Earlier this year I wrote about how the looming “silver tsunami”–a massive upcoming shift in demographics as millions of baby boomers reach retirement age — could potentially put many out of work as older business owners leave their businesses for retirement without a succession plan. But there’s a bright side to this trend: a new class of shoppers … and opportunities.
That’s because a great many of those 78 million baby boomers who are turning 65 and beyond over the next 12 years will have money to spend. Research shows that spending by “senior” households has increased by almost seven percent last year compared to 2015 and that pretax income for households with members over 65 has increased more than those younger. Already, smart retailers are taking note — and action.
For example, department store Kohl’s, according to this Philadelphia Inquirer report, offers a weekly 15 percent discount to customers over the age of 60. Best Buy is testing a program where a sensor-based notification service connects caregivers and families using smart home technology installed by its Geek Squad. Boscov’s, a department store with 50 locations throughout the eastern United States, recently launched a hearing aid division to cater to its senior customers.
Other retailers — big and small — are responding to the “silver tsunami” trend and considering things like lowering shelves for easier reach, adding help buttons throughout their store and creating wider aisles for people with canes or wheelchairs.
“This demographic should be important to retailers, as there is a gap between the scale of the senior consumer population’s purchasing power and the current offerings in the retail sector that are more geared toward younger shoppers,” an industry analyst told the Inquirer.