They used to be referred to, perhaps a little dismissively, as the elderly. Now they’re being wooed as “Active Agers,” “Best Agers,” and “Power Oldies.” Corporate managers and research departments have woken up to the untold market opportunities that this fast-growing segment of the population offers – especially in Germany, whose rapidly aging society is producing millions of consumers with specific needs and deep pockets.
By 2035, Germany’s over-65 population will number 24 million, up from the current 17 million. That will be an increase to a third of the total population, up from around a fifth, according to the Federal Statistical Office. The number of people aged 50 and over will amount to half the population, up from 39 percent. More important, the net disposable income of married couples aged 65 and over currently averages EUR 2,440. Because older people tend to live in smaller households, their per capita income is higher than that of younger people.
It’s an inexorable development, resulting from weak birthrates and increased life expectancy. Furthermore, it is one that is affecting the whole of Europe. However, the trend is strongest in Germany, which already has a higher proportion of over-65s than any other country in the European Union (EU). Consequently, Germany is predestined to be Europe’s leading market in this area, providing huge growth potential for foreign investors in industries as diverse as health, tourism, furniture, household appliances, and hygiene.