Carol Wong-Li
Carol Wong-Li is Associate Director, Lifestyles and Leisure for Mintel. Carol researches and writes reports on the Canadian lifestyle and leisure industries.

We’re all familiar with the game “two truths and a lie”, an exercise often used as a way for people to get to know each other better in group training sessions. Let’s apply this to a consumer group that’s often less talked about: Seniors. Statistics Canada defines the Seniors segment as those aged 65 or older. Let’s begin!

Which one would you wager is the lie?

  • Seniors have more free time on their hands than average.
  • Life satisfaction is not linked to household income for seniors.
  • Seniors feel too old to learn to use new tech products.

All set? Let’s see how well you do.

Seniors have more free time on their hands than average – True

Despite the vast majority of seniors that are retired, nearly two-thirds of seniors feel their days are busy, lagging only slightly behind the general population, according to Mintel research on senior lifestyles in Canada.

Seniors’ definition of ‘busy’ differs from that of younger consumers. Seniors’ schedules are impacted less by external restrictions such as work schedules, leaving them a greater degree of control and flexibility to focus more on their personal interests and hobbies.

Life satisfaction is not linked to household income – True

With the majority being retired, seniors skew towards a lower household income than average. Yet, seniors are more likely than average to report their financial situation as healthy. Statistics Canada reports that life satisfaction is better connected to their ability to remain financially self-sufficient in their retirement.

Confidence in their financial situation combined with the luxury of time means more opportunities for seniors to explore, participate and spend on activities and experiences they enjoy.

Seniors feel too old to learn to use new tech products – Lie

Seniors have a reputation of being uninterested in tech. However, this is simply not true. While adoption does lag behind the overall population, usage patterns of platforms and devices are similar to the general population. Mintel research on senior lifestyles in Canada shows the majority of seniors do not feel too old to learn new technology.

Technology simply plays a different role for seniors than younger consumers. Where the notion of time-saving convenience is a key draw for young consumers, convenience as it relates to functionality (e.g. health management, staying in touch with family, etc.) will be the primary draw for consumers over the age of 65.

What we think

Seniors are not fading away as passive, unengaged consumers. Instead, they are the population where the majority does not feel too old to follow fashion-trends or make new friends. Given that seniors are the fastest growing segment of the population, it is clear they are becoming an increasingly important segment to be paying attention to. Marketers will benefit by breaking free of past images and embracing the new crop of seniors who are bucking stereotypes and following their passions.