While jean leggings, Swedish nail beds, and other fads of 2009 have mostly come and gone with the passing year, some shopping trends are here to stay. In 2009 more seniors were shopping online than ever before, and experts predict this will be an ongoing trend. The new senior market offers many advertising opportunities, making it important to stay educated about how to effectively reach this group.
Seniors- defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as those aged 65 or older- are the fastest growing segment in the United States and moreover the group with the largest disposable income and ability to make purchase decisions (unlike teens who also have large disposable incomes but often have their spending controlled or limited by parents). In fact, seniors spend over $7 billion online according to research by SeniorMag.
So, how do companies target the influential senior demographic? One important detail to recognize when marketing to seniors is that older men and women often have more time to research products and are less likely to buy on impulse. That being said, seniors are increasingly turning to the Internet in order to compare items and they often make their purchases online too.
In order to appeal to this developing demographic, companies that focus heavily on e-commerce need to ensure that their sites are user-friendly. Marketers can do this by posting pictures of seniors using their products and writing promotional material that contains relevant and interesting information, as seniors are often skeptical of ads that sound too “sale-sy.” Since seniors are more likely to trust companies that they view as honest and practical, distributing promotional products is another effective way to garner attention and loyalty from the senior audience because it allows them to sample functional products while reinforcing a brand name.
Although seniors are often savvier shoppers than teens and baby boomers who shop online, they are typically interested in the same types of products as younger audiences. Top purchases made by seniors include travel tickets and hotel arrangements, MP3 players and other electronics, and apparel. And, Americans over the age of 65 are some of the most loyal you can find, evidenced by an AARP survey showing that more than 80% of seniors who shopped online were satisfied with their purchases. Just don’t try to sell them the latest heavy metal CD!
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