Navigating Canada’s Retirement Stream

Three ways a marketer can approach the effects of waves in an aging workforce.

As Canada’s population ages, so does its labor force, creating an influx of retirees. A record 307,000 people retired last year, and we can expect this pace to continue given that the average working age has never been higher. In fact, Canada’s population now has a higher proportion of people exiting the labor force than entering it; a dynamic that has significant economic implications.

For the modern marketer, this looming wave of retirement means a whole new set of customers will evolve their priorities, spending habits and media diets. It also means that any research and assumptions we’ve made about early retirement for this group may need to be revised.

Here are some ways you can begin to approach this sociodemographic shift so that your marketing plan remains relevant and engaged with this new and powerful audience:

1. Leverage industry growth.

Travel, hospitality and healthcare are sure to see business growth as retirees look to spend and enjoy their jobless years. Understanding how your business is positioned for retirement is critical to capitalizing on it. If your business or service is frequently used by seniors, you should prepare for growth over the next few years. If not, there may be an opportunity to affiliate yourself with another cross-industry brand. For example, Gucci partnered with The North Face as outdoor recreation grew in popularity in 2021.

2. Reevaluate your targeting.

While we know that the Baby Boomer group is typically labeled with a strong work ethic, independence, and competitiveness, we must consider that retirement will radically change some of these traits. You may have to adjust your targeting strategy to accommodate a new mode of consumer media, new preferences for tone and messaging, new interests in previously rejected products, and more. Conducting fresh research or inviting representatives of this group to consult can help you better understand these shifts. Take Lucky Charms for example. Although they were primarily aimed at kids, their research showed a strong interest in nostalgic Millennials, leading them to pivot and find success with a developed target.

3. Do less.

An unprecedented number of vacancies due to retirements is sure to further fuel the war for talent. Marketers need to get creative and think about social leverage to address the talent shortage. Virality is affordable and allows you to reach the masses with minimal budget. Just this year, a man went viral for setting up a table to eat French toast on public transport. “The French Toast Guy” garnered thousands of views, which were eventually used to promote new breakfast options at Wendy’s.

So before you send off your marketing plan for next year, take a moment to think about how the influx of Canadian retirees will affect your business. There will be moments to capitalize on, some re-evaluations to consider, and some trade-offs, but one thing is clear. ignoring this audience could be a missed opportunity to grow your brand and connect with a distinct and powerful consumer group.

This post is part 1 of a 5-part series bringing our STEEP framework for 2023 to life. The framework represents macro trends spanning socio-demographic, technological, environmental, economic and political to account for each letter of our STEEP acronym. In this series, we’ll explore how each of these macro trends permeates our daily lives and provide the modern marketer with tips to help them navigate this evolving reality. Stay tuned for our next blog where we will discuss the effects of modern technology.

We make it our business to stay on top of the trends that affect your business. Through our proprietary disruption auditing and trend analysis services, we help decipher what’s happening in our world to gain a more holistic view of the future and chart a clear path forward with actionable business strategies. Learn more or us too

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