Over the last few years, a new emerging market has slowly been growing around the world. The “Silver Market” is upon us. China’s senior population is slowly emerging has a powerful consumer base, but few marketers or products are focusing on these affluent shoppers. According to CCTV, “China should improve its “silver” industry by enhancing gerontechnology and expanding the market for the elderly, who are facing significant pressures as they age.
“The value of the market for the elderly has exceeded 170 billion yuan, but only 120 billion yuan worth goods can be found on the market,” said Wang Jiyong, vice chairperson of the China Silver Industry Association (CSIA) at a forum on silver industry and gerontechnology.”
Currently, the market value of the senior consumer in China is about $28 billion USD, but the market is being under served by about $8 billion USD. This means there is enormous potential for foreign and domestic brands to capitalize on this growing segment. Below is a great video from Thoughtful China talking about this growing market segment and how brands should start marketing to the aging Chinese.
Marketing to the aging Chinese Video
According to Thoughtful China, “China’s senior citizens are largely ignored by mainstream marketing and communications efforts.” Tom Doctoroff went as far as saying “This is one of the biggest marketing opportunities of the 21st century.” What products or services are in demand and how can companies start marketing to the aging Chinese?
China has now more than 177 million people aged 60 or above, and the number is predicted to reach 450 million by the middle of the century, according to the statistics from the sixth national census. Marketing to the aging Chinese population is becoming more important today than ever before. By 2050, there will be more senior citizens in China than the entire population of the US. Companies looking to ride this wave need to start now.
Major product and service groups will center around health care, burial assistance, financial assistance, and retirement activities. Health care opportunities will include nutrition supplements, retirement/nursing homes, nursing/assisted living services, pharmaceuticals, and medical products (earring aids, wheelchairs, shower products, etc.).
The death of a loved one can be overwhelming and difficult to deal with in the moment. Burial assistance will become a larger market segment by 2050, with 450 million senior citizens living in China more death and death related services will need to be developed.
Financial assistance will be another major category in this emerging market segment. Senior citizens will need help with financial planning for their retirement years. With little or no assistance from the Chinese government and less support from family members, seniors will need to plan their retirement and burial process. This creates a major opportunity for financial and investment companies within China.
Finally, retirement activities will be a major market segment. Nobody wants to sit in front of a TV until their brain rots out and with more disposable income than previous generations, Chinese seniors are looking to explore their retirement opportunities. One major group of seniors will be travelers, they will be actively traveling domestically and abroad. Travel companies that cater to their needs and demands will see significant market growth over the next 10-20 years. Another major group will be hobbyist, with more free time after retirement and more money, many seniors will take up hobbies to fill their free time. Photography, art & crafts, dancing, and events will all become more attractive to the senior population.
Marketing to the aging Chinese
According to the video above, reaching the senior market is not too difficult because many are still watching TV. The real challenge is engaging this market segment and creating meaningful relationships. Seniors are also becoming accustomed to digital marketing, according to a China Social Media Impact Report, 10% of WeChat users fall within this senior demographic.
Creating a sense of community and identity for senior citizens is important to create engagement. Brands can create digital meeting places that encourage real life friendships. Brands can host events that inspire new friendships and rekindle old relationships. By listening and communicating with senior consumers, brands can create an environment that values seniors and creates a community with seniors at the center. This will create a sense of belonging and identity that is currently lacking in the market.
Marketing to the aging Chinese citizens is a necessity for brands operating in China. The future size, spending power, and influence that the senior market is predicted to have is unprecedented. Brands have a real opportunity to re-position their products and services to meet this under-served segment and reap real benefits both in terms of profit and influence on generations to come. Where does your brand stand when it comes to marketing to the aging Chinese citizens?
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