Sep 30, 2016
Aging Gracefully: Milestone birthdays are getting larger
Zeke Jennings

With people living longer, they are celebrating larger milestone birthdays

In 1980, the average life expectancy in the United States was just under 74 years old. Today, it’s nearly 79.

During that same time frame, the number of people in the U.S. at least 90 years old has tripled to around 2 million. That number is expected to more than quadruple by 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

What’s this mess of statistics mean? People are living longer and, therefore, celebrating more birthdays. That includes more 80th, 90th and even 100th birthday parties.

Party & Paper Retailer spoke with Heather Paul, the senior product manager for Amscan – a leading supplier of milestone partyware and decorations – about the demand for older milestones and overall trends of getting-older parties.

PPR: With people generally living longer, are you seeing a demand for higher age milestone products (80, 90, 100, etc.)?

Paul: Based on customer shopping trends we have seen a great response to beverage napkins that we offer in the later milestone ages of 70, 80 and 90, with 70 showing the best results. We do believe that these parties are becoming more relevant as the population ages and as people are generally living longer. To complete those milestone birthday parties, we have a wide range of party decorations and wearable items that the customer can customize to any age. We feel that it is important to offer a party that can make any age special and we are able to achieve this with our add an age set.

PPR: What seems to be the overall tone people seem to want with over-the-hill?

Paul: This is a question we often ask ourselves when developing product. For our customer, we definitely tend to find the bright and funny side of aging. Our ultimate goal is to make the birthday person smile, have a laugh, and to feel that they are being celebrated. One of our best items is a cane that comes in both male and female versions. This cane brings so much excitement and laughter because of its squeaker that sounds with every step and gently pokes fun at aging. When developing such products we take care to ensure that they will be funny and cheerful.

“We are seeing more demand for the older birthdays. For us, the (over-the-hill) gag/novelty/funny seems to be trending down. … I believe (customers) are looking for a more elegant touch.” – Glenn Mehterian, Cool Kat Party Supplies & Costumes, Spring, Texas

PPR: Any new product lines or styles that you’re excited about?

Paul: We are seeing fantastic results with the launch of our new tableware pattern Sparkling Celebration in milestone birthday. This ensemble features tableware and decorations for ages 30, 40, 50 and 60. The Sparkling Celebration pattern is sophisticated and on trend featuring metallic gold and silver in the palette.

Another set that we are very pleased with is milestone wearables. Not only do we have product to decorate the space, but we have a large offering to decorate the birthday person! Although the success of our milestone wearables comes as no surprise as we live, eat and breathe social media and selfies!

Additionally, we have been developing many new items that will be launching in 2017. We have expanded on themes in the over the hill section such as our caution/constructions, female and male based gag gifts. We have also worked on new wearable and selfie opportunity products. We are very excited for these items to launch and to see what kind of reactions they get from our customers.

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