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Senior market segment changesIf the senior market is important to your business, take note, the stereotype of today’s senior may be as out of date as the CD player.

This weekend I spent some time with my mom. She is 78-years young, lives in a senior community near Tampa and has for the past ten years. She’s healthy, spunky and represents a new breed of well aging consumers. And gives serious merit to the concept of “78 is the new 58”.

5 insights into the new senior consumer

1) The desire for fun does not lighten with age.
When I arrived, the first thing she tells me is: “I want to move. Not out of my community, but out of my neighborhood. Everyone here is too darn old,” she claims. “They’re sick, frail, grumpy, don’t take care of their homes and bottom line, they are not any fun!”

Seth Godin’s tribe theory remains true. Consumers want to be around like-minded people and age is not an accurate means to profile this consumer.

2) Chemical addictions don’t go away, they just change.
My mom has a hair color habit, she drinks sweet wine and even sweeter cocktails (I don’t remember her drinking until she turned 68). She loves a good chocolate fix a lot more often than just on Valentine’s Day.

According to The Wine Institute women drink the lion’s share of wine of the over 800 million gallons sold in US annually.

3) Have road will travel.
Fortunately, my mom and dad saved for retirement, so she has money to spend and she likes to travel. In the past 5 years, she’s visited at least 20 different countries and has covered even more tracks locally on her zippy golf cart. However, she also claims there are much faster models, and she wouldn’t mind having one.

4) It’s never too late to find your inner rowdy, party animal voice.
My mom loves sports, she knows the local team’s players by their first names and goes to lots of concerts and performances. I’ve heard her scream and holler at all of these events, something again I don’t remember from my childhood with her.

5) The fashion bug never flies away.
Frugal she is and also a card-carrying CCC (compulsive coupon clipper), but her annual spending on fashion, shoes and accessories could fund a small village.

Watching my mom enter her aging backwards chapter is quite entertaining as well as enlightening. As it reminds me how when brands are being built, we must remember all consumer segments, their values and buying patterns continue to change.