The fabric of who we are as a nation—from our employment prospects to our family structures—is constantly fraying and being rewoven. The details of these socio-economic shifts—including seniors, Latinos, and women growing in importance as consumer cohorts—are revealed by leading market research firm Packaged Facts in the recently published report, Americans in 2020.
By the year 2020, America will be a graying nation inhabited by Baby Boomers and seniors who are thriving during their post-retirement years. Gen Xers and Millennials may be next in line to run the corporate and political worlds, but that doesn’t mean Boomers and seniors are simply fading silently away, especially in regards to their presence in the retail sector, considering the greater abundance of affluent households headed by older Americans. Based on Packaged Facts’ analysis of Census data, the percentage of the U.S. population age 65 and over will increase from 41 million in 2010 to 56 million by 2020. With these demographic shifts, those age 65 and over will increase in share of the total population from 13% in 2010 to 17% in 2020, accounting for 42% of the total population growth over this decade. In terms of some economic metrics, the growth in the ranks of older Americans will be challenging for the nation’s finances as a whole. For retailers, success in the future will require continuing to build relationships with this influential and often loyal consumer segment.
It’s no surprise to players in the consumer packaged goods sector that Latinos will continue to gain in importance and influence in America’s retail landscape. As noted by Packated Facts research director David Sprinkle, it’s been two decades since Packaged Facts called attention to the sign-of-the-times that retail dollar sales of salsa had overtaken those of ketchup. Since then, retail sales of tortillas have outstripped those of hamburger or hot dog buns. Much of this Latino spending power and cultural influence has to do with sheer force of numbers. The Hispanic population in the U.S. will reach 64 million by 2020, and will be a third as large as the non-Hispanic white population (at 199 million) and larger than the African-American population (at 42 million). Beyond raw numbers, an increasingly educated populace of Latino Millennials is leading a surge in greater diversity in America’s residential communities and vocational sectors. Greater education among Latinos also hints at greater financial clout as the year 2020 rolls around, and an even deeper impact on the retail market.
Women round out the trio of the game-changing consumer cohorts heading into 2020, as delayed marriage combined with a greater propensity to pursue “three letter” degrees will allow women in the workplace to secure more positions of authority and affluence, ushering the nation into an era of income equality among the genders. Additionally, we are seeing America on the cusp of having more than half of first born children born to unwed mothers as a result of the trend toward delayed marriage. Packaged Facts forecasts this tipping point will occur before 2020 and will shape the future of American households because female-headed households will remain on the rise.