business news in context, analysis with attitude

MSNBC reports that “people in their golden years now represent the fastest growing segment of the health club population.

“Statistics from the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) show that people over age 55 account for about 17 percent of gym-goers. In 2004, there were 10.2 million health club members over 55, up from 4.9 million in 1998 and 1.8 million in 1993.”

The reason: baby boomers are getting older, but want to hang onto their health and looks as long as possible.

According to the piece, not only are health clubs designing exercise programs that are age-appropriate, but they also are designing their facilities and hiring people who are less intimidating to an aging consumer class.
KC's View:
Once again, retailers should be looking at stories like this and trying to figure out how to adapt their stores and marketing efforts to this trend.

Cookie-cutter, lowest-common-denominator stores simply aren’t enough. Retailers should be coming up with new and ingenious ways to not just attract this audience, but compel them to walk in the door because there simply isn’t another venue that caters to their needs and wishes as well.

And they have to keep in mind that these are not the aging consumers of decades past. These are folks who still wear jeans and sneakers, who still listen to the Rolling Stones (who are even older), who are largely media and technology savvy and who do not want to be condescended to.