What do old people want most?

Shopping behavior of seniors: The price counts little, the social experience counts a lot

The purchasing power of older people is enormous - and will continue to increase. However, this target group has a different approach to shopping than the younger generation, according to a global study.

Share this articleThe European Union has declared 2012 the "Year of Active Aging and Solidarity Between Generations". The German Trade Association (HDE) is also dedicating a special campaign to senior citizens and awards the "Generation-friendly shopping" quality mark to well-deserved shops.

In order to find out what seniors really want when shopping, the management consultancy A.T. Kearney surveyed 3,000 people over the age of 60 in 23 countries. This target group achieved a worldwide turnover of six trillion euros in 2010, writes A.T. Kearney. By the end of this decade, purchasing power will grow to 11 trillion euros.

Well-known brands create trust

The 60-plus target group not only has a lot of money - they also have different shopping demands than younger people. "Above all, those over 80 trust well-known brands and buy fewer products that are particularly inexpensive or environmentally friendly," says Mirko Warschun, at A.T. Kearney Head of the consumer goods industry and retail consultancy in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The respondents over 80 years of age would also show a very pronounced interest in age-appropriate products and shopping opportunities.

Older consumers see shopping not only as a necessity, but also as a social experience and leisure activity, according to another result of the study. Two thirds of 70 to 80 year olds said they went shopping twice or more per week. You shop at different times, preferably during the week and comparatively early in the morning when the shops are less busy.

The older consumers are, the more they prefer to shop in smaller stores in the neighborhood and walk instead of driving or being driven.

Seniors also buy online

The use of cell phones and the Internet is already widespread among seniors. 69 percent of those surveyed have both a landline and a mobile phone. 22 percent only use a landline phone and 11 percent only use a cell phone. The use of mobile phones decreases with age, but half of the respondents over 80 years of age said they use a mobile phone, and 87 percent of those aged 60 to 64 years.

68 percent of 60 to 64 year-olds stated that they were online regularly, compared to 19 percent for the group of over 80-year-olds. Of these, 49 percent (60 to 64 year olds), 41 percent (65 to 79 year olds) and 29 percent (80 plus) also shop online.

A sensible reaction by manufacturers to the growing number of older customers is, for example, a far-reaching rethinking of product design - especially with regard to labeling and usage instructions, clearly legible price labels and easy-to-open packaging. Because more than half of the 60 to 80-year-olds surveyed stated that they could not always read labels carefully.

According to the study, older customers take more time to find out about the ingredients of food while shopping. Therefore, they need information that is easy to read. Above all, manufacturers will have to work closely with retailers in the future if they want to achieve a strategic reorientation towards the target group of the elderly.

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The trade 02/2021

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