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Retailers adapting to silver consumers

The growing population of senior consumers is driving changes from smaller retail store formats to home delivery services

Retailers adapting to silver consumers

Lawson stores in Japan have already begin making changes to suit older consumers

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The growing population of 'silver' consumers, or those over-65 year old, is driving changes in retail store formats and e-commerce surveys, according to a report by Fung Global Retailer & Technology.

The report ‘The Silver Series IV: retail configuration for seniors’ details some of the retail changes being made to suit retirees, including local, smaller-format stores and e-commerce services with home delivery options.

The world’s population of over-65s will increase from 8 per cent of the total population in 2015 to around 13 per cent in 2035. By that time, people aged over 65 will account for the largest demographic in Japan, South Korea, Western Europe, North American and China, though retailers are already adapting to their needs.

The report found that older consumers want more simplicity in packaging and labelling, high quality products, and are brand loyal consumers.

Using Japan as an example, the report shows how Lawson, 7/11 and FamilyMart convenience stores have already begun making those changes, with wider aisles, lower shelves and meal delivery services for seniors in areas with older populations.

Aeon Mall has developed the first shopping centre targeting mature consumers, called the ‘Grand Generation’, with free pick up and drop off services, and consultation services for finance and healthcare.

In terms of e-commerce, the report found that there are a growing portion of over-65s already using e-commerce for food and grocery shopping, with home delivery services increasingly popular. The challenge will be fore retailers to find the middle ground between serving the smaller, more frequent shipping orders of older consumers with the high cost of delivery.

“We also expect seniors to become a more important consumer segment for e-commerce that is based on home delivery. Online shopping is currently perceived as skewing toward younger consumers, but the convenience it provides through home delivery makes it well suited to the demands of retirees,” the report said. “Retirees are much less likely than the working-age population to find waiting for a delivery a barrier to online shopping.

“Retailers will likely find it more worthwhile to encourage occasional, large online shops of grocery staples rather than cater to smaller, more frequent online purchases.”

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