Boomers Seek Lifestyle-enhancing Products; Retail Channels Respond

A recent study produced by AARP and Microsoft shows how manufacturers need to tailor product development and channel sales strategies with the boomer consumer in mind. If your product exists to help users sustain health and maintain a mobile, active lifestyle, then consider how the baby boomer consumer sector is influencing product development. And don’t forget to carefully map out a boomer-friendly retail channel strategy.

Technology is a big part of boomer leisure and creative pastimes, as well as fitness pursuits. From in-home fitness systems that improve stamina and balance, to mentally challenging video games, boomers and their “older” senior citizen parents have staked a claim to a large slice of consumer products that help with fun and healthy living.

Retailers such as BestBuy are lining up alongside the stalwarts like Sears to claim loyalty in this growing “active senior” demographic. The buying experience is more comfortable, the product mix is more appealing. Manufacturers need to gather where makers of other, like products are being sold.

Major drug chains such as CVS and Walgreens sell a broad extension of healthcare products at their online stores — products that otherwise would not fit in their store layouts — while entering services such as limited health care and remote monitoring of prescriptions.

Whether proactively managing health, or preventing or forestalling the onset of disease, boomers are getting the jump-start on enabling technology in their daily lives. Where they shop and how they choose their products is key to a sustainable product roadmap and channel strategy for today’s consumer goods manufacturers.

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Nittier and Grittier: More from CES

It’s Elvis’ 75th birthday, and I find myself in his Mecca, Las Vegas. The elevator Muzak is all Elvis today; classy touch.

So – on to CES, and my votes for the Most Exciting, and Most Off-the-wall Products.

Most Exciting .
Power of the Future. Near Field Inductive Coupling Technology is at the core of a wireless power movement branded at CES as eCoupled, from Fulton Innovation. Manufacturers including Energizer, Motorola, Texas Instruments, Bosch, Leggett & Platt, and Amway (!) are part of this consortium to develop “e-coupled compatible” products and systems powered wirelessly. The CES booth featured lifestyle settings ranging from a kitchen to a hotel room to an in-car dash to a power tool chest. New ways to live without wires. Imagine what it means for product development, ergonomics, and daily living overall! eCoupled Wireless Power Technology by Fulton Innovation.

Connected Healthcare. Another industry consortium, Continua Alliance, ensures that patients, their caregivers and healthcare providers are connected and empowered. Among such large company members as Cisco, GE, IBM and Qualcomm are innovative companies like Nonin, makers of pulse oximeters that route vitals to remote medical caregivers. Across the aisle from Continua were the makers of Wellcore. Wellcore “takes personal emergency response to the next level, combining automatic fall detection with 24/7 monitoring and prompt emergency response if needed… Wellcore keeps loved ones continually safe, secure and connected.” The message is targeted to boomers with aging parents living far away. The boomers themselves will likely adapt it for their own use in the distant future, too.
Continua Health Alliance.

Most Off The Wall.
OK, hard to choose from among 1000s of exhibitors, but the makers of electronic cigarette smoking devices win. Smoke anywhere, emitting only harmless vapor … no flame, no ash, no nicotine smoke. e-cigarettes are free of tobacco, but include a nicotine cartridge. Smokers: will it do the job when all you want is a good smoke?

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