Asian economies and cultures are rapidly changing with time, as are its consumers. In Mintel’s recent thought piece, The Generation Game: Catering to Asia’s Future Life Stages, we identify the eight life stages consumers are currently navigating and share recommendations for how companies can cater to these evolving consumer needs.

Here, we discuss two life stages related to the topics of catering to the older generation of Asian consumers: ‘Once the birds have flown’ and ‘Aging gracefully’.

Once the birds have flown

The older generation of Asians with children who are no longer financially dependent on them belong to a group of consumers often ignored by companies. In fact, they are among the fastest growing demographic group in the region, with some still in the workforce.

These older employed consumers are facing the challenges of keeping up with rapidly changing workplace demands, and ensuring that they remain relevant in today’s increasingly automated and digitised workplace. Though equipped with the advantage of having more work experience and accumulated savings, older consumers in the workforce aren’t any more settled than their younger peers in this day and age.

This is why there is a need for companies to come up with more products and services that are suited to the lifestyles of working older consumers. Most importantly, companies need to be more aware of this group of consumers and adapt with them as they navigate the rapidly changing societies they live in.

According to Mintel’s Marketing to the Over-55s China 2017 report, Chinese consumers aged 55-74 want to be entertained, socialise with friends, and spend more time travelling—more so than shopping. Meanwhile in Thailand, new research from Mintel reveals that 42% of urban Thai consumers aged 55 and above say that having an active social life is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. What they want are valuable and memorable experiences, probably because they already have most of the tangible things that they want or need.

Aging gracefully

As Asia gets older, employers, marketers, institutions, educators and governments will have to rethink the entire basis of the region’s economic future. Asia’s rapidly aging population will see an impact on the existing balance in elderly dependence, need for extra healthcare and elderly care services, and challenges for Asian societies and their economies. That said, with good planning, these challenges can create new opportunities for companies with presence in the region.

As consumers get older, mobility, deteriorating eyesight, memory loss and frailty can become issues for them. Services and products that help with these therefore can become opportunities for companies to find a lucrative niche. Even in the workplace, more efficient office design, larger screens with bigger fonts, time management and calendar systems, and ergonomic furniture can all make the working space as suitable for older workers as younger ones.

Technology is a clear route to making life easier for, and marketing to, seniors. Mintel research indicates that while older consumers in Asia are switching to mobile communications primarily to stay in touch with friends and family, they are also warming up to the idea of mobile applications and online shopping.

Overall, there is huge scope to fulfil the demand for products and services suited to the many needs of elderly people in Asia, including home care, transport, health and wellness, travel and tourism, social media and communication.

Download your free copy of Mintel’s ‘The Generation Game: Catering to Asia’s Future Life Stages’ thought piece here.

Matthew is Mintel’s Director of Research for Asia-Pacific. He looks at the development of China’s consumer lifestyles and the impact on Chinese people and society. Having previously co-founded research company Access Asia, Matthew has worked exhaustively on trying to make sense of the myriad of contradictions in China’s economics and statistics on consumer markets across China.

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