Boom, Bust and Echo: Profiting from the Demographic Shift in the 21st Century
When individuals are asked how old they are and how old they think they are, the gap between the two ages is 12 years, according to demographic expert Dr. David Foot. “How do you deliver the product to the 50 year old and make them feel 38?” Dr. Foot asked industry types during a presentation to the Nov. 16th PMCQ meeting.
In his presentation, Dr. Foot, co-author of the Boom, Bust and Echo: How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Shift and Boom Bust and Echo: Profiting from the Demographic Shift in the 21st Century, focused on the implications of demographics on economics, politics and consumer behaviour.
Dr. Foot showed how the life cycle of the large baby-boomer cohort is creating a market for pharmaceuticals. As everyone knows, the baby boomer generation, those individuals born between 1947 and 1966, is huge. As Dr. Foot writes, “Almost one-third of Canadians today are boomers.” The leading edge of the baby boomers, now in their 50s, is proving to be a large market for diabetes, arthritis and high blood pressure therapies. As these same people reach their 60s, cancer will be their prevailing disease, followed by stroke and heart disease as they reach their 70s.
Dr. Foot also claimed that the life cycle of this large baby-boomer cohort drove what were thought to be social trends such as “cocooning.”
He then analyzed population demographics worldwide to predict everything from which nations would be new economic and technological powers, to where to get cheap labour in the future. He described how the one-child policy in effect in urban China will create a labour shortage in the future. The result will be higher production costs, with China no longer a low-cost producer for the rest of the world. India, with a large population of young people, will continue to offer low-cost labour, however.
In conclusion, Dr. Foot discussed how an aging population is now engaging in more sedate activities and how this affects purchases. He drove the point home with his trademark statement, “Today there is more money spent on bird seed in North America than tickets to all professional sports combined.”
By Jadzia Jagiellowicz
Principal of The Medanalyses Group, providing medical writing services to the healthcare communications industry
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