In 2019, the over-65 age group is the fastest growing demographic. In fact, by 2050, the number of people over 80 years old is predicted to triple from 143 million in 2019 to 426 million in 2050. With fewer couples deciding to have children, this means a huge shift in the population — and therefore big changes in shopping trends.
This worldwide aging population forecasts changes in the retail sector, and businesses need to adapt to keep up with this demand. Not only is this demographic growing, but the over 60s are getting more and more active. With improved care and medical assistance, people are not only living longer, but living more happily! The over 60s are forecasted to have a global spending power of $15 trillion by 2020, and with many of them identifying shopping as a preferred social activity, they are a market we need to cater for. So, how can we tap into this market? And once we’ve got the attention of the over 60s, how can we make their shopping experience as enjoyable and accessible as possible? Join Sheffield Stairlift Supplier as they delve into the ways that businesses are becoming more elderly-friendly…
How can businesses become more accessible?
There are many ways that you can adapt your business to suit an aging customer base. From product design, to shop lighting, there are multiple adjustments that will make a world of difference for thes shoppers’ experience. Here are some areas to focus on.
Shop layout and location
Many older adults identified a desire to shop at locally owned shops, closer to home. As shopping is a leisure activity for this group as well as a necessity, the social aspect should be a big focus. Local shops closer to residential areas are likely to have a high success rate with this demographic, as they will create a stronger sense of community between shoppers.
Shops closer to residential areas will also be much easier to access for an age group that is likely to contain a higher number of non-drivers.
The layout of your shop is another major thing to consider. To cater to these customers, accessibly is of great importance. If your shop has multiple floors for example, consider installing a curved or straight stairlift as well as plenty of seating areas for those customers who will need a breather. Accessible bathrooms are also of utmost importance.
Non-slip floors and matte surfaces have also been installed by many accessible shops. It is best to take any opportunity to make your customers feel safer and more at ease! Lighting is another consideration; senior shoppers can require light up to five times brighter than younger people in order to comfortably read labels and packaging. An example of a shop that has carefully considered this is Seniority, an elderly wellness retailer in Pune, India. This shop features lighting that gradually transitions between the exterior and interior of the shop, giving customers’ eyes more time to comfortably adjust.
The Keio department store in Japan is another business that has responded well to its aging customer base and adjusted its layout accordingly. After discovering that 70% of its customers were over 50, the design of the shop floor was organized by colour, price and size, rather than brand. Making the shopping experience easier to understand and enjoy for older people.
Packaging and design
In a 2013 survey, 52% of 60-70-year-olds admitted difficulty in reading product labels and packaging — it is clear that most designs haven’t kept up with an aging audience. In order to encourage elderly shoppers, make sure your labels, shop signs, advertisements and packing are all clear and easy to read. If you have any doubts about their readability, make sure there are always plenty of shop assistants on-hand to assist older customers.
Following on from the last point, customer service is key to making a great impression to older shoppers. In contrast to the younger demographic who statistically prefer online shopping and less face-to-face interaction, older customers seek help and social interaction while shopping. As many elderly people will see shopping as a social opportunity, make sure your shop assistants are always ready to help and offer advice to these customers.
Many retail businesses such as Sainsbury’s have recently embarked in slow shopping initiatives. First trialed in Gosforth, Newcastle, slow shopping took place every Tuesday afternoon for two hours. The scheme discourages rushing around the shops, and instead, creates a calming environment in which older customers can take their time and shop at their own pace.
Shoppers who attend this slow shopping window are greeted by employees at the shop’s entrance, and our offered assistance as they shop. In addition, chairs are put in place at the end of aisles so that customers can have regular breaks and aren’t kept on their feet for too long.
‘Relaxed lanes’ are also being trialed in Sainsbury’s around Scotland, encouraging shoppers to go at their own pace and be respectful of one another.
Shopping is one of the favourite activities of the older demographic, and our stores need to start reflecting this. A recent study conducted by the Alzheimer's Society uncovered that, of the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, eight out of ten named shopping as their most enjoyed activity. Sadly however, one in four have given up shopping completely in their old age. If you focus on creating a more accessible and less overwhelming retail business, this group of people will be back doing what they love, and your aging customer base will grow and grow.