Marketing to Senior Australians? Here’s Why (And How) You Should
Let’s begin with some simple math:
So senior citizens constitute a significant part of the consumer market. Yet they are so often ignored by companies when it comes to marketing.
While the younger generation is always a top priority, it seems as if the older demographic is treated as if it doesn’t represent a huge chunk of our population.
This chart from a 2013 report by the Reserve Bank of Australia shows that middle aged Australians invariably own more assets than the younger generations, which in many respects is to be expected.
But that’s not all. According to AIWH, 12% of 65+ people are still in the workforce and 76% of them receive a pension (albeit at a varying rate).
Let’s have a look at the pension rate table (from Australian Department of Human Services):
Centrelink data shows that about 59% old people receive a full-rate pension. An approximate amount of total pension money received by the 65+ demographic is more than 54 billion per year. (Assuming half of the older people are living with spouses and 41% people receive at least half of the full pension rate on average.)
In addition to this, people aged 60 to 64 have a superannuation balance worth more than $155k on average.
It is evident that as well as having more assets, 65+ Australians have a great deal of spending power. Marketing for seniors is an often overlooked business strategy that is worth seriously considering.
Why you should consider this demographic
More purchasing power
As mentioned above, 65+ Australians on average have the means to spend significantly more than some other age brackets, particularly younger generations.
People in this demographic today are keen to catch up with the younger generation. In much the same way, they are after cars, clothes and home renovations; have an interest in travelling, eating out and going to movies. They also are concerned about health and fitness.
Not to mention, they are nowadays spending on mobile phones, computers and other technological products.
The demographic is growing
The number of people in the 65+ age group is projected to increase in the near future. By 2020, it will grow to around 16% of the whole population of Australia and the reason for this is largely due to the fact that baby boomers are approaching it.
Further, the life expectancy of older Australians has dramatically increased over the last few decades (almost 80 on average).
This chart below (from ABS) shows how Australia’s older population is increasing at a higher rate than other age groups.
Growing demand for certain products
In the US, 88% of so called “youth” cars are actually purchased by middle-aged people. The situation is similar in Australia, yet we often see advertising for smartphones and sports cars, for instance, targeted towards age group of 18 to 35. There is a huge opportunity for business expansion here.
How should you market to the senior citizens?
While marketing to senior citizens, the common marketing strategies are not always useful. To appeal to seniors, a company must establish trust and a closer relationship with the customers. This demographic is usually loyal to the brands they love. So marketing to the elderly can be made a lot more effective by investing in customer relationship. This will eventually expand your consumer base.
Here are a few points to keep in mind:
1. Focus on your target group
This marketplace is diverse. 65+ Australians don’t view themselves as “older people” hence they are also interested in products that are usually targeted towards younger consumers.
Even among this demographic, the demand for products varies depending on income and education level. So before you start marketing, you obviously need to research about your target customers.
2. Select proper advertising media
Online marketing is the big thing now. For marketing to seniors online, you should mostly focus advertising on sites that are frequently visited by your target age group. According to a 2012 study by AIMIA, people aged over 65 spend more than 3 hours per day browsing the internet and they are responsible for 20% of Australia’s total internet traffic.
Email marketing may no longer be that much effective for the millennials, but it works very well for those in the older age bracket. According to ACMA, 76% of the older Australians use email regularly.
For advertising to senior citizens, consider traditional media, like newspaper, TV and radio too.
3. Keep your ads honest and simple
Clever advertisements don’t work as well for this market. While advertising for seniors, your ads should be clear and to the point rather than making varied and complex offers. Online ads for seniors must not be deceiving in any way.
4. Take a caring and personalised approach
The older generation loves to feel special, so show them your appreciation with extremely supportive customer care. Give them chance to interact with your sales people personally as opposed to a web-based or automated system.
Personalised services and promotional items for senior citizens will be hugely appreciated and win you loyal customers. Nowadays, it’s quite easy to show personalised ads online. Always give your customers the incentive to come back.
5. Keep a consistent brand style
It’s important to have a consistent style in your ads and brand image. Don’t frequently change the design of your website. Unlike the millennials, this generation seems to feel comfortable with familiar interfaces. Consider establishing dedicated brands for seniors to have decisive marketing advantage.
Marketing through the social media
It may not seem obvious, but Social Media Marketing is a great way to advertise to seniors and this is becoming the case more so as time goes on.
According to a recent Sensis Social Media Report in 2016, more than half of the 65+ population use social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and the average senior (65+) Australian uses social media 10.7 times per week. So social media marketing should be an easy way to reach these people.
Keep the following things in mind when using social networks for marketing to the elderly people:
1. Facebook is the top platform
There are over 3 million Facebook accounts in Australia that belong to people 65+. Facebook lets you choose target audience (age, location etc.) for your ads, so you can easily deliver ads to your intended audience.
2. Interacting with your customers is very important
Like we mentioned before, regularly replying to customer queries and having a steady flow of good reviews from real people are important for earning the trust of older customers. They love personalised replies and 7% of them follow favourite brands on social media.
3. Focus on your products rather than viral campaigns
In contrast to the younger generations, this demographic doesn’t respond well to the hype. If you are marketing for 65+, focus on clear-cut ads that describe the usability of the product, not its awesomeness (for example). 14% use social media to research products or services before buying.
Top sectors for marketing to senior Australians in 2017
So what are the Australian seniors looking to buy?
Market trends show that the following market sectors are performing well with 65+ Australians:
1. Health and pharmaceuticals
Seniors are more concerned about their health than ever before. On average, 15% look for health or medical information online (according to ACMA, based on information from July 2014 to June 2015).
In 2016, 14% of the senior Australians looked for travel related information on social media (Sensis report). In 2015, 5.36 million 50+ aged Australians travelled for their holidays (according to National Seniors).
The average age of travellers was 45 – 49 in 2002. In ten years (2012), the average age has reached to 50 – 54. Clearly travelling is getting more popular among older residents of Australia.
According to a study by Australian media company Macquarie, 30% of total travel expenditure comes from people aged 55 – 69.
3. Sports and recreation
Older people are more actively looking for recreational activity and taking part in sports like golf. According to Golf Australia, 9.5% golf players are aged 65 or over. Moreover, 60% of club members belong to 55+ age group.
With longer life expectancy, senior Australians are also interested in housing and real-estate. They want houses that are comfortable and come with a good community.
5. Other niches
Many older Australians (about 19%) do grocery shopping for their family members. Compared to younger populations, they spend more on entertainment and sometimes on luxury items.
The bottom line
High life expectancy and low birth rates have resulted in an ageing population. As Australia’s fertility rate falls to 10-year low, it’s clear that the older demographic will control a large portion of Australia’s economy going forward.
Under these new circumstances, the marketing strategy of companies – big or small – will invariably change, accounting for seniors that make up a large percentage of the wealth in the country.
Marketing to this demographic presents both challenges and opportunities, but the strategies discussed in this article can give you a foundation on which to build.