Stores Called Unprepared for Coming Gray Wave
By George Anderson
Everyone knows that the population is aging and that a growing percentage of society will be made up of senior citizens in the very near future. So why, wonder some who follow demographic trends, don’t retail stores seem more prepared for the needs of these consumers?
Richard Loreto, an expert who follows demographic trends in Canada and the U.S., told CBC Business News that huge stores, small lettering on signs and new emphasis on self-service are in direct contrast to the needs of an aging population.
According to Mr. Loreto, people who have difficulty getting around are going to be looking for small markets to shop in rather than attempt to navigate the 80,000-square-feet and up colossal structures that dominate much of retailing today.
Lighting and signage will be increasingly important as consumers’ eyesight dims with age. For the restaurant business, he said, “The notion of a candlelight dinner with a fancy menu for those in their sixties is just not on because they aren’t going to be able to read what they want to order.”
What seniors are increasingly going to want is service, said Mr. Loreto. Unlike past generations, many Baby Boomers are going into retirement financially well off, so they’ll be able to afford it.
“There is a niche market at present and an ever-growing market in the future to service seniors as they become less mobile as they inevitably will when they reach their eighties,” he said.
Moderator’s Comment: Will the size of the senior market warrant retailers making major changes in their businesses in the near future? If yes, what areas
(physical plant, product selection, service, etc.) will require the greatest change from how things are currently done? –
George Anderson – Moderator