The New Consumer Majority is the Senior Market - Research by Zillner

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Zillner research series “All the Wiser” reveals complexity of new Senior consumer.

Targeting older adults has been relegated to “niche” status. Niche markets are assumed to be smaller and extremely well defined.

The Senior consumer market, comprised of more than 23 million seniors and another 81 million baby boomers, is more than 100 million strong. It is diverse, in terms of ethnicity and lifestage.

Spending in the age 50+ consumer market is estimated at $3.1 trillion across all industries, except health care, which is estimated at an additional $1.6 trillion. This is an estimated $4.7 trillion in spending for senior and boomer consumers. Traditionally, brands and marketing officers have overlooked this lucrative opportunity. Decision makers default to conventional wisdom that young adults experience more life changes and make more brand choices than their older counterparts. This is a complete disconnect from market realities.

The effect of Lifestage
People 50+ actually experience more lifestage changes than any other cohort. (See accompanying Lifestage infographic.) This includes: second careers, retirement, parenting children and teens, divorce, remarriage, widowhood, grandparenting, emptynesting, and caregiving. Lifestage changes are often abrupt, and create need for products and services that have not been part of a consumer’s consideration set previously. Two consumers of the same age may be experiencing very different lifestages, creating complexity in effectively reaching and communicating.

As adults age they become more individuated and comfortable in their own skin. This is commonly expressed as, “I am more me as I get older.” For marketers this means messages must be more targeted and personalized to achieve communication goals.

More diverse
As the boomers move into the senior market, they are becoming more culturally and racially diverse than any previous older generation. The boomers are experiencing the first generation of fully acculturated Asian and Hispanic matures, raised by foreign-born parents. By 2025 the population will be: 20.5% Hispanic; 5.8% Asian; 12.6% Black; and 57.6% White. (See attached infographic.)

“It is unrealistic to develop products and messages for 100 million older people who are incredibly diverse,” said Patti Aspenleiter, President of Zillner, an agency providing research, strategic and marketing services focused on Senior consumers.

“Zillner created a proprietary segmentation, Senior ID, to allow companies to prioritize the senior segments that fit their brands. We illustrate how to effectively use segmentation in our new research series, All the Wiser – Senior Consumer Insights and Outlook.”

All the Wiser – Senior Consumer Insights and Outlook is a four-part research and insight series focusing on:
Senior Buying Power and Marketing
        Brand loyalty
Media consumption
Marketing best practices
Use of technology and devices
Lifestyle — Mind, Body and Spirit
Family composition
Religion and spirituality
Health & wellness
Senior Influence
Workplace and retirement

Each section of the series features fresh-from-the-field research, analyzed for understanding the unique segments and dimensions of the senior population. These findings is combined with findings from internationally renowned research and intelligence sources to create a comprehensive set of insights to inform market strategy.

Part 1 of All the Wiser – Senior Consumer Insights and Outlook, is available now at This introductory report is an overview of today’s senior, their diversity, lifestyle, and market power, based on both Zillner’s research and the analysis of secondary research sources. It creates a compelling argument for understanding the segments in the senior market and the complexity of communicating with these segments.

Zillner is the nation’s leading Senior consumer agency, providing research, strategic and marketing services to brands targeting consumers age 50+. With 20 years of experience targeting senior consumers, Zillner has created a set of proprietary tools to help brands understand, reach and motivate seniors to purchase.

Lori Bitter, The Business of Aging
Telephone: 415-652-9884
Email: lori(at)loribitter(dot)com


US Census Bureau, Population Division, June 2013

AARP, Health Innovation Frontiers: Untapped Market Opportunities for 50+, 2013

US Census, American Community Survey, 2010, 2012

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Lori Bitter