Jewelry for the Elderly: Another Potential Niche Market
In the next 40 years, around one in five of the global population will be over 65 years old. Most of them will be in European countries, such as Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy, as well as in Asian countries like China, Singapore and especially Japan, which has already become an aging society since 2010. Consumers in these countries also have high purchasing power. In 2014, the average income per person in six countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, China, Singapore and Japan, were almost four times higher than the average income of the global population.
With affluent consumers and a tendency towards aging society in many countries, new business opportunities arise in response to the elderly’s demand, including health-related products, food, recreations, clothing, technology and cosmetics. However, it seems that the senior market is not getting much attention in the jewelry industry in spite of its lower price sensitivity.
Trends in Jewelry for the Elderly
In the past, older women were expected to tone down their clothing style in line with their increasing age, but now the baby boomers are doing exactly the opposite to avoid being considered as “old people”. Therefore, this market needs to be approached with carefulness and subtlety. As the experts of 60’s fashion, the baby boomers should be assured that their clothing style has not been ravaged by time. They are also catching up with new technology. According to a study by Nielsen, American consumers aged 55-64 are the largest group of e-commerce shoppers. In short, jewelry and technology are now familiar aspects in their lives.
High-Tech Jewelry for the Elder’s Safety After gaining popularity in teenagers and working adults, wearable technology can now penetrate the senior market. Cuff, a high-tech jewelry company, has launched a product line which features safety functions for the elderly, with the help of small CuffLinc chips which are embedded in jewelry pieces like bangles and necklaces. This chip can sync with a mobile application. If the wearer needs help, he/she only have to press at the CuffLinc, and then a warning signal, including the wearer’s location, will be sent immediately to a family member. The chip is designed to work continuously without battery charging for one year. Another elderly-focused product, the Kernel of Life, is a medical gadget with attractive jewelry-like design. It enables the elderly to have their own blood test, saliva test, breath test and heart rate measurement. The results will then be sent via Bluetooth to medical experts for further analysis.
According to the United Nations, in the next 35 years, 33% of the population in developed countries will be over 60 years old. These senior citizens have an increasing tendency to connect with social media. A marketing research conducted by Nielsen has found that the European elderly are growing more familiar with internet, smartphone and social media. Consumers aged over 40 show interest in/make purchases of clothing products online at the highest rate of 25%, followed by jewelry at 22%. This same group of consumers also creates the highest ad click rate at 68%. Therefore, online banner is another interesting option for jewelers to reach the elderly market, where complete and easy-to-read information, as well as eye-catching images, are indispensable.
Where Are the Elderly?
Prolonged life expectancy due to developments in health system, combined with declining birth rates in many countries, leads to an increasingly higher proportion of senior citizen compared to the overall population. This is a global phenomenon, with 56% of elderly population living in Asian countries while 20% are in Europe. According to Euromonitor’s study on the target group of elderly-related products, it is found that Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Australia and Spain have high proportions of senior consumers, and also with high purchasing power.
Japan is the first country to be considered as an aging society, with the highest percentage of elderly people at 32% of the overall population. The 60-69 years old is the most interesting group with 18 million people or around 14% of the population. These people have modern lifestyle, capability to work, access to technology, and they still maintain good physicality and are actively socialized. Moreover, their purchasing power is considerably high: they spend over 500,000 million yen per year on consumer products for the elderly. As a potential market for Thai jewelers, this consumer group looks for jewelry which is highly wearable, while offers good quality and design in reasonable price.
Germany has the second largest number of senior population after Japan, with people over 60 years of age at around 27% of the overall population. The elderly gain their financial security from the old age pension program. Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion has been an exhibitor in Die 66, the trade fair for elderly people, for 11 consecutive years. The fair is held twice a year in Leipzig and Munich. German elderly consumers are not bargain hunters; they are willing to pay more for quality goods.
The United States is ranked 39th from 201 countries around the world regarding the percentage of senior population, which accounts for around 20%. The US national income per capita is five times higher than the average global rate, and its baby boomer generation is the largest group of population in the country, generating as much as 67% of the total consumption. However, according to a study by Assaf Wand, a manufacturer of designer products for the senior market, only 5% of marketing budget is invested in this consumer group. It is also found that the elderly market is ready to spend their money on beautiful designs that resonate with them.
Apart from the three countries above, there are also many countries which should receive much attention due to their consistently increasing number of senior population; for example European countries including Sweden, Finland and Italy, and Asian countries like China. Only those who recognize the opportunity and readily adapt to the emerging consumption trend will be able to win the heart of this demanding group of consumers.
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