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What "Senior" Groups Are You Targeting?

Historically, consumer goods companies have targeted 18-49 age group. Television shows, magazines, blogs, and other media outlets followed the same path. Now we see there is much more variety in product and service offerings dedicated to the senior market. Companies have learned that these additions can significantly increase their bottom lines.

The baby boomer population is ready to buy. However, the question remains – what are they buying? Ken Dychwald, Ph.D. noted some diverse statistics in his book, Age Wave. The maturing consumer markets:

  • Control more than 70% of the total net worth of American households
  • Purchase 80% of all luxury travel
  • Purchase approximately 25% of all alcoholic beverages
  • Are not fanatically loyal to brands
  • Spend more on health and personal care products than any other age
  • Spend more per person in the grocery store than any other age group
  • Watch television more than any other age group

Companies are constantly looking at buying trends to help point them to the ideal “sale.” Seniors happen to have the limelight now due to the generational population surge. However, the term “senior” has lumped many age groups together, and companies have generalized their marketing campaigns to be a one-size-fits-all message. But the reality is that this large group called “seniors” has several sub-sets. According to the Esri® Tapestry™ Segmentation system, there are 9 different lifestyle segments: (

  • Prosperous Empty Nesters: Active, affluent married couples with no children at home, transitioning from child-rearing to retirement; found throughout the United States, with many located on each of the coasts
  • Silver and Gold: Wealthy, educated seniors retired from professional occupations, half of whose households consist of married couples who’ve never had children; more than 60% located in the South, mainly in Florida, and 25% in the West, primarily in California and Arizona
  • Rustbelt Retirees: Married couples, with no children, or singles content to stay put in Rustbelt industrial cities; 67% located in the Northeast and Midwest
  • Retirement Communities: Older, educated singles who live alone in multiunit buildings or assisted living facilities; found mostly in cities scattered around the United States
  • The Elders: Retirees in senior communities, primarily in Florida, Arizona, and California
  • Senior Sun Seekers: Fast-growing market of retired or soon-to-retire residents in the South and West, especially in Florida
  • Heartland Communities: Small-town neighborhoods with a country lifestyle in the Midwest and South
  • Simple Living: Lower-income seniors who rent in U.S. urban outskirts or suburbs
  • Social Security Set: Seniors subsisting on very low fixed incomes in low-rent apartments in high‐rise buildings in large cities throughout the U.S.

So, what does this mean for Senior Living providers? Knowing your ideal target is crucial for success. Setting your communities apart from the others is even more necessary as the market becomes further occupied. People have more choices than ever. By adjusting your messaging to provide personalized offerings to the correct target sub-set within the senior population, you set yourself ahead of the pack.

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