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Seniors load up shopping trolley

Many retirees are living out their dream of going abroad and living the good life, with more time and money at their disposal, reports Saurabh Turakhia.

business Updated: Jul 27, 2007 02:24 IST
Saurabh Turakhia

Sixty-two year old Xavier Lobo makes at least four vacation trips to Goa every year. When he worked as a manager in the foreign exchange division of ICICI Bank, he could make just one trip a year. And why just Goa, many retirees are living out their dream of going abroad and living the good life -- with more time and money at their disposal.

India has the world’s largest population of old people after China. With more than 40 per cent of urban Indian men continuing to work past the age of 60, the disposable income in the hands of the elderly now is more than ever before.

Devashish Das Gupta, the head of the marketing faculty at Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, has just completed a study on “Senior Citizens as Shoppers” between December 2006 and June 2007. It says, “Despite its impressive size, the ‘elderly’ market has received relatively little attention from marketers. Most marketers have long assumed that this market was not responsive or large enough to justify special attention. No specific products have been developed for the market with the exceptions of health products or products associated only with the elderly.”

The study quotes projections by Indiastat and Census 2001 to show that India’s 60-plus people will be 113 million by 2016 and make up 9 per cent of the population. It adds that the 50-69 segment is the most attractive among the elderly for marketers.

The Das Gupta study adds that immense scope lies in catering to the elderly in “daily needs products, grooming, hobby, excursions and other services, security, clothing, entertainment and housing”.

Another study by KSA Technopak in 2006, titled “India Consumer Trends”, which studied retirees (60 years plus) as a special segment said in comparison to other age groups, this group spends 15 per cent more on communication, 36 per cent more on furniture and fittings and 42 per cent more on vacations.

Amit Guru, assistant vice-president for business development at travel portal Travelguru, said: “We have seen a general increase in travel trend for the 60-plus age group. Most of it is for visits to families or children in other cities.”