The UK has an ageing and increasingly diverse population.
Recently released data from the ONS shows this population trend is set to continue for many years.
For example, one in four people will be older than 65 by 2041 and the proportion of people over 85 almost is set to double over the next 25 years.
While net international migration will account for almost three quarters of UK population growth.
Changing attitudes towards older people
Anna Dixon, Chief Executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, told Sky News that the figures showed the need for a big shift in attitudes in society towards older people.
“These longer lives are a huge opportunity, but big changes are needed to our workplaces, homes, health services and communities if we are to ensure that everyone is able to age well.
“We also need to rethink our attitudes to age, and tackle the ageist attitudes which hold back too many people from enjoying a good later life.”
Also, parts of the UK are ageing twice as fast as other areas of the country, according to a recent report.
Conversely, while the UK has an ageing population overall, in some cities the population is getting younger.
60 local areas across the UK (mainly rural or coastal areas) have ageing populations with a higher average age of older than 50 (e.g North Norfolk, where the average age is 54, the oldest in the UK).
Yet 23 places in the UK (cities and large towns) are getting younger, like Oxford (where the average age is 29) and Nottingham.
The typical age of a person in Nottingham has fallen by three years since 2001, and almost one in five people who live there are now aged between 18 and 24.
The UK is ageing, but look closer at the details
Charlie McCurdy, researcher at the Resolution Foundation, told The Guardian: “Everyone knows we’re getting older, but how and where this ageing is taking place is less well understood.
“Britain is growing apart as it ages because many rural and coastal communities are welcoming fewer babies each year, while migration within the UK and from abroad has seen younger people concentrating in urban areas that are already relatively young.”
How will these trends change your target market and how will your organisation need to adapt? How will you communicate effectively with your audiences in future?
Understand your market and serve their needs
As markets and audiences become older and more diverse, they will need more accessibility and language support.
An ageing society is more likely to acquire more disabilities as most disabilities are acquired with age, like sight or hearing loss.
This means they will need assistive software to access digital communications, such as accessibility tools to increase the font size, change the font colour and background colour, and zoom in on an area.
Plus many immigrants won’t speak English as their first language, which means that translation options (especially for complex information) will be essential for them to access communications.
Brands will need to understand the specific population changes occurring in different regions in order to correctly tailor their communications for different audiences.
Make your communications accessible and inclusive
It’s critical to keep looking at population changes and other relevant data to understand what your market will look like in the future, and how to communicate effectively with people.
Some great sources for this include the UK census (the next one is due in 2021), plus OFCOM’s annual UK Communications Market Report.
Digital accessibility and inclusion is a priority. And, to deliver on this you must follow the principles of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) when creating all digital communications (including websites), and you should also add assistive software like Recite Me to websites.
If you don’t, not only will you risk breaking the law (The Equality Act 2010), but you’ll also be missing out on big chunks of your potential market.
There’s a huge business opportunity here for brands that get it right to improve their reputations, gain new customers and increase brand loyalty.
If you need help to reach more people and make your communications accessible and inclusive contact us now.