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The elderly: an underserved market in China

March 12, 2013

chinese elderly

Chinese elderly: an open business opportunity

Ah, the elderly! They are quickly capturing the attention of China’s new administration. I recently outlawed the new laws imposed in China that will make it mandatory for children to visit aging parents. There are many health and home related business opportunities, but after chatting with a colleagues currently in Hong Kong, I realized there’s far more marketshare potential than meets the eye.

Lifestyle opportunities

While housing is an issue of utmost importance, most elderly have this covered. The focus for this new type of socio-economic demographic (fixed income, no kids or FINKs as I call them) is lifestyle.

Things like home décor services, social activities and other luxuries encapsulate the new hidden market of elderly in China and throughout Asia. Since many elderly have one child who feels obligated to care for them, it is an unspoken rule that many of these retired or elderly adults is on an allowance of some sort.

With more and more children finding themselves straddled between being caregivers to their parents and their own children, filial duty can translate to more gifts or a higher allowance.

Industries that could benefit

Just a few industries that could benefit from an elderly-based strategic marketing approach are:

  • Elderly specific technology (think of the Jitterbug phone in the US)
  • Medical alert systems
  • Fashion
  • Luxury goods (Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Hermes are big in China)
  • Fine dinning
  • Travel

Turning these into a new niche

With targeted marketing any one of these aforementioned areas could be transformed into a niche. The US has pretty good examples of how to target the elderly. In Chinese print and television ads, 90% of the elderly-specific things being advertised have to do with health or medicine.

With the graying of China comes many opportunities for collaboration overseas and a new way to discover hidden markets.

Monica Moffitt, founder and Principal Cultural Consultant at Tianfen Consulting, Inc., has traveled the world and enjoys linguistics and all things culture. Having split her career between project management and business analytics, Monica merges logic, fluency in Chinese and creativity in her new role as cultural consultant. She received a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies/Chinese from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Business Administration (International Management and Marketing) from University of Texas at Dallas.

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