The UK Centre for Future Studies has released several studies outlining key demographic changes over the next 15 years, and the impacts these changes will have on lifestyles and consumer values. The following are some excerpts from their findings:
- We will be living in an older society. This will be the result of increased longevity, and a declining birth rate. The over fifties are the new old. They are healthy, active, and experiential.
- We will be living increasingly as single individuals and individualism will become paramount. Indeed, the outlook of the individual will be all the more important because peoples’ values are becoming increasingly focused on themselves. The term ‘masses’ will have no meaning. We will need to think about the needs of groups of individuals.
- The ‘traditional family’ – married with 2.4 children living with both their biological parents – will be in the small minority. Trends in co-habitation, divorce, births outside marriage and single parents will be even more pronounced. With declining family obligations, individuals will exercise greater choices and this will lead to greater diversity of lifestyles. Traditional marketing categories will no longer be relevant. Paradoxically, however, while the traditional family will disappear, family values will continue to be important.
- We will be a far better educated society with increasing standards of achievement and higher qualifications. This means there will be greater numbers of individuals who are able to use and benefit from information technology and more people able to work competently within the IT-centric working environment.
- We will be living in a 24/7, globalised society in which individual lifestyles will be based on mobility rather than stability. As a result, personal identities will become more fluid. At the same time, individuals in a more unstructured and rootless society will feel more insecure. They will experience greater uncertainties and see society as high risk and threatening.
- We will be a far more health conscious society and there will be a paradigm change from cure to prevention. Health promotion will be big business and food safety will be a paramount consideration. Basically, we will become increasing fearful about what can harm us and we will be looking for re-assurance that what we buy is safe.
- We will become a society totally overwhelmed by messages and choices. As a consequence, we will be looking to simplify our lives and create a sense of stability and security out of chaos and complexity.
- For most of us, time will continue to be at a premium. Work and leisure time will intermix and in the 24/7 society, set routines will become a thing of the past, and work will become increasingly more significant. To create more time for ourselves we will be taking advantage of time saving technologies.
- We will be a far more demanding, hedonistic society. We will consume experiences and search for novel entertainment and fun fulfillment in all aspects of our lives. Good enough will not be good enough. We will expect the highest quality and value for money.
Food for thought!