China Daily Global Edition (USA)
Reports indicate change in trends
China’s seniors are adopting a more consumerist attitude and changing their lifestyles, according to reports showing that the volume of purchases made by older people is constantly growing.
“Seniors used to have a frugal consumption philosophy. Now, though, they tend to purchase more for a happier life,” said a report released by e-commerce giant JD in 2019.
The Senior Internet Consumption Trend Report said consumption trends among seniors have become increasingly youthful and fashionable.
“To achieve psychological compensation (for spending little in earlier life), seniors are adopting some consumption concepts of young people. For example, they pay more attention to displays of consumer goods, including makeup and clothing,” the report said.
Moreover, older people have stronger consumption demands in terms of social activities.
“As more seniors are living in ‘empty nests’ (after their children leave home), they have a growing demand for closer connections and use a wide range of social media,” the report said.
It added that older people are adopting a wider range of intellectual and cultural interests, leading to greater consumption of digital devices.
Seniors’ online consumer groups have gradually spread from the more developed eastern coastal areas to the underdeveloped inland northwestern areas.
In May, the National Statistics Bureau said the country is home to about 264 million people age 60 and older, accounting for 18.7 percent of the population, and the aging population is growing.
Last year, AgeClub, a consultancy in Beijing and Wuhan, Hubei province, that focuses on sectors that serve seniors, released the results of a 2019 survey aimed at providing information for startups targeting the senior market.
Having interviewed hundreds of people age 50 and older in first-tier cities, the survey found that the internet has widened seniors’ social circles and guides their purchases.
More than half those surveyed said they spent 3,000 yuan ($464) a year on clothing. They purchased expensive suits mainly for important ceremonies, including their child’s wedding or anniversaries, the survey said.
On average, they spent 10,000 yuan a year on leisure travel, which triggered greater demand for clothing and accessories. For example, each active senior female user of Taobao, the internet retail giant, bought five silk scarves per year to wear in travel photos.
Respondents also said they were comfortable with spending as much as 20,000 yuan on a coat. Most made their purchases online, and less than half visited shopping malls. They shopped at least five times per season, the survey said.
“They value quality a lot. If they find quality-related problems at a certain store, they will never buy items there again,” it added.
When it came to social activities, good taste in clothes was not enough. Artistic skills were necessary, too. Seniors’ favorite classes were singing, dancing, learning to play an instrument and drawing, it said.
In small cities, however, seniors spent more money on health products and food than their urban counterparts. Only 56 percent shopped regularly.
Nearly all of them enjoyed watching TV during their leisure time. Other indoor pastimes included tending to plants and keeping pets, while outdoor activities included exercising in parks. They rarely visited friends or attended parties, the survey said.