The UK’s Changing Demographic

A massive change coming for the UK economy and society is a demographic shift. A recent study from revo uncovered that by 2050, there will be more ethnic diversity, more single-person households and most prominently, an aging population.

The UK’s ethnic minority numbers is expected to rise to 20% by 2051. This is important for brands to consider and ensure all brand values, messaging and campaigns are sensitively considered to build a sustainable, successful and loyal consumer base. What is already great to see, is the number of diversity campaigns already in place and equality of promotions.

The number of single person households is rising and is expected to increase by 26% between 2016 and 2041 – largely driven by the growing number of people over 65.

The revo report uncovers some noteworthy statistics on the aging population over the next 30 years including:

  • The number of people over 85 is expected to triple.
  • The younger population is shrinking
  • ¼ of population will be over 65

According to a poll conducted by Gransnet, 73% of older people in the UK state they are lonely.

Shopping centres have an opportunity to create a place where consumers can meet, socialise, dine, work, live and enjoy leisure activities. Many schemes are already doing this, but taking it further and developing social experiences for all ages is going to be vital in attracting footfall and boasting a strong dwell time.

The structural changes will be significant. As the human population age, mobility, hearing and sight declines, so shopping centres need to start implementing new initiatives to accommodate this. The building design will need adapting such as additional seating in commercialisation spaces, increasing the number of disability entrances, developing more lifts rather than staircases or larger font on signs.

It’s important to consider that as the 65 plus population grows, their ability and comfort in using technology will increase – they will be much more tech savvy than the current population in this bracket. This is a brilliant opportunity for centres to utilise developments and improve the environment as well as the experience.

It can’t be ignored that it’s not just consumers that are aging: the percentage of senior employees will grow which means strategies need to change. For Landlords/Managing Agents, this means recruiting strategies will need to evolve, training procedures adapted, and services advanced.

The Centre for Future Studies forecasts that in 2030, retailers who are not elderly friendly could be losing annual spending between £0.58bn and £4.5bn! Data is proving that products, services and marketing all need to adapt to stay relevant to the future population and continue attracting footfall.

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