There is a growing number of older and affluent people in Thailand and PHD’s Chaivut Eiamvuthikorn explains what brands should do when marketing to this lucrative market segment and their specific needs.
The APAC region is witnessing a significant demographic shift with the emergence of the silver generation: individuals aged 60 and above. By 2050, this group is projected to reach 2.2 billion people, accounting for 25% of the global population (The Silver Economy in Asia-Pacific: Opportunities and Challenges for Businesses. McKinsey & Company. 2020).
With a 3.5% annual growth rate and an average life expectancy of 76 years, they enjoy greater affluence and thus present substantial market opportunities. Sectors like healthcare, travel and financial services stand to benefit from this growth, with projected market value reaching US$20 trillion by 2050 (The Global Silver Market: A $20 Trillion Opportunity. Boston Consulting Group. 2019).
The aging population in Thailand
Thailand, akin to many APAC countries, is witnessing a rapid surge in its aging population, propelled by advances in healthcare, medical technology and a decline in birth rates. As a result, the country is experiencing a remarkable increase in the number of elderly individuals, demanding a focused approach to address their distinctive needs and preferences.
By 2030, Thailand's population aged 60 and above is anticipated to soar to 20 million, accounting for an estimated 20% of the total population ("The Aging Population in Thailand", World Bank, 2022). With an average life expectancy of 75 years, exceeding the global average, Thailand's silver generation is also more affluent than preceding generations, boasting an average household income of US$15,000 per year, surpassing the national average.
The increasing presence of the silver generation within Thailand's relatively large families (43% of total 22 million households) has significant socio-economic implications for the country.
Research from Wunderman Thompson Thailand's Forgotten Shopper 2021 reveals that the silver generation remains open to exploring new challenges and embracing novel products and services. PHD Datalab also shows that with a strong online presence, accessing the internet via mobile (98%) and favouring Facebook (90%) as their primary social media platform, digital channels play a vital role in reaching this demographic (PHD Thailand Data & Analytic department resourced by third party partners such as Nielsen’s, GWI, Google, Meta, etc).
They also heavily consume video content, with traditional channels like television (89%) and YouTube (74%) being prominent choices. However, they are not as focused when it comes to music streaming.
In terms of interests, they prioritise news and current affairs (66%), followed by TV shows (58%), and personal healthcare (56%). Additionally, home and garden (71%), travel and accommodation (69%), and cooking (60%) are among their other areas of interest.
Interestingly, when it comes to social media, older individuals tend to be less mindful than their younger counterparts and are more inclined to explore.
They particularly follow categories related to friends and family (56%) and brands (24%).
Overall, the Thai silver gen is highly socially connected, especially among family, friends and preferred brands. At this stage of life, they are more focused on sharing and giving back to their communities rather than for self-development or self-image building.
Opportunities and challenges for businesses
The silver generation represents an untapped and lucrative market with substantial opportunities across various sectors. Businesses can cater to their diverse needs – spanning healthcare, leisure activities, travel and financial services – to thrive in this growing market.
Regarding their use of social media, the silver generation prioritises goodwill and community engagement over self-promotion. Brands with corporate goodwill have a unique opportunity to connect with this demographic by showcasing how their products/services contribute back to the community or facilitate connections with friends and family. By leveraging social media and technology thoughtfully, brands can make the silver generation feel like an integral part of society without overwhelming notifications. This audience seeks meaningful connections and values inclusivity, so brands must align their offerings accordingly.
An example of successful engagement is Line, the popular messaging app in Thailand. The app's stickers, allowing users to express feelings without words, have resonated with the silver generation. They use stickers to stay connected with family and friends, sending greetings and checking in regularly. Although younger generations may find this behaviour bothersome, they accept it as a characteristic of their parents or grandparents. Brands can view this as an opportunity to tailor distinctive offers to meet the needs of the silver generation.
However, businesses must address challenges to capitalise on these opportunities. Age-related stereotypes and accessibility concerns need to be addressed to ensure an inclusive approach. Websites and applications should be designed to accommodate older adults with vision or hearing impairments, while marketing materials should avoid perpetuating age-related stereotypes.
It is crucial to understand that the silver generation is composed of experienced individuals who do not wish to be treated as a separate group requiring special treatment. Brands should focus on bridging generation gaps and effectively engaging with both older and younger audiences to foster meaningful connections. By embracing thoughtful strategies, businesses can tap into the immense potential of this burgeoning market and build lasting relationships with the silver generation.
The silver generation represents a burgeoning market segment brimming with potential for businesses willing to understand and cater to their unique needs. Thriving in this space necessitates a comprehensive approach, encompassing a nuanced understanding of age-related challenges, a commitment to inclusivity and targeted marketing efforts. Consider them as a generation of our target audience rather than a group of old people. The silver market's growth offers boundless opportunities for innovative businesses and with thoughtful strategies.
- Brands should recognise the relatively higher income of the Thai silver gen in the region, making them a valuable target segment.
- When engaging the silver generation on social media, businesses should focus on connecting with their friends, family and community, offering products and services that contribute back to these aspects of their lives.
- Thai silver gen prioritise sharing and giving back to their communities over self-development, emphasising the importance of offering products and services that align with their values.
- Businesses should avoid alienating the silver generation with overly special treatment and instead focus on reducing generation gaps to effectively engage with younger audiences as well.
- While healthcare is a top industry for targeting the silver generation, other sectors such as travel, finance, technology (with an emphasis on ease of usage) and education also hold significant potential to serve this growing market.