The "forever young" generation is no longer young. In 2014, the last of the Baby Boomers turned 50, crossing society's invisible threshold into old age. The long-awaited aging of this population is here, and it's moving into high gear. How is your club responding?
In just two years, one in every two American adults will be age 50 or older, and the sheer number of these older consumers has the potential to transform your business. Did you know that the 50-plus group spends more on health than anything else? That means the opportunity for additional revenue at your club—life coaching, nutritional counseling, personal training—is high.
The 50-plus segment will possess seven out of every 10 disposable dollars in 2017, which is 100 percent more than the 18- to 49-year-old market. So why have health club operators been slow to adopt a focused approach to the older consumer? It is puzzling.
Take a moment to consider the above points. Now ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I so profitable that I can afford to ignore 50 percent of the adult population?
- Do I want to focus more on a market segment with 70 percent of the country's disposable income, or one with 30 percent of the disposable income?
The answer is obvious. Especially once you realize that the 18- to 49-year-old segment will experience virtually zero population growth over the next 20 years, while the older market will only continue to grow.
Let's look at the pain and the pleasure associated with pursuing the 50-plus market:
- Pleasure: Access a growing market of older consumers who can increase your membership because of their numbers, wealth and desire to improve their health.
- Pain: Eliminate access to 70 percent of the disposable income in the United States. By turning your back on this market, you ignore 50 percent of your potential adult consumer base.
Please share in the comment section below how bringing the 50-plus group into your health club membership mix would change your fortunes. If you already focus on this segment, why did you make this shift? And if you are like most health club owners, what took you so long? If you choose not to pursue this market, feel free to share why.
On a side note, a half-hearted effort will do more harm than good should you decide to address consumers who are over 50. A lifetime of experience tells them who really has their interests at heart.
Colin Milner is the founder and chief executive officer of the International Council on Active Aging. He can be reached at ColinMilner@mail.icaa.cc.