Five changes influencing consumer’s behavior
- Senior-specific changes are sources of demand

Important to understand the five specific changes of seniors

Consumption is caused by change of consumer’s behavior. And seniors have “senior-specific” changes which young people do not have. In order to understand exactly what the senior consumer behaviors are, it is important to understand what specific changes are occurring among seniors and why those changes are happening.

The following five changes significantly affect the consuming behaviors of seniors (Fig. 5-1). First is "age-related physical changes in the body". As we age, our physical functions decrease, which is manifested in the increasing prevalence of conditions such as presbyopia, deafness, aching knees, forgetfulness, etc. Such dysfunctions are a major factor in decision making when seniors buy something.

Fig. 5-1: Five changes influencing senior consumer’s behavior

Source: Murata Associates

Second is the "change in stage of life". In the case of older males, these changes include relocation, retirement, re-employment, and serious illness, paying off the mortgage and, in some cases, divorce. In the case of older female, additional important factor is to complete child-raising.

A several years ago, "2007 problem" had become hot issue. Many private and public believed a large number of Baby Boomers reached 60, used to be typical age of retirement, and a big change was expected to occur. But reality was that only a few changes happened. This is because the majority of female Baby Boomers has stopped working and became housewives after their marriage. Besides, majority of male Baby Boomers still continue to work because they need to work to make daily living or to save money until they can get public pension.

Third is the "change in family life stages". Household disposable income varies drastically depending on children's entering college entering, graduation, and marriage. In addition, boomers often have older parents from the 80s to 90s. Consumer’s behavior will change significantly depending on the state of their parents – whether they are living independently or need nursing care.

Although the number of Baby Boomers is large, their consuming behaviors are not always the same

Fourth is the "change of preference." For example, Baby Boomers are called "Beatles generation" or "Zenkyotou generation (campus activism generation)". "Memory Products" or "nostalgic consumption" are characteristic of marketing efforts that are intended to appeal to the tastes of this generation. However, generation-specific preference is only one factor in determining consumer behavior. Moreover, this preference is not necessarily the same over a lifetime. Tastes change as time goes by. These changes may come from changes in life stage or from inner maturity.

Fifth is the "time of change" or “fashion”. This can be described as "change of trend" or "change in living environment". Korean Actor/Actress Boom we observed in Japan in a few years ago was driven by Japanese 40-60’s women.

Of course, there are also more than just these five factors affecting consumer behavior. But even focusing on these five, we can see that seniors’ consumer behavior is extremely diverse. Compared with teenagers, the differences are obvious. In this way, highly variable factors affect the decision-making process of the senior consumer behaviors.