Why Brands Can’t Ignore China’s ‘Silver Generation’

With a growing focus on young Chinese consumers and rapidly changing digital technology, many mainstream marketing and communications efforts ignore China’s roughly 150 million senior citizens. A recent episode of Thoughtful China notes that this is a big mistake, since this group has a combined annual income of around 300-400 billion RMB. In addition, older Chinese citizens have a major influence over the spending habits of their children and grandchildren on big-ticket items such as cars, property, travel, and education.

“I think that this is one of the biggest marketing opportunities of the 21st century,” says JWT Asia-Pacific CEO Tom Doctoroff in the video interview on the potential for reaching China’s older generation.

According to him, the “senior” categorization starts at about age 50 and older in China. Despite being known for their emphasis on saving rather than buying, members of of this group “represent an increasingly large amount of spending power,” he says. “Older people are very thrifty; very cautious in terms of unlocking their savings because they still have a relatively protective view of the world” and “are perpetually saving for a rainy day.” Marketing products to this group in a way that meets their own aspirations and desires, however, can have big benefits down the road for brands.

Watch the video above for more information on what brands are missing and what they need to do to resonate with this important consumer segment.

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