63% of consumers around the world believe that society’s obsession with youth has gotten out of hand, per results [download page] of a Euro RSCG Worldwide survey of 7,213 adults in 19 countries, released in July 2012. Women are 12% more likely than men to believe this to be the case (66% vs. 59%). Interestingly, this view is shared by 6 in 10 Millennials (aged 18-34). Among the 19 countries studied, consumers in Colombia (78%) were the most likely to agree that society has become too obsessed with youth, while those in Belgium were least likely (45%). The US fell right at the average of 63%.
Confidence in Aging Grows With One’s Years
Data from Euro RSCG Worldwide’s “Aging: Moving Beyond Youth Culture” indicates that 65% of respondents intend to embrace aging and all that comes with it, and that this sentiment increases with age. For example, while 60% of 18-34-year-olds agree that they will embrace aging, that rises to 67% among 35-54-year-olds, and 75% of those aged 55 and older. This increased confidence in aging appears to correlate with views on cosmetic surgery: 76% of those aged 55 and older believe that cosmetic surgery has gotten out of hand, while only 68% of the 35-54 set and 63% of the 18-34 group agree.
Most Feel Younger, Believe They Look Younger
Consumers’ general confidence with the aging experience can also be attributable to their self-perceptions. 55% of the respondents said they look younger than most people their age, with a high of 76% in Colombia, and a low of 44% in the Netherlands. The US was slightly below average in this regard, at 51% of respondents.
Similarly, most respondents feel younger than their age, with 59% somewhat or strongly agreeing that to be the case. Of note, among the 19 markets studied, the US, at 47% of respondents, was the only to have a minority feeling that they look younger than their age.
Losing Touch Not a Prime Concern
The Euro RSCG report notes that it will be interesting to track to what extent shared digital and social media and entertainment options reduce cultural gaps between age groups. In the US, at least, recent research from Pew reveals that a majority of US seniors (aged 65 and older) are now online, and one-third of those are on social networks.
In fact, according to the Euro RSCG survey results, losing touch with what’s happening in the world is not a prime concern for respondents, with just 47% of men and 52% of women saying that they are worried about this aspect of aging. By contrast, more direct physical and mental constraints such as diminished physical capacity (63% of men and 69% of women), illness or pain (62% and 69%, respectively), and diminished mental capacity (58% and 69%, respectively) are of far higher concern.
- Survey respondents tabbed old age to begin at 71 and middle age to start at 48.
- On average, respondents believe that men and women reach their physical, sexual, and creative peaks by their mid-30s. Additionally, they believe that the peak age for wisdom is 44 for men and 49 for women.
About the Data: The countries examined in the Euro RSCG Worldwide study are: Argentina; Australia; Belgium; Brazil; Canada; China; Colombia; the Czech Republic; France; Germany; Hungary; India; Ireland; Mexico; the Netherlands; Poland; South Africa; the UK; and the US. The median age in the markets surveyed ranged from just below 25 years in South Africa to a high of 44 years in Germany.