IN SUMMARY: In the United States, there are about 52 million people who are age 65 or older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This demographic is projected to almost double in size by 2060, to a whopping 95 million people. The mature market has over $1.6 trillion in spending power and a net worth that’s almost twice the U.S. average. The facts speak for themselves — the mature market represents a tremendous opportunity across all categories.
Seniors are now significant players in the economy and their role will get even bigger in the 2020s. Since older people tend to have both high incomes compared to younger cohorts (especially in OECD countries, thanks to old-age pensions) and high needs (if only on account of medical and specialized care), they are major consumers. Seniors are also growing rapidly in number: There are currently 750 million seniors in the world, and that figure will cross the 1 billion mark by 2030. And, they love technology.
Consumers 55+ rely on devices to shop, manage finances, gather news, connect with friends, family, and colleagues, stay entertained, organize their lives, and manage their homes. Computers, smartphones, smart TVs, and tablets dominate device use, however, smart speakers and wearable devices are emerging growth areas for news/ entertainment and health monitoring respectively:
• Nearly nine in 10 (89%) are using computers
• Nearly six in ten (58%) have smart TVs
• More than half (54%) have tablets
Seniors are logging on in record numbers. According to Statista, 70% of people age 65 or older surf the internet. Smartphones have facilitated the usage of the internet for most people, but especially for seniors. It is estimated that 1 in 4 seniors has a phone with access to the internet and they use it for almost everything. From shopping to checking the weather, seniors are using the internet more frequently and are even a significant demographic of social media usage.
Seniors are the wealthiest age cohort in the world, together with older professionals (45-64 years). This shift toward wealthier older people is not because old people are inherently richer but because rich countries are older and poor countries are younger. Until 2030, the silver economy will gain even more absolute strength because the number of seniors is growing by 3.2 percent every year (compared to 0.8 percent of the whole population).
Characteristics of Senior Consumers
- They are digitally literate. Although they have not grown up with the Internet, they have taken an interest and have been able to catch up. In fact, according to the Cetelem study, older Europeans spend an average of 13 hours online and almost two thirds of them shop online regularly.
- They are large consumers of content. According to a study by BuzzStream and Fracti, baby boomers consume more content than millennials and Generation X. In fact, 25% of seniors consume more than 20 hours of online content per week, making them an ideal audience for content marketing campaigns.
- They place a high value on customer service. The older generations are used to a one-on-one relationship with the salesperson and expect the same from online marketing. That is why they value brands that make an effort to offer personalized attention and answer all their questions.
- They are more cautious when buying. Away from impulse buying, seniors think carefully before investing in a new product, so digital marketing strategies for older generations should fit this pattern.
- And in terms of sectors, the most interesting for this sector are travel and leisure, health and wellness products, care services, insurance, and financial products.
Many recent lifestyle changes responding to COVID-19 are likely to continue after the pandemic risks subside. Consensus from the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show suggests four broad changes that will remain:
- Telehealth is here to stay – even for tech-challenged seniors. They have seen that the quality of their healthcare has not declined as a result of telehealth. At the same time, they are spending less time sitting in physician waiting rooms. Ultimately, telehealth is making the health care experience better for seniors!
- The highly contagious nature of Coronavirus has driven the development of new ways to ensure cleanliness and better hygiene. New hygiene-enhancing products like touchless appliances, automated lighting, shades, and door locks – not to mention other AI-driven technologies employed in the home – have been and are being developed and introduced.
- Digital assistants are becoming more commonplace and are making homes smarter. As they have been shut in their homes for an extended time, seniors are recognizing how digital assistants and other technologies can make their lifestyles easier and more convenient at home.
- In addition to telehealth, new products that support in-home healthcare are exploding onto the market. They not only aid a senior who desires to age in place, but they are also, too, making the whole healthcare experience better.