IRI releases SilverLink, provides insights into baby boomer shopping segment

CHICAGO — IRI on Tuesday released SilverLink, a new report that segments the U.S. population ages 50 years and older based on demographics; attitudes toward aging, health and wellness; shopping behavior; and lifestyle habits.

“The next generation of retirees will be the healthiest, longest lived, most educated and most affluent in history,” stated Robert Tomei, president of consumer and shopper marketing for IRI. 

IRI’s SilverLink identifies six distinct consumer segments. Three of the six segments, “Secure,” “Conscientious” and “Preoccupied,” present particularly strong growth opportunities for manufacturers and retailers. Accounting for a combined 52% of the 50-and-older population, these three groups and the unique opportunities they represent are:

  • Secure – With a median income of $58,000, these shoppers believe they have enough money for a comfortable retirement. They consider themselves to be in good health, prioritize exercise and try to eat a healthy diet about 80% of the time. These shoppers are ideal targets for nutritious items that support a healthy lifestyle;
  • Conscientious – These shoppers are diligent about their health and their finances and have a median income of $37,000. They monitor their diets, both to maintain a healthy weight and to feel good. Deals and coupons are key to attracting Conscientious consumers, and they will be particularly receptive to online promotions, as they love technology and social media, and often research new products online; and
  • Preoccupied – Unlike Conscientious and Secure shoppers, consumers in the Preoccupied segment do not focus on exercising or improving their diets, although they know they should. With a median income of $51,000, these shoppers are often on the go and generally choose convenience over nutrition. Although this group stands out due to its lack of commitment to healthy eating, CPG manufacturers and retailers can still win with this group via simple, convenient offerings, such as prepared single-serve meals.

The following three segments comprise the remaining 48% of the 50-and-older population:

  • Unconcerned – These consumers are content with their lifestyles and have a median income of $42,000. While most would like to lose at least 10 lbs., they do not make exercise or healthy eating a priority;
  • Resistant – With a median income of just $32,000, the Resistant segment is the worst off financially. They also are not particularly active, often as a result of mobility issues. This group would like to be healthier but lacks the financial resources to do so; and
  • Resigned – Like the Resistant group, Resigned shoppers also are suffering from physical deterioration and struggle to make ends meet. With a median income of $34,000, they prefer foods that require little preparation, often choose convenience over nutrition and tend to eat lots of processed foods.

Since 2007, real median income has declined for all age groups except those ages 65 years and older. In fact, this age group actually saw a 5% income increase from 2007 to 2010. The likelihood that an American who reaches the age of 65 years will survive to age 90 years has nearly doubled in the past 40 years.

IRI fielded data for the SilverLink segmentation in August 2013 among National Consumer Panel respondents, representing the U.S. population ages 50 years and over.

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