As part of our series on Asia Pacific’s emerging traveller types – which we initially identified in the study Shaping the future of travel in Asia Pacific: The big FOUR travel effects – we’ve found that over the next 20 years, all Asia Pacific economies will see a significant increase in older people, or what we term as Gen ‘S’, with the most dramatic changes in Singapore, China, and Korea.
The over 50s, and more specifically the over 65s, are accounting for an increasingly significant portion of leisure travellers – especially in Australia and Japan where over 65s now account for over 20% of all leisure travellers.
These demographic developments will create significant changes in the travel market. In Japan, for example, the working age population (20-65) will decline by 12% between 2011 and 2030, which will drive a decrease in the number of business travellers.
Conversely the number of over 65s will increase by 34%, creating a significant increase in senior leisure travellers.
Overall, there will be an increase of 250 million over 65s by 2030 across the seven countries we have researched, with most of the increase coming from China and India. We estimate that this will create a doubling in the number of over 65 leisure travellers to Asia Pacific destinations by 2030.
Fewer older travellers are currently using mobile devices, especially smartphones, to make travel arrangements and bookings, which is much more common in younger age groups.
Korea is a market where smartphone usage to make travel bookings is already at very high levels – especially in the 18-30 age group. Smartphone penetration in Korea is among the highest in the world at well over 50% of the population, and a very high proportion of travellers are using these devices to make travel bookings.
Conversely, in most countries the over 65 travellers hardly use these devices at all to make bookings, relying instead on more traditional approaches such as use of travel agents.
While the seniors market represents a large and growing opportunity for travel providers, the challenge will be in successfully monetising it.
So, how are you preparing for this emerging traveller type?