Marketers see the value of consumers in their golden years

Consumer Reports News: October 31, 2011 03:23 PM

Companies often overlook older consumers and target their products and marketing to young, hip customers. But that’s changing in Asia, where large populations of older people live. Ad Age reports that companies are tweaking products and promotions to appeal to the 50-plus set, and the trend may spread west soon.

LG’s four-door refrigerators and canister vacuums that follow users, rather than being dragged along, are some of the products targeting older Asians. While the younger set may appreciate their styling and innovation, convenience and safety are being touted to older consumers. Four-door refrigerators, which combine a double-door fridge with two drawers below, require less stooping when both drawers are freezers and ice cream and other favorites are stored in the upper one. Several four-door models we’ve tested are on our recommended list of refrigerators, including the $2,600 Samsung RF4287HA.

Japan is the breeding ground for some of these innovations since nearly a quarter of the population is over 65 years old, according to Ad Age. Toyota has introduced swiveling seats, making it easier to get in and out of vehicles, and Panasonic has developed a hair-washing robot that shampoos and massages the head, based on a 3-D scan. It looks like companies can mine the silver and still strike gold with the young.

Kimberly Janeway

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