The Germans are dying out. Ok, they’re not really dying out, but the birth rate has plummeted. In fact it’s been in decline for decades. Bad news if your core target group is babies or kids. By 2035 each working person will be funding another German’s pension.
To respond to the demographic change, Steiff has been adapting its marketing strategy – it’s growing up. No longer does it focus solely on kids, it now markets its cult stuffed toys to adults and especially older adults. The sort of people who will want to collect these highly collectible toys. And what magazines do they read? Old people’s magazines such as Brigitte – the source of the ad on the right.
Similarly makers of baby soaps, oils and shampoos are targeting young adults (or encouraging young people to keep using baby products as the grow up). One example of this is Penaten.
Meanwhile, other manufacturers are preparing for the future now. One is Bauer. Back in 1998 (if my memory serves me right) it introduced this gem of a product. It was designed to appeal to older consumers (the graphics are reminiscent of Meissen Porcelain) and the product is packed with the sort of do-good functional ingredients they read about the whole time in chemists’ handouts – apple vinegar, honey, secondary plant extracts (whatever they are).
Nice idea, only 30 years too early. The product flopped. But maybe, one day, we’ll see a lot more products like this serving the ‘grey market’. Maybe one day car makers will target cars at old people with easy to operate (voice-controlled) functions and simple, intuitive fittings. One day…