Seniors in China are becoming more economically relevant, but the online industry is being slow to respond. That is the opinion of researchers investigating China’s shifting age-demographics at the International Business School Suzhou (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University). Global Economic Analysis suggests that by 2030 there will be almost as many seniors in China as teens. There are already signs of this affecting China’s virtual markets.
Seniors in China Learn Until Old Age
The Chinese people have a saying ‘live till old age, learn till old age’ (活到老学到老). This culture inspires them to continue studying after leaving school. Indeed, eLearning makes it possible for them to pursue experiences they missed during the oppressive years of Mau Tse-tung’s cultural revolution. This includes the freedom to shop for luxury goods.
The eCommerce Implications of Aging
Ecommerce worldwide has tended to focus on younger adults – based on more disposable income – while assuming the digital revolution left seniors behind and they will never catch up. Now that mobile sales in wealthy cities are showing signs of topping out, seniors in China become the next opportunity to explore following the economic shrinkdown.
According to the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University’s researchers, “there is a substantial potential market for education – including e-learning services – for older people in China”.
Not All Seniors in China Share the Same View
The researchers identified a number of barriers impeding Chinese seniors from making the most of the opportunity. Some mistrust financial security and are uncomfortable shopping online. Others are reticent about technology and rely on their families for help. But others embrace online shopping, and the wonderful opportunities it offers.
According to the emerging population infographic it is time for China’s online markets to adapt to this new opportunity. This could include portals dedicated to seniors in China catering for their needs, while explaining things for newbies as they go along.