According to China’s demographic data, in 2020, 18.7% of the population was aged 60 or more, which represents 260 million people. Specialists estimate that in 2030, this figure will reach 317 million people.
From this data, we can see that, overall, China’s elderly population is growing at a steady pace, and the country has become home to the largest elderly population in the world. The Chinese government is constantly issuing new programs to encourage and develop industries related to the elderly.
It is fair to say that this generation is becoming the new boon for international companies.
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1. Trends in China’s Elderly Care Industry
Many sectors of the economy are, at least in part, geared towards the elderly, such as clothing, food, housing, transportation or entertainment. However, the health sector is the most important one for this generation, and the one that is becoming increasingly diversified.
The size of this market reached 7.7 trillion yuan in 2020, an increase of 28.1% in one year. According to the “White Paper on the Development of China’s Elderly Industry” of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, this market is expected to reach 13 trillion yuan by 2030.
Judging from the current consumption structure of Chinese elderly, 80% of this generation’s spending is related to food and health. This means that the current distribution of this market is relatively even, and there are still many opportunities to be seized.
2. Product segmentation for seniors
The healthcare market for the elderly
This market refers in particular to drugs and medical devices for the elderly. It may also include fitness equipment, rehabilitation equipment, convalescence equipment, patient services, etc.
The market for specialized products for the elderly
These include canes, anti-skid equipment, magnifiers, hearing aids, crutches, wheelchairs, adult diapers, lift beds, alarms, etc.
The food market for the elderly
The diet of the elderly in China has become a priority, with a focus on nutrition and health while ensuring convenience.
In recent years, in the Chinese senior food market, many products have been subject to various negative reviews, such as exaggerated product effectiveness, too high prices, or excessive packaging.
Brands must therefore develop foods that take into account the dentition of the elderly and especially their nutritional needs. The ideal food must meet the requirements of this generation in terms of aesthetics, taste, and nutritional intake. For example, dairy products for the elderly, easy-to-chew snacks, convenience foods or wine are adapted to their needs. R&D for these products should focus on food properties, texture, sensory composition, taste and nutritional intake.
3. The elderly in China and their relationship with the Internet
According to the China Internet Information Center, the number of Internet users aged 60 and over in the country was 119 million in 2021. 51% of these Internet users spend an average of more than 4 hours online per day (the average daily time of Internet users nationwide is 3.74 hours). Moreover, 99.5% of them use their smartphone to access the Internet.
The development of the Internet has made it easier for seniors to choose content that is relevant to their interests. Social entertainment is necessary for this generation that has a lot of free time and few social interactions.
4. Analysis of the consumer base for senior products in China
The huge opportunity of the Silver Economy also lies in “targeted consumption”. More and more young people are willing to sacrifice for their elders. They are generally more willing to spend money on gifts for their family, and tend to prefer imported products with high quality and good reputation.
Since the Internet usage habits of these two consumer groups are very different, we will analyze each of them separately.
The Chinese senior community: WeChat
WeChat is the most widely used social network in China. Whether it’s colleagues, friends, clients, relatives or neighbors, the easiest and most common way to communicate is via WeChat. That’s why more and more seniors in China are now using this app, and for some, it’s even the only mobile app they use.
WeChat’s powerful and comprehensive features are enough to meet their online needs: chatting in groups, reading news, watching videos, communicating with family, shopping and even paying utility bills.
So for these brands aimed at this audience, using WeChat for promotion is an essential and important step. In the WeChat ecosystem, the first thing Western brands need to do is to establish an official public number of their own.
The benefits of WeChat:
- Many features: the ability to carry out a variety of marketing activities such as new product launches, customer service, sales, etc.
- Increased trust: WeChat can complete the authentication of brands, which is an important trust factor for consumers.
- Easy to distribute: older people in China are used to sharing content in group chats, which is beneficial for these brands.
- Increase user loyalty: effective interaction with users can increase the repurchase rate.
The Chinese youth community: Little Red Book and TikTok
To target young people, the second largest consumer group for senior products, brands need to change their marketing positioning. This generation is often unable to make an immediate decision before buying products from their parents. They have to think long and hard about it.
In this case, having a presence on Little Red Book, a sharing platform for young people, is a great advantage. Among other things, the platform allows you to post quality photo and/or video content and recommendations from KOLs/KOCs.
Compared to Little Red Book, where users search for a specific purpose, Douyin (the Chinese TikTok) is more suitable for brands to infuse potential consumers with ideas in their daily lives, combining products, love and gratitude in an entertaining environment, to achieve the goal of brand promotion.
Faced with such an opportunity, brands in the Silver Economy industry must then meet the growing demand of the elderly for a better quality of life, while also targeting younger consumers. The new future of this industry has unlimited potential.
If you want to know more about the Silver Economy in China, contact STAiiRS!
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