Finally. Today’s special section of the Wall Street Journal reports that companies are finally waking up to the fact that us baby boomers will not go quietly into the night. What this means is that we don’t want to walk around as we grow older looking decrepit because of the need to be helped along a bit. Investors and start ups are now listening to their consumers and starting to design products that people will actually want to buy. I know from personal experience that my dad who lived to 97 fought viciously against hearing aids, walkers and anything else that resembled an “old person”.
Designers have given much thought to what consumers want and realize that often people who are aging are grouped with those who are poverty stricken,.Far from the truth as in 2018 there were 52M+ Americans over the age of 65! One designer in her 20’s decided to disguise herself as someone in their 80’s to gain a fuller understanding on how to improve product designs.
Youthful Designs Improve Overall Health
What I found interesting in the finding of designers looking to make over products is that the old fashioned and “clunky” type of product design we associate with canes and wheelchairs makes people around us feel sad and sorry for those wielding them. One designer comments, ” When a sense of design and beauty is brought to products for the aging, people will talk about them and people will talk to you — fit becomes a way to connect.” We know how important connections are as we grow older.
How Are Companies Reacting?
It’s become known to companies that aging boomers are not necessarily brand loyal and they need to step up their game to hang on to them. One company is making walkers with wheels that are lightweight. Other companies turn their focus to consumer products. One example is a company that is designing new cups for people who suffer from hand shaking. Another company is busy thinking of lifestyle planning by going around the country and interviewing people in the suburbs and rural areas to discover what products they want. They have reached the conclusion that in the past products were created on the basis of what they thought older people wanted — not the same as what they really want!
Other investors are in the early stages of creating e-commerce businesses that will redesign bedpans, guardrails and ramps.
It’s great to know that the baby boomer’s haven’t lost their clout and companies are taking notice!