Much has been written about the decline in birthrates. In fact, I have written several articles on that subject. Here are two:
Average U.S. Fertility Rate Lowest Since 1930s
U.S. Birthrate at Historic Low; The Good News and the Bad News
Of course, we all must be concerned about births because our entire industry has been based upon a continuing parade of babies turning into toddlers who want to play.
There is another side to the story. The population balance between the young and old is about to swing in the direction of senior citizens, Not a little – a lot.
Take a look at the Statista graph below. These countries are going to look a lot different in 27 years.
The World’s Oldest Populations, Felix Richter, February 20, 2023, statista
If 30% or more of a country’s population is over 65, there will be a lot fewer children running around. If you are a merchant in the year 2050, selling toys in Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, or Taiwan, you will have to create games and toys that appeal to a population that senior citizens dominate. Slip ‘n Slide will be out, and Old Maid will be in.
So, what about the U.S. I checked, and the Population Reference Bureau predicts:
The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060, and the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise from 16 percent to 23 percent.1Factsheet: aging in the United States
The U.S. Census Bureau, in its article “An Aging Nation: The Older Population in the United States,” cautions that we are not ready for the shift.
The aging of the population will have wide-ranging implications for the country. As the United States ages over the next several decades, its older population will become more racially and ethnically diverse. The projected growth of the older population in the United States will present challenges to policy makers and programs, such as Social Security and Medicare. It will also affect families, businesses, and health care providers.An Aging Nation: The Older Population in the United States, US Census Bureau, Jennifer M. Ortman, Victoria A. Velkoff, and Howard Hogan
You may be sitting there thinking that 2050 is a long way away. If, however, you are under 40 years old and planning to stay in our industry, you are going to find yourself in your late 60s leading your industry when this all comes to pass.
The shift is happening now. Innovative toy companies and their leaders must think hard about how the future, aging toy marketplace will look. And get ready for it.