Most brands and retailers today are trying to gain favor with the ever elusive and appealing Millennial target. Marketers hope that by engaging this unspecifically broad group, they will be able to rejuvenate their brand by earning the sort of virality, fame and success that Gucci made with this group over the last few years. But the focus on younger generations often overshadows a growing target group that is hardly mentioned in industry case studies – seniors. While the 50+ crowd may not seem as desirable as younger groups they do represent a tour de force that should not be ignored. In the U.S. alone, 80 million people will be 65 or older within a few decades, compared to around 50 million today. In the UK, nearly one in seven people will be over 75 by 2040 and life expectancy currently grows by five hours a day.
While some companies recognize this and offer new products and solutions for older audiences, very often the way such products are approached and communicated is biased. Many fall into the trap of thinking with clichés, using stereotypical portrayals of older people, resulting in oversimplification of a diverse target group. While some may be happy to retire and look after their grandkids, others may want to keep working well into their 70s. Still others may be looking to do things they never were able to before, such as traveling or engaging in the community. For example, Australian seniors are more active than ever before.
Understanding these needs of older audiences becomes crucial at the point of sale as well. American retirees spend 25% more time shopping on every dollar they actually spend than younger people. While we often talk about creating shopping experiences for the latter, it is the former who have more time to spend on shopping.