Every industry benefits from a longer life span

David Harry Stewart, AGEISTDavid Harry Stewart

Founder & CEO, AGEIST



David, you are the founder and CEO of THE AGEIST. Your website says “AGEIST is a media company dedicated to championing the vitality, influence and contributions of the modern 50-plus demographic”. What is your definition of the “modern 50-plus demographic”?

As people age the population divides in many ways. Along usual things like education, income, health and others. The main diverging element is about how people feel about themselves in the future. That has a great effect on how people see themselves, on their behavior and their purchasing decisions. So there is not one 50-plus demographic, there are many!

This fact is a challenge for marketers, as younger people are more like a monoculture. Everybody in the twenties around the world e.g. knows TikTok. As people age this the demographic splinters. Therefore, any x-plus segmentation makes no sense at all, as people gain their individual personality as they age.

When it comes to segmentation a lot of marketers struggle to build up proper definitions of subset or personas when it comes to the elderly. How to do you deal with that?

The chronological age should play a very small role in marketing. But in thinking about this age group, there are two major groups: People with impairments e.g. hearing loss, mobility issues, and other health issues, and people without. People with impairments need special products and services presented in a non-stigmatizing way. Mature customers have a lot of experience as consumer during their life. They become very discerning consumers with the ability to figure out what works best for them.

Startups and corporates need to create good or even great products and services, to be the best and not necessarily the cheapest in their field. Experienced consumers will take their time to make decisions as they are looking for the best solution to meet their needs and not necessarily the newest or trendiest gadget. New doesn’t automatically mean good for them.

In Germany, we see a lot of stereotypes when it comes to aging. How is it in the US and what role/responsibility has the media in the context of age perception?

As in Germany the US media shows predominantly age stereo types: Incompetent, handicapped, slow witted, etc.

There is a huge number of mature people who don’t label themselves as old, as they don’t feel represented by what they see in the media. But they think the other old people are like this stereotypes, which makes them special, a group of one. There are thousands of people feel this way.

The SENovation-Award honors startups who care about senior needs in the GSA-region. Which industry sector has the most potential to prosper due to the aging of our societies? What is the sweet spot to build a business?

As people live longer their consuming period extends. Therefore, all industry benefits. Due to the fact that the older generation has a higher spending power than the younger ones, they are more relevant for the higher priced products & services. Look at Apple, their largest consumer segment is men over the age of 60, and not the younger folks as most people think.

What is your advice for founders if they want to open up their business for all ages. What can they do to become “age-ready”?

Don’t build an obvious senior-product, simply built a great and relevant product and let people of all ages know what your USP is.

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