Clint Laurent Says Ageing Societies Profitable
Aging populations are usually viewed as a matter of grave concern, especially by business advisers who tell companies they must focus on youthful markets. However, if viewed from a demographic perspective, this trend also presents some massive opportunities for developed economies – for companies as well as for individuals, according to population expert New Zealander Clint Laurent.
Laurent, who has a doctorate in econometrics and marketing, founded and runs Global Demographics, whose clients are mostly Fortune 500 companies. The company has offices in Hong Kong and Britain.
His message to them is that the under-35 age group is not growing anywhere in the world except in sub-Saharan Africa. Even in India the only age group that is growing is 35-50.
“So if you have a brand and are wanting to grow your market, you would look at products appealing to the 35-year-old head of a family, not to 25-year-olds,” Laurent says.
But, he points out, investment banks continue to advise clients to reconsider or simply stop investing in societies – including Germany, South Korea and Japan – where the working-age population is climbing. A big mistake, he stresses.
Laurent is telling his corporate clients: “Forget this emerging market stuff and look at the wealthy countries of North America, affluent Asia and western Europe.”
Overall, he says, “You have to admire China. It has its faults. But it has few children, and it gives them good opportunities to improve themselves.
“There are now four million Chinese living in households with annual income of more than $US125,000, growing to about 30 million in 10 years. They won’t be feeling they need to buy to display their wealth. Quality food, wellness and tourism will be big spending areas for them.
“As a whole, north Asia is now not really different from North America or Europe” in its wealth profile. Southeast Asia also has great growth prospects, Laurent says.
Original article by Rowan Callick, The Australian, February 2, 2017.