Tag Archives: Aging

Demographic Trends Shaping the World


For marketers, it is common to examine demographic trends of a changing society. Social forces are one of the key environmental forces impacting companies’ product and market development. By understanding what is evolving in society, companies are better suited to produce the products and services needed by consumers.

Pew Research Center recently released some of its demography-related findings that can help marketers determine how the U.S. and the world are changing. Here are few of the key findings:

  1. Americans are more racially and ethnically diverse than in the past, and the U.S. will be even more diverse in the next few decades.
  2. Asia has now replaced Latin American as the biggest source of new immigrants to the U.S.
  3. America’s demographic changes are shifting the electorate – and American politics.
  4. Millennials (born after 1980) are the new generation to watch.
  5. Women’s role in the labor forces and leadership positions has grown dramatically.
  6. The American family is changing.
  7. The share of Americans who live in middle class households is shrinking.
  8. Christians are declining as a share of the U.S. population, and the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion has grown.
  9. The world’s religious makeup will look a lot different by 2050.
  10. The world is aging.

What do these findings mean in marketing?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of demographic forces in describing a target market.
  2. Show the report from Pew: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/03/31/10-demographic-trends-that-are-shaping-the-u-s-and-the-world/?utm_source=Pew+Research+Center&utm_campaign=999966e7d6-Weekly_March_31_20163_31_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3e953b9b70-999966e7d6-399503221
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team examine a different finding.
  4. Have each team then explain the finding and how it could be used when marketing a product or service.

Source: Pew Research Center



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Aging and Consumers

Let’s face it. Not many people really want to get old, but nonetheless it happens to us every single day. As we age, there are new challenges to our daily life that we never considered when we were younger. And it’s not just our waist lines and brainpower that change. Among the changes we can expect as we age are decreased joint mobility in knees and elbows, increased muscle fatigue, slower movements, decreased shoulder movement, shorter leg movements and strides, curvature of spine, reduced eye sight, difficulties with hearing, and loss of balance. Whew…

To help understand the physical aspects of aging, researchers at MIT work in what is called the “Age Lab” to better understand the challenges associated with advancing age. Developed by researchers, AGNES (Age Gain Now Empathy System) is a suit that can be worn by students, product developers, scientists, engineers, and business executives, to help them understand the physical challenges faced by an aging population. Wearing the AGNES suit gives new insights into even the simplest of tasks such as shopping, reading labels, and making a cup of tea. Even the simplest tasks of grocery shopping and transportation bring on new challenges when we cannot fully extend our arms, legs, or read the itty-bitty print on a product label.

Is there any good news to aging? Yes, aging brings us insights and wisdoms that were lost on us in our 20s. We get smarter, more financial secure, and gain stability in our homes and family life. Now if only we could slow down the pesky physical limitations, it would be a great day.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. View the MIT Lab site and video at http://agelab.mit.edu/agnes-age-gain-now-empathy-system
  2. Ask students what the implications are for companies and marketers as the U.S. population ages.
  3. What products need to be modified? What about packaging modifications?
  4. Divide students into team and have them consider areas such as transportation, communication, health care, policies, housing.
  5. What are areas of concern? How can companies address the unique needs of an older population?

Source:  MIT Web site: //agelab.mit.edu


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