The past 30 years have been a Golden Age for the chemical industry.
The key feature has been the rise of the Western babyboomers. They were born in 1946–70, and came to dominate the global economy as they moved into their peak consumption period between the ages of 25–54 years old.This is when people typically marry, settle down, and have children. In turn, their need for material goods is at its greatest.
Their domination was achievedvia a unique combination of circumstances. Not only were they living
in the wealthiest countries ever seen in history. But they also belonged to the world’slargest-ever generation in terms of population size. As a result, they had both the wealth, and the numbers, to establish
and maintain the consumer trendsthat have dominated global markets since 1980.
This Golden Age is, however, now coming to an end, as these baby boomers move into the 55+ age group, wherepeople typically consume less as their needs reduce. Instead, we are now moving forward to a new normal, and a world where demand patterns will be quitedifferent.
These western baby boomers have been on a remarkable journey, both for themselves and for the rest of the world. And their journey is not yet over. Now,they are moving beyond their peak consumption years. And, once again, they find themselves in a unique position, with the longest life-expectancy in historynow stretching out before them. Almost certainly, they are about to create major changes in world markets as a result.
The key issues can be simply summarised: