeded a million people and will only continue to grow. Since 1982, the number of divorced people has increased 114%, from a divorce rate of 1% in 1982 to 8% in 2012. There is a great deal of opportunity for businesses to create products and services that help elderly people who live alone with issues like companionship, healthy eating, and peaceful solitude.
There is no doubt, a changing society calls for changes in technology that help make a higher standard of living possible. As values have shifted dramatically in the last 20 years, businesses and entrepreneurs must prepare to help bring innovative solutions to the next elderly generation.