Thursday, February 29

What do people over 55 spend?

Daniel Crespo

More concerns, more purchasing power… Brands turn to this market

Solange Vazquez

It seems incredible that, with what brands boast of knowing the consumer –it is the only way to sell them more and better–, they have taken so long to focus on a group that has everything to be their favorite: money to spend, time to dedicate your concerns and desire to live well. They are those over 55, the ‘seniors’, who are ‘forcing’ companies to reorient their business.

“Today there are 962 million people over 60 years of age in the world and by 2050 this number will have doubled. In fact, the UN estimates that there will be more people over 60 than individuals between 10 and 24 years of age,” Jesús Olivar details. , Director of Analysis and Knowledge at Wavemaker, an agency that investigates market trends to advise some of the most important brands in the world–. However, despite the fact that these forecasts are well known, brands are slow to react. As he explains, even in sectors such as cruises, where most of the customers are older, “marketing investment is aimed at young audiences.” Something that is changing.

The ‘seniors’ demand more and more goods and services, especially the youngest of this group (being 55 is not the same as being 85): especially trips, leisure experiences and digital equipment. First, because it is estimated that their purchasing power is up to 12% higher than that of other segments of the population. In addition, according to the latest OCU study, 80% state that their quality of life is good or very good, with acceptable health if they are lucky. Money, optimism and desire to do things… This, in business terms, means spending. What do they invest their euros in? We are going to banish topics, because it is not about drugs for cholesterol or orthopedics.

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pamper the body

Online fitness and healthy food

The elderly, in general, take great care of themselves and do not hesitate to invest money in it. When the body begins to falter, they get to work. According to the II Senior Consumer Barometer, recently presented by the Mapfre Foundation to identify the purchasing habits of those over 55 years of age – a segment that in Spain adds up to 15.8 million people–, 77% of this group take care of their diet (in fact they look for many recipes ‘online’, according to Google). They avoid salt, sugar, fatty and ultra-processed products but they are not friends with diets. They take food supplements, products for food intolerances, many dairy products and ‘superfoods’. As sources from the search engine add, one of the ‘senior’ trends they have found is that users over 55 are 18% more interested in healthy lifestyles than young people. And it’s not just good intentions. They want to take action: 32% of them look for fitness content ‘online’ to get in shape.

full of tutorials

Very aware of the house

The Spanish ‘seniors’, according to the Mapfre Foundation study, have their main source of expenses at home. Although 66% have their own home without a mortgage, water, gas and electricity take a good chunk of their money. In order to have a home that is as comfortable as possible, a high percentage of the elderly have signed up to ‘do it yourself’, that is, to carry out repairs and reforms on their own. “More than 40% of ‘seniors’ can be called ‘do it yourselves’, as they consult tutorials frequently,” Google sources reveal.


Clothes, gadgets, books, creams

According to the Mapfre Foundation dossier, the ‘seniors’, after household goods, consume a large number of technological devices –tablets, mobile phones, computers, electrical appliances–, books and comics and cosmetic products, in that order. “It is becoming easier for brands to understand and target them as they further embrace digital channels. In the pandemic many have started shopping online, which has caused an explosion in interest and capacity for brands to track their digital behavior,” says Olivar. And he gives an example of this ‘revelation’: during the pandemic, JD, the second largest e-commerce platform in China, realized that the consumption of cosmetics in this group had grown by 50% in just one year. Data like this is breaking down many prejudices right now.


back to travel

48% of older Spaniards manage to save between 10% and 30% of the money they earn. And from that remnant they pull to travel, a hobby that for about 40% of those over 55 is an important part of their lives. Thus, they are a tourist engine, especially at the national level. Despite having reduced their outings due to the pandemic, they plan to recover the habit this year. According to the Mapfre report, 85% plan trips for this year, 30% of them to international destinations. Above all, cruises (with everything closed in advance) and health tourism, with stays in spas and resorts. In addition, seasonality is their great asset: they can travel outside of the high season because they have free time all year, something that the sector hoteliers, transport companies and restaurants are great.

‘Foodies’, cults, environmentalists and travelers…, especially them

According to Wavemaker studies, those over 55 have a very clear profile: they are health fanatics and that entails “a healthy diet, thinking about the calories they eat and doing some sport or exercise weekly.” A third of the people who make up this group fit into this pattern, which is much less prevalent among young people. More features that differentiate them when consuming? Yes, they are demanding, loyal to brands and quality seekers (that’s why they are not friends of offers). In Spain, specifically, senior women are ‘foodies’ (65%), educated (51%), ‘ecological’ consumers (46%) and travel lovers (43%), with some points of advantage over men from their age, although, when buying, age defines us more than gender.

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