Seniors in France: an unexpected source of growth
The near future of consumption in France relies on seniors
For many years now, brands and retailers have placed an emphasis on Millennials. To such an extent that they are forgetting another category of consumers, who also have great potential: Seniors. Big spenders, wanting to take advantage of their free time, are also steadily increasing in number, since the over 55s will represent 39% of the population in 2070, compared to 31% today*.
This is why Seniors constitute a real growth opportunity for both hypermarkets and supermarkets as well as other channels, in which they are already very present.
Seniors, the Super Consumers
Nowadays, Seniors are driving the growth of the food & drinks market. This is even more true for the over 65s, who are the only ones to have increased their consumption volume (1170 items purchased per year and household in 2017 compared to 1152 in 2001). Free from expenses such as mortgages and having a substantial budget, they are less hesitant about spending (€4,419 in FMCG per year for households where the person responsible for purchases is 55 and over, 5% more than younger households).
Seniors are therefore responsible for 1 in 2 purchases in modern trade and represent 41% of spending on FMCG and Self-service Fresh-food. 54% of their spending is done at Hypermarkets and Supermarkets. They offer them a choice, the possibility of doing their shopping with a car, but also for many of them, a genuine social link and an opportunity to go out. Therefore, they prefer to buy little but often. This is a windfall for these shops, which have trouble attracting and retaining new customers.
Seniors also make up a particularly informed section of the population. They look after their health and are increasingly aware of successive food scandals; they pay more attention to the quality and origin of their purchases. They turn towards alternative channels (18% of their spending and 1/4 of their purchases) and they favour traditional fresh products (57% of spending relates to traditional fresh products).
However, the food & drinks market is not the only one to benefit from Senior spending. In fact, the clothing market has only grown this year thanks to the over 50s.
What is a senior?
There are several definitions, depending on whether it concerns a professional, medical or social environment.
For Kantar Worldpanel, it is someone aged 55 and over. In fact, their experts observe a split in terms of purchasing behaviour from this age. It differs before and after 55 years old.
The “senior connection”
Forget what you’ve heard! Seniors have well and truly entered the digital revolution. Seniors are equipped to keep in contact with their relatives: 93% of those aged 55 and over have a laptop, 51% have a smartphone, 85% have a computer and 39% a tablet.
E-commerce is also part of this evolution: 47% of the over 65s purchase goods (not services) over the Internet. Finally, almost half (46%) are Facebook users.
Another feature of Seniors is their passion for eating out, which they are doing more and more often. Although this only represents 15.7% of their total consumption (vs the French average of 27.4%), they are in the process of closing the gap and their opportunities for eating out are increasing at a more sustained rate than the average: +17% vs +12%.
In terms of consumption, age is not the only thing that defines Seniors. We have identified four senior profiles, each of them with different aspirations, channel affinities and lifestyles.
The “Healthy Eaters” (13%)
- The biggest spenders
- Aware of product quality, their ingredients, their origins and their impact on the environment
- They stand out due to their BIO/Vegetable/Gluten-free/Milk alternative/Fruit and Vegetable purchases
- And the fact that they visit specialist shops
The “Conservatives” (26%)
- The oldest group
- Search for proximity and social bonding through shopping
- An under-representation of small businesses
- Big consumers of Traditional Fresh Product
- Confidence in big-name brands
The “Hyper and Supermarket Generations” (41%)
- Big purchasers in these channels
- Very rarely use specialist shops
- The biggest Promo purchasers
- Sensitive to advertising, love to visit shopping centres
- Mainly FMCG and packaged fresh food purchases
The “Disinvested” (19%)
- Very small spenders and infrequent purchases
- Almost all their purchases in Hyper and Supermarkets and own brand stores
- A set of very limited brands
- Price as a determining criteria
- Little interest in consumption
* INSEE - Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques