A brief lexicon of senior marketing

A brief lexicon of senior marketing

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The silver economy has been developing at high speed in all sectors of the economy but to sell products dedicated to seniors, it is not recommended to brand it as « senior ».

A computer will not sell to the younger consumers if it is branded « for younger users ». It is preferable to highlight the features of the product, its performance. And even more so, as seniors do not recognize themselves in the term senior. It is difficult to identify yourself with a term that encompasses people aged 50 and over. Are we the same person at 55, 70 or 85? Do we have the same physical capacity? Obviously not. So more flattering terms have been coined:

Homo senectus: This Latin term reminiscent of “homo sapiens” or “homo erectus”, turns ageing into a natural phenomenon, a reality, far removed from the younger-is-better mentality.

Baby Boomers / Retiring Baby Boomers: Papy-Boomers are today’s retirees, born when the birth rate peaked between 1945 and 1975. This peak occurred in most North European countries. “Baby Boomers” also designates a sociological generation, as theorized by William Strauss & Neil Howe, made up of idealistic, self-centred people who are major consumers. They are the opposite of their elders, from the silent generation, who are more conservative and save more. Find more details on this generation in our article: Two different Generation of Seniors.

Silver surfers: This term defines seniors who use the Internet, social media and buy online. Contrary to common beliefs, people aged 55+ do not reject technological innovation and digital tools.

The Peaceful People: this term encompasses seniors who are 75 to 85. They are no longer as active as younger retirees but are not at the end of their lives either, hence this term.

Seniors: Less an Age Bracket Than a Phase

3rd age: this is an elegant phrase to qualify seniors. According to Journal des Femmes (French Source), « this stage in life is often synonymous with fatigue, the onset of joint pain, physical decline and loss of autonomy ». According to our graph of Seniors’ Stages of Life, 3rd age apparently starts around 70, when health issues impact daily lives.

4th age: as with 3rd age, 4th age is a rather abstract concept, which defines the oldest seniors. With the increase in life expectancy, 4th age refers to the very end of life: dependence, loss of autonomy and admission to a care facility.

The 3rd half-time: the end of efforts, the stage when you have time for yourself, when you relax and take advantage of the end of salaried work.

The golden age: reminiscent of prosperous historical periods such as Belle Epoque (at the turn of the 20th century) or the 60s. The golden age qualifies retirement as it is a period when people consume a lot and indulge.

Retirement: between exclusion and jubilation

In French, “retraite” has several meanings. The most common one is:
“To retire from active life, to step down from a position; Status of someone who has stopped working/ Allowance paid to someone who has retired. ”
But retraite also means: “A place affording peace, quiet, privacy. Or a hiding place ». (As in retreat in English) Retraite therefore also refers to an action of moving away, something negative. Source: www.thefreedictionary.com

In Spanish, “Retirement” conveys a totally different reality. “Retirement” translates as “jubilación”, a term built on « Júbilo” which means jubilation, or joy. This is a very positive vision of retirement, far removed from the exclusion conveyed by the French term.

– Homo senectus (French language): http://www.liberation.fr/futurs/2013/02/17/homo-senectus_882552
– Retreat: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/retreat

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