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Current Practice of Market to Seniors

Seniors shoppingde

Even when your products do not target the senior demographic specifically, there is a chance that seniors do make a significant portion of your customers.

As discussed, seniors are becoming a significant segment; they have a lot of buying power and spend more on non-essentials and hobbies.

So even when companies do not make products specifically for seniors, many are starting to market to seniors to attract them to buy products as gifts for others.

Let’s talk about marketing products to different groups of seniors.

1) Pre-retirees: (Aged: 50-65)

  • These are groups of people who are planning for retirement and are making retirement plans. Some slightly younger couples with older spouses may also be preparing for retirement are in this group.

Pre-retirees is a demographic that many luxury brands try to attract. Some are couples with older spouses, and increasingly, some may be older (up to 70 years old) and still earning and accumulating wealth.

Traditionally, the finance sector is the ones who focus a lot on this segment with their private banking. This segment has a lot of different custom financial products made for them. Initially, I had the impression that many of these financial institutions only target the rich. From conversations with many friends above the age of 50, I realize a huge range of products is offered to all income levels.

Motorcycles may seem to be something for young people to own. Still, in many countries, the flagship motorcycles are often too expensive for younger people to buy, and the main customers are people above the age of 45.

If your company makes luxury and premium products, the pre-retirees will be a significant segment. The well-funded ones have a lot of purchasing power as their homes are fully paid, and their kids have finished education.

Even for the underfunded and still working seniors in Singapore, a large proportion of them has already owned their homes. With active income and financial stability, they can afford more than others in the same income bracket.

Many pre-retirees also do not spend such long hours working. Those in more senior positions have more flexibility. For F&B businesses, the seniors segment can be a missed opportunity if you do not target them to come to your premises during off-peak hours.

2) Grandparents: (Aged: 50+)

  • Grandparents and older relatives fall into this group as they are also buying things in other segments as gifts.

The holidays are coming, and grandparents are a great source of fantastic gifts for many kids today. Older relatives without kids often enjoy shopping and buying gifts.

Grandparents are willing to spend a lot on gifts. For example, my mother, who spends very little on food, can drop $100 on a gift for her grandchildren.

Even when traveling, gifts are significant considerations that older relatives will buy. When I go to the outlet stores to shop, I realize that a third of my purchases are for my niece and nephew.

In supermarkets, I observed that parents would buy gift-with-purchase if the kids shopping with them want the toy. However, the grandparents would buy the product because the toy may look like something their grandchildren would like.

3) Active Retirees: (Aged: 65+)

  • This segment of seniors no longer receives an active income. Their money comes from savings, assets, pensions, or allowance from their children.

Unlike the pre-retirees, this segment tends to be a little more conservative in terms of spending. However, for smaller ticket items, they would still spend.

This segment has significantly more time, and if the price is right, they do spend when meeting friends.

Fully retired seniors are drawing only from the combination of savings and assets. However, many of them would have wholly-owned their properties as well.

Even without active income, my mother, who enjoys traveling, would spend hundreds on a Rimowa luggage with an aluminum hinge.

Yes, even seniors without incomes who are worried about finances still spend, and collectively, the seniors could be a very significant market.

Why are there not a lot of companies marketing to seniors?

Increasingly, a lot of sales come from the senior market. But many companies fail at marketing to older people. It is hard to tell people that they are too old to do things, to use certain products.

Many ads that focus on age can be like Instagram pictures of seniors who look like, “I’ve fallen and cannot get up.”

Sadly, many ads I’ve seen that target older people seem pretty negative, like erectile dysfunction and other drugs for seniors.

In the last article, I gave 11 tips on Marketing to Seniors. Many savvy marketers now don’t focus on age, as you are never too old to do something. I was in the Ferrari showroom, and many of the owners who buy new cars are above the age of 60.

There are no quick and successful ways to target seniors without creating a negative ad. Creative marketers who observed trends that are happening with Gen-X, Gen-Y, and the other different generations have started to use familiar music and other imagery in their era to market to them.

80’s music in TV shows like Stranger Things and movies like Guardians of the Galaxy attract the attention of many Gen X. Marketers see the results and realize that focusing on the era instead of age can be a way to create familiarity.

There is a real opportunity to market to older people. Seniors want brands to provide content that is educational, informative, and more than just entertainment.

Successful ads now target multi-generation.

Successful ads now target multi-generation.

Some ads have a creative narrative to show that age is just a number.

Some ads tell a good, compelling story on aging and life experiences.

The 2018 McCann study “Truth About Age” found that aging is something everyone thinks about.

Successful marketers focus on attitudes and experiences and not age. People at a different stage of their lives have different attitudes towards life. Their needs are different, and they will respond to stimuli differently.

Different seniors can relate to these messages by focusing on various storytelling experiences — new grandparents or empty-nesters.

Otherwise, the multi-generational approach allows seniors to envision this aging utopia where multi-generations live in harmony. And product placement in this story can give the seniors a warm feeling towards the brand.

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