Around the globe, aging consumers’ needs are not being fully met. This missed opportunity for retailers, manufacturers and service providers could prove costly, as 2 billion consumers will be 60 years or older by 2050, according to the World Health Organization. In any language, that’s 1 in 5 people, and there are regional differences that are important to consider when reaching this valuable consumer segment. Findings from Nielsen’s Global Aging Report shed light on the issues and concerns that affect aging consumers all around the world, and provide valuable insight into the areas of improvement necessary for sustained health and well-being as we enter the “golden years.”
Europe, despite being a region that includes nine of the world’s top 10 fastest-aging countries, is largely unprepared to meet the needs of an aging demographic for many products, services and store amenities. More than half of Europeans have trouble finding products that are easy to read (61%) and are clearly labeled with nutritional information (53%). Forty-six percent can’t locate foods that meet special dietary needs or are offered in smaller sized portions. Forty-five percent believe the stores they shop in are not equipped with aisles dedicated to aging-needs products, and more than half can’t find electric shopping carts (59%) or get help with grocery bags to the car (52%).
Older shoppers in Latin America don’t fare much better. Sizeable percentages of respondents were equally frustrated by the lack of product conveniences and retail facilities aimed at easing the shopping experience for aging consumers. More than half in the region have difficulty finding easy-to-read product labels (59%), understandable nutritional information (54%), smaller-sized portion packaging (54%) and easy-to-open product packages (51%). More than 4 in 10 Latin Americans believe retail stores do not dedicate aisles to aging-needs products (45%), provide handicapped check-out aisles (43%) or benches to sit down (49%).
In North America, retailers and product manufacturers are somewhat better prepared to meet the needs of aging consumers, but some consumers say they can do more. More than half of North American respondents say retailers fully meet aging consumer needs by providing foods for special dietary needs (52%), clearly labeled nutritional information (53%), and ample lighting (51%). Nearly half of respondents in the region, however, indicate that easy-to-read product labels (42%) and easy-to-open product packages (44%) are difficult to find.
In the Asia-Pacific and Middle East/Africa regions, responses for “fully meeting needs” is highest for easy-to-open/read product packaging/labels (both 54%), offering benches to sit down (29% and 25%, respectively), assistance with grocery bags (24% and 27%, respectively), providing easy-to-reach shelving (30% and 33%, respectively) and product promotions geared for smaller family needs (23% and 27%, respectively).
“As retailers and manufacturers clamor to create a point of differentiation for their products and services, they only need to listen to the loud call for help coming from consumers in all parts of the world,” said Todd Hale, senior vice president, Consumer & Shopper Insights, Nielsen. “Improvements such as using larger fonts on product labels and signage, arranging age-related products in one place and at arm’s length for easier accessibility, and offering friendly customer service can go a long way in building loyal patronage.”
The report also discusses:
For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Global Aging Report.
The findings in this survey are based on respondents with online access across 60 countries. While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective only on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration has not reached majority potential, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. Additionally, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.