Demographic changes and the pandemic are forcing consumer goods companies to take a new look at an often neglected customer group: the elderly.

As people live longer and have fewer children, the number of people over 65 surpassed the number of people under five in the world for the first time in 2018, according to the United Nations, and the trend has accelerated since then.

The pandemic has disproportionately affected older people, which officials say underscores the importance of staying healthy in old age.

This change leads to companies like

Nestlé SA,

NSRGI -2.80

The Colgate-Palmolive Co.

CL -1.45%.

и

Danone SA

CASH -0.56%.

to launch new products for consumers who are increasingly committed to healthy aging.

We clearly see healthy ageing, especially in the covidial world, as an important trend – CEO of Danone

Emanuel Faber

Said.

In November, Danone announced the creation of a new Healthy Aging Division to accelerate research into the effects of nutrition on cognition and mobility. Yogurt manufacturer Activia recently launched Fortifit Pro, a whey protein-based product in Brazil that it says supports muscles, joints and bones, and has announced plans to develop other products to help people age better.

Ageing population

The world is ageing, the birth rate is falling and people are living longer….

World population by age group

 

Older Shoppers Are the Hot New Thing for Consumer Brands

…in some countries older people already make up a large proportion of the population and this proportion is set to increase.

Percentage of total population by age group

 

Older Shoppers Are the Hot New Thing for Consumer Brands

…in some countries older people already make up a large proportion of the population and this proportion is set to increase.

Percentage of the total population by age group

 

Older Shoppers Are the Hot New Thing for Consumer Brands

…in some countries older people already make up a large proportion of the population and this proportion is set to increase.

Percentage of the total population by age group

 

Older Shoppers Are the Hot New Thing for Consumer Brands

…in some countries older people already make up a large proportion of the population and this proportion is set to increase.

Percentage of the total population by age group

The number of countries where more than 20% of the population is 65 or older will increase from 15 last year to 44 in 2030, according to UN estimates. This number is expected to reach 61 by 2050, including the United States, China and Brazil.

Researchers believe the economic uncertainty associated with Covid-19 will also accelerate fertility decline in the United States and China.

Last month, Nestlé launched a Yiyang-branded milk powder drink in China that targets the elderly and claims to improve mobility in aging.

In recent years, the company’s health division has shifted its focus from producing food and beverages to helping people recover in hospitals to prevent hospitalization, said

Greg Behar,

who leads the unit.

More and more people want to actively manage their health as they age, Behar says. What affects people the most is the deterioration of physical and cognitive functions, then comes the element of beauty and skin.

Approximately 20% of Nestle Health Science’s research budget is currently dedicated to aging. To test its feeding hypotheses, the company uses tiny nematodes called C. elegans, which age rapidly with a life expectancy of just two days.

The Rekitt Benckiser Group

PLC, which manufactures Enfamil branded infant formula, has also launched a milk drink for older consumers in China that it says contains ingredients to boost the immune system.

According to Reckitt, the market for milk with additives with specific benefits in China is worth a total of 500 million pounds, equivalent to $686 million, and growing at 13% per year. The company is developing various products to capitalize on the self-service trend and expects Covid-19 to drive demand.

Older Shoppers Are the Hot New Thing for Consumer Brands

Procter & Gamble sells the Gillette Treo shaver, designed for use by caregivers.

Photo:

John Locker/Presse Associée

Other companies are refining their products for seniors who they believe will continue to live at home rather than in assisted living facilities.

IKEA has started selling vertical chairs with a higher seat height to make it easier to stand, adjustable chairs to improve circulation and a glass rod to unscrew lids, as one of its products for people with limited mobility, including the elderly.

The range is part of an effort to ensure IKEA products offer design solutions for people of all abilities, he said.

Britt Monty,

the senior designer who worked on the collection. She added that IKEA insists on labelling its range as being specifically for older people.

Especially later in life, you don’t want to be labeled a parent, Monty said. We don’t want to make a big deal out of it, we just want it to be a natural part of the design process.

Procter & Gamble Co.

Last year, the company began selling the shaver for caregivers in Canada, where the company says one in four people care for someone who is elderly, disabled or suffering from a long-term health problem. The Gillette Treo, which was already available in the U.S., features a protective comb and a wider handle filled with shaving gel, giving caregivers more control when shaving their elderly charges.

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In the beauty and skincare industry, older consumers tend to spend more, making them an important demographic for companies such as

L’Oréal SA

. In France, women over 65 spend 184 euros, or the equivalent of 223 euros, on beauty products each year, compared with 120 euros for women between 25 and 30, she said.

Delphine Vigier,

President of the global brand L’Oréal Paris.

Last year, the company reported that growth in the skincare market has accelerated, in part due to an aging population. It expects this trend to continue in the long term.

Others have succeeded in targeting anti-ageing products at young consumers.

When Colgate launched a premium amino acid-based toothpaste in China last year to combat the visible signs of aging gums, the company focused its marketing efforts on a younger audience and leveraged celebrity bloggers and social media applications. Colgate took this approach after Filorga, its anti-ageing face care brand, proved popular online with women between the ages of 25 and 35. The company claims that 80% of customers who purchased Colgate Miracle Repair were under the age of 30.

In China, aging for the young consumer, Colgate’s CEO.

Noel Wallace.

what I said last year. They are on the lookout for anti-aging products – whether for skin health or something else – and are very, very eager to use them from a young age.

Older Shoppers Are the Hot New Thing for Consumer Brands

L’Oréal reported last year that growth in the skin care market has accelerated, in part due to an aging population.

Photo:

Laurent Gillieron/Shutterstock

Email Saabira Chowdhury at [email protected]

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