Seniors are an exciting demographic for c-stores for a number of reasons:
The over-65 demographic (or “silvers”) is expected to increase almost 30 percent over the next decade. Retailers of all kinds take such data very seriously, and the race is on to reinvent stores in a way that the older generation finds welcoming—carpeted floors, easily accessible products, automatic doors, packaging that is easy to read and to open and better customer service. In Japan, the Lawson convenience store chain has widened shopping aisles and lowered shelves, while Japanese 7-Eleven stores offer seniors a meal delivery service and sometimes even designate a seating area for older customers to gather and socialize. These “silvers” now represent millions of potential shoppers, and tailoring c-stores to their needs is not only a kindness, it makes good business sense.
Seniors are increasingly tech-savvy when it comes to arranging for home delivery of groceries and other small items, which lines up perfectly with the desire of many c-stores to develop a strong online presence with customers. More and more c-stores are turning to food delivery as a key component in boosting sales, a timely and significant benefit to the older generation—some of whom may not be able to leave their homes safely, or may simply not want to. While e-commerce has traditionally been considered the province of the young, it is also turning into a growth market for those over 65, who enjoy or require the convenience of home delivery.
The Financial Factor
Seniors, soon to comprise more than 20 percent of the overall population in North America, tend to shop for less food. This is not due to financial pressure—senior households tend to be wealthier and to spend well above the national average on products like household supplies. This makes them prime candidates for c-store shopping trips—a quick stop at the local mart to pick up a few items. And with greater selections of fresh and local foods, c-stores can oblige.
C-stores are in a unique position to accommodate the changing needs of older adults. Malls and big-box stores can be overwhelming to an older generation, and, with this demographic beginning to explode, retailing is increasingly favoring the small, local store.