Mature consumers: A growing market segment

Market studies tend to focus on young generations such as the Millennials to determine spending and buying trends.

Market studies tend to focus on young generations such as the Millennials to determine spending and buying trends.

While such a strategy can provide a depiction of market conditions in the near future, mature consumers - those aged 60 and older - are a rapidly growing demographic that is soon expected to dominate the western population.

Worldwide, this age group spent $8 trillion in 2010, and by the end of the decade it is expected to put down $15 trillion annually. More importantly, its spending habits are not quite aligned with marketers' expectations.

"The views of respondents seem to intensify, or to shift, after the age of 80," said Martin Walker, senior director of A.T. Kearney's Global Business Policy Council. "The over-80s are globally much more loyal to established brands, and less willing to spend money on products that offer health benefits or are considered 'green.'"

While retailers focus on speed and price, mature consumers tend to demand quality and customer service, and are less concerned about price. This underscores the importance of efficiency in the shopping environment. In other words, when it comes to mature consumers, don't sacrifice service for speed or quality for price.