Turning age 65 used to mean retirement for most U.S. consumers. But that long-held notion is changing.  For one thing, the federal government has changed the age at which consumers can begin to draw full Social Security benefits and it is gradually increasing, based on birth year, to age 67. In addition, more consumers are finding that they are not interested in a long retirement, or at the very least, plan to work at least part-time long after they turn 65. This new trend means that marketers are rethinking the way they target older consumers.

A  new study by Scarborough Research finds at that least 15% of consumers age 65 and older are still in the workforce. This population numbers over 6 million people who generally comprise an attractive financial demographic.  These seniors skew higher for:

  • Owning a home with value exceeding $500,000
  • Using a full service stock broker
  • Investing in money market funds
  • Owning second homes or other real estate

Scarborough analysts say a significant number of the Retired for Hire group, working seniors, are business owners or self-employed. As a result, these consumers are making frequent travel purchases and are decision makers for office supply and overnight delivery service needs. In addition, the Retired for Hire group spends money to maintain the home(s) they own, often shelling out $10,000 or more annually for exterior painting services and replacement windows. Not surprisingly, this consumer group has a much higher than average rate of attendance at symphony and opera events.  Analysts suggest that marketers co-sponsor these types of events to increase their visibility to the Retired for Hire consumer group.

Other media strategies for reaching this group include advertising on TV programs with religion, local evening/national news and game shows being the top programs of interest. Radio and newspapers are also effective ways to market to these consumers. To increase sales, more merchants will be marketing to the Retired for Hire population, especially as the average age of consumers in the U.S. increases and as people shift away from traditional retirement and seek out business and employment opportunities.

[Source: Retired for Hire. Scarborough Research. March 2011. Web. 25 Mar. 2011]