Brands urged to exploit 'silver shoppers'

Brands urged to exploit 'silver shoppers'

An elderly woman shops for New Year's gifts at Siam Paragon. (Photos: Apichart Jinakul)
An elderly woman shops for New Year's gifts at Siam Paragon. (Photos: Apichart Jinakul)

Brands need to pay more attention to senior citizens as this group has high purchasing power and is open to new products, according to Wunderman Thompson Thailand, a marketing communications agency.

The company's "Thailand Forgotten Shopper 2021" study gauged 350 Thai respondents aged 45-65. The study is part of Wunderman's "Future Shopper 2021", a global commerce survey of people aged 50 and older that the firm calls "silver shoppers".

"Silver shoppers are one of the most powerful and influential generations. They have a huge impact on today's retail industry, yet they do not always get the same amount of attention that millennials do," Maureen Tan, chief executive of Wunderman Thompson Thailand, said in a virtual conference.

Thailand's elderly population is growing rapidly. In 2021, its population aged 60 and older increased to more than 11 million, or 17% of the population.

The study shows brands, marketers and advertisers have been rushing to impress Gen Z and millennial consumers over the past few years, leaving older counterparts feeling overlooked or alienated.

Brands forget Gen Z and millennial consumers are not the only generation with money and spending potential, she said. Older generations are rediscovering the joys of their youth and having the time of their lives, as they have at least as much purchasing power as younger generations, said Ms Tan.

The study looks into their mindset and perception, family and social life, health and well-being, retirement and finances, as well as engagement with technology and media.

Regarding their mindset and perception, this generation is still interested in learning new things, is open to new ideas and keeps up with current trends.

They may be physically older, but their hearts and minds are in their 30s and this generation has the time, money and freedom to engage in society and live life, found the study.

An elderly woman shops for new year gift items at Siam Paragon. 

According to Ms Tan, brands should never focus their marketing on just one generation -- it is crucial for them to drive growth through cross-generational branding.

Silver shoppers have a wealth of knowledge with strong ties to various people in the community, she said.

Some 75% of respondents still take care of their family and help raise children. The study indicates 44% financially support their families and are still the key decision makers.

About half of those surveyed aged 50 and above in Thailand still receive a monthly wage of 10,000-25,000 baht.

Some 83% of respondents remain socially active, take domestic trips and travel to neighbouring Asian countries, even though many of them have not travelled the last five years.

"This silver generation is the predominant purchaser for the family, whilst the users are generally the younger generations," said Ms Tan.

In terms of health and well-being, the top three most common health concerns are heart disease, diabetes and cancer. A full 57% of respondents include supplements in their daily diet, with the top three reasons being immunity, bone health and anti-ageing.

Regarding savings and finance, 71% said they "live to work and work to live" and have no desire or plans to retire, including some who cannot retire due to financial obligations.

On the whole, the group does not have investment plans as they believe they still have plenty of time to continue working, she said. This means there are many business opportunities for brands to engage with this generation, as they are still very active and high-value customers, said Ms Tan.

In terms of technology and media, this generation is still open to learning and experimenting with new technologies and social media platforms. However, they have more trust in mainstream media. They generally use smartphones and TVs to connect with friends and for entertainment.

This cohort has lower adoption rates for e-commerce platforms than other generations. They value the ability to easily return products and pay cash on delivery, as well as free delivery services.

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