Sunshine seniors: 64% of Chinese seniors think it’s easy to make new friends

June 12, 2019

Things are looking bright for China’s seniors who are showing strong signs of optimism and independence, with loneliness affecting only a handful.

Indeed, latest research from the world’s leading market intelligence agency Mintel reveals that nearly two thirds (64%) of urban Chinese senior respondents aged 55-74* think that it is easy to make new friends later in life, while only 13% agree that they often feel lonely. This is in contrast to the 57% of Chinese university students who say they suffer from a high or medium degree of stress due to loneliness, according to Mintel research.

Meanwhile, seniors in China possess strong family ties as the majority of those aged 55-74 say that they are very close to their partner (91%) and kids (92%). Seniors are also viewing themselves as trendy; almost half (47%) agree that they have a lot in common with younger generations, while a quarter (25%) say that they like to follow the latest trends.

Scarlett Zhao, Associate Research Analyst, Mintel China Reports, said:

“Our research shows that Chinese seniors are generally optimistic, independent and satisfied with their current life situation. Loneliness does not seem to be much of a concern for them especially as the majority don’t see age as a barrier to socialising or building their social network—as well, most of them hold close relationships with their family. Seniors in China are also seeing themselves on par with the younger generations and are taking steps to follow the latest trends. All these indicate opportunities for companies and brands to create senior-focused offline social events to attract these silver consumers. Companies and brands should find creative ways to make routine activities more exciting in order to resonate with seniors; for example, grocery retailers may see success through hosting monthly get-together sessions where nutritionists teach seniors about health-related issues.”

Health is the top concern

Chinese seniors have increasing health awareness and take pride in being healthy for their age. Mintel research shows that 74% of seniors aged 55-74 have done a health check in the past year*; out of which 55% have had a full body check-up at the hospital.

As a result of being health conscious, 41% of Chinese seniors say they would like to spend more on health-related products (eg health supplements, healthcare devices). This is especially the case for seniors in their 60s; 44% of seniors aged 60-64 and 50% of those aged 65-69 are willing to pay extra money on such products.

When it comes to shopping attitudes, three in four Chinese seniors, respectively, like to rely on their past experiences when making purchase decisions (74%) and are interested in gathering more information about products (73%).

“Seniors in China today have increasing health awareness and would like to have better control over their health status, like being able to detect health issues more in advance. This is especially so among seniors in their 60s as they may be facing more health issues and, hence, are paying more attention to maintaining their health. This provides an opportunity for companies to introduce devices and wearables with features including monitoring key health indicators—a concept with the potential to help seniors take better control of their health. For example, wearables could send reminders to seniors to take their medication on time, as well as send alerts to their children to help them keep track of their parent’s health.

“Seeing how seniors are so prudent when it comes to their purchase behaviours, brands do need to effectively communicate and demonstrate the actual benefits of health devices and wearables, especially as they come at a high cost. For instance, they can start by focusing on functional benefits that appeal to seniors, as well as showcase how having such devices goes beyond information that is simply ‘nice to have’.” Scarlett continued.

Senior travel market on the rise

With their more flexible schedules, it seems the senior travel industry holds the potential to take flight. According to Mintel research, one third (33%) of Chinese seniors have travelled in the past year*. This is skewed towards tier one city dwellers (48%) and those with high household income (45%).

Looking ahead, as many as one in three (32%) seniors plan to spend more money on travelling in the next year. At the same time, they are also very likely to sacrifice travel opportunities in order to help take care of their grandchildren. Mintel research reveals that nearly half (47%) of overall seniors have helped to take care of their grandchildren, with the number rising to 57% of those aged 60-64.

“Seniors have more flexible schedules and opportunities to enjoy their retirement. Travel agencies and platforms should provide more differentiated travel packages for over-55s, such as travel itineraries that are customised to target different age ranges or physical conditions. In addition, more opportunities for socialising can be added to travel itineraries as Chinese seniors are open to making new friends. Finally, multigenerational vacations are becoming more popular in China. Family vacations are mutually beneficial as young parents may be able to take advantage of having some time for themselves while seniors can enjoy quality time with the family. This will especially appeal to seniors who have assumed their roles as babysitters and sacrificed their personal time to look after their grandchildren.” Scarlett concluded.

*According to a Mintel survey of 800 seniors aged 55-74 in China, November 2018

Press review copies of Mintel’s Marketing to Over-55s China 2019 Report and interviews with Scarlett Zhao, Associate Research Analyst, Mintel China Reports, are available on request from the Mintel Press Office.

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