The Buyers: Senior Citizens, The Forgotten Consumer?

Shaping the future of retail is not a concept that shoots to the top of the list when the industry thinks of senior citizens.

When it comes to senior citizens, the retail industry typically has reached out to share discountswhat stocks to buy or alerting them to various scams.

SNL did a skit this year that specifically featured senior citizens and their interactions with Amazon’s Alexa.

While it was trying to perhaps poke fun at this older segment of the population, research shows that seniors are actually making purchases online. BigCommerce and Frost Investment Advisors’ research shows that while there are only 4 percent of Americans not regularly buying items online, seniors make up 28 percent of those that do participate in eCommerce, while Baby Boomers heading into their silver years make up 41 percent.

This falls in line with information shared by the National Retail Federation (NRF) just last year, which shared that Baby Boomers heading into their senior years are starting to change the game in terms of shopping habits. Since 2001, the U.S. Federal Reserve has shown that people between the ages of 65 to 74 have seen a 25 percent increase in their net income, whereas millennials have seen an 18 percent decrease.

What’s more is that the U.S. Census Bureau shows the amount of seniors in the world today is projected to double by the year 2060 from its current 47 million to over 94 million. The Center for Disease Control has also shared that these newly minted seniors are expected to live 30 years longer than the generation that came before them.

This seems like a group of consumers that’s too large for retailers to ignore.

By the year 2020, eMarketer is predicting the eCommerce arena to reach an astounding $27 trillion in profits. This double-digit increase, up from its $4 trillion profits in 2016, along with the growing senior citizen population, is likely information that retailers should be including in their future strategic yearly planning sessions.

In a recent survey by, it was revealed that while seniors are using the internet mostly for searching (90 percent), approximately 55 percent are participating in online shopping. Due to seniors avid use of the internet for online shopping, and the ease of using sites like Amazon, it may be time for the retail industry to alter its focus to capture not only the attention but the pocketbooks of this aging population.

In other consumer news this week, we’ve learned that consumer confidence about the economy is up by two points this June to 54 percent, according to research firm Prosper Insights and Analytics.

As to be expected, research from Mood Media’s “The State of Brick and Mortar 2017” shows that 60 percent of consumers despise waiting in long lines when making an in-store purchase. One way to help ease consumers standing in those lines, at least according to this research, is to play music. It found that 77 percent of consumers surveyed shared that listening to music while waiting in line makes the experience more enjoyable.

Bringing an ease to the in-store shopping experience continues its trend with JDA’s third annual Consumer Pulse Survey. It showed that while 75 percent of consumers prefer a quick shopping experience over a personalized trip, the buy online/pickup in-store offering has seen a 44 percent increase since 2015.

With the aging population’s penchant for online shopping and its group size increasing alongside the increasing desire for a swift shopping experience, it may be time for retailers to go back to the drawing board to learn the best way to secure those extra silver dollars.