Uncommon Sense: How to Win the Hearts and Carts of the Silver Generation

Uncommon Sense: How to Win the Hearts and Carts of the Silver Generation


Turning Silver into Retail Gold

Singapore is one of the “oldest” nations in Asia Pacific and the silver generation accounts for 40% of the nation’s grocery shopping, making it an extremely important segment for the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry for both manufacturers and retailers. In a recent Nielsen survey with from 300 Singaporeans above 55 years old, findings revealed that the shopping environments and CPG products are generally not designed with the elderly in mind, so several of their needs are not met. 

The silver generation faces a number of challenges when navigating the retail landscape in search for products and services that meet their specific needs. So what are the challenges and unmet needs of the mature consumers?

Unmet needs in products and the retail landscape. 

Product packaging and products which cater to specific elderly needs are areas which pose key challenges to many mature consumers. Taking precedence in those surveyed was the need for products with clearly labelled nutritional information (67%), while close to one in two (46%) respondents have concerns in finding personal care products that cater to their special needs. 44% of these elderly consumers have highlighted that local language on the product packaging is not readily available.

Retail environments are generally not “elderly-friendly”. 65% of the respondents have specified that they have difficulty in finding shopping aisles dedicated to aging-needs products, and 63% of them wished for more wheelchair-friendly facilities. 48% of the elderly consumers requested for a wide range of product categories to cater to their needs and promotional posters in local languages.

How to win the hearts and carts of the silver generation.

Innovate to win. Innovation opportunities abound within many product categories, and those which cater specifically to senior consumers’ unmet needs are most likely to succeed. Products that meet dietary guidelines for older adults and offer nutritional healthy options are well-received by senior grocery shoppers. Traditional formats such as bar soap and ground coffee, and ready-to-eat items, such as cakes and pastries were also favoured by the senior consumers.

When it comes to advertising, speak their language. Findings by Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience have shed insights on ways to communicate effectively to the silver generation in advertising messages. Focusing on positive messaging and using familiar settings were cited as fundamental factors in communicating to their mature brains. Using clean and clutter-free messaging will also help the mature brain navigate and recall advertising far better.   

Go farther with the shopping cart. Retailers which address the unmet needs of the silver generation and tailor their service offering to this growing and influential segment will win their loyalty and wallets. Retailers should also adopt the four Ps – People, Place, Promotion and Product, based on the desired needs to encourage a conducive shopping environment which appeals to the mature consumers.  

  • People – Improve attentiveness of staff
  • Place – Install benches in stores
  • Promotion – Offer promotions in local languages & for smaller families
  • Product – Meet demand for aging related products
  • Delivery and online shopping – Home delivery and online grocery shopping may further increase the basket size and spending among the elderly shoppers. 

There is no secret formula when it comes to innovating and catering to the silver generation. Addressing their unmet needs adequately will win the hearts and carts of this growing population and the opportunity is ripe for manufacturers and retailers to embrace what lies ahead.