According to new Euromonitor International's research, the five oldest countries in the world are:
Four of the top five oldest countries in the world are in Europe
The analysis highlights that Greece will replace Italy as the second oldest country in the world and first in Europe by 2030. For both countries, immigrants will be crucial for population gain.
Another Mediterranean country recently joined the top five, overtaking Germany as the fifth oldest country in the world. Portugal has eased its immigration policy in an effort to attract immigrants and reverse the depopulation trend, but it is still expected to see a strong increase in its population aged 65+ through to 2030.
Immigrants are the only driver of Italy’s population gain
Italy’s old-age dependency ratio is the second highest among all major economies and the first highest in Europe. The 65+ age group in Italy is set to reach 16.2 million in 2030. Given a fertility rate of 1.4 births per female, well below the 2.1 needed for natural replacement, net migration is providing some relief to Italy’s ageing and declining population.
Immigrants, most of whom are of working age, are the only driver of the country’s population gains. It is expected that foreign citizens will make up 9.9% of the total population in Italy by 2030 when the old-age dependency ratio is forecast at 44.3%.
Greece will overtake Italy to become the second oldest country in the world
The share of people aged 65 and older in relation to the working-age population in Greece will overtake Italy to become the second highest in the world (behind Japan), putting increasing pressure on the country’s shrinking workforce. As a result of large government cuts in social spending (including pension payments), Greeks aged 65 and over have been particularly hard hit.
Senior consumers offer market opportunities
Lan Ha, Senior Population Consultant at Euromonitor International, explained:
“Ageing and increasing life expectancy are causes for celebration, as they reflect a country’s success in healthcare and medical advancements. But population ageing presents significant economic challenges, especially as it is often accompanied by low birth and fertility rates causing the population to decline. It will make it harder to generate economic growth while putting a huge strain on pension and social security systems. However, business opportunities presented by population ageing are just as large. The need to mitigate against a shrinking labour force also spurs technology innovations and product developments aimed at the senior consumer."
Euromonitor International data show that later lifers are in better financial shape than the rest of the population, boasting the highest spending power among all age groups. This high average income level of these two age groups will grow 26% and 22%, respectively, through to 2025, making this demographic a highly profitable target group for marketing discretionary purchases.
Understanding older consumers
The increasing importance of the ageing consumer has also been analysed in the new report: Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2019
According to the white paper, older consumers should be at the centre of business’ strategies. Later lifers are in better financial shape than the rest of the population, boasting the highest spending power among all age groups. Globally, people aged 50-59 years old earned 28 percent above the average income of all age groups in 2018.
As people live longer and take better care of themselves, older consumers feel and want to be treated as younger. Age Agnostics don’t conform to demographic expectations. These older consumers have much more in common with the values and priorities of younger generations than one might think.
Jem Golden, Senior Consultant at Euromonitor International, added:
"The key to winning and retaining the loyalty and trust of this ageing demographic is to develop products and services that are universally accessible even while designed with older people in mind. Baby boomers have much more in common with the values and priorities of millennials and younger generations than many realise, and it is this inclusive mindset that needs to be better understood and catered for in the future."