The Forgotten Target Group: How Packaging Design Catches Seniors

Tetra Pak published their annual Consumer Generations Whitepaper, according to which seniors are a highly underrated target group that is far too often forgotten when it comes to packaging design. Fitting their needs, however, can easily be managed when five factors are considered.

Did you ever wonder why your grandparents continue buying a certain product, though there are various cheaper and better alternatives? An important decision factor has been identified by Tetra Pak and it does not concern the quality of a product, as you might think, but it’s all about the design!

Packaging design can focus on many different aspects and thus targets different consumer groups. Millennials, for instance, are often intrigued when the design is fancy and attention-catching, though there is a slight movement towards the more natural or simplistic style. So, the industry can design their products in order to address certain groups of people. A target group that is too often forgotten although it occupies one of the strongest buying powers, are seniors – people over 60 years old. In order to catch a 60-year-old’s attention, packaging design has to be adapted accordingly and there are different strategies that can make a product more attractive for this target group. But first of all: Why is this group so important?

Do Not Underestimate The Buying Power of Seniors

Tetra Pak published their annual Consumer Generations Whitepaper, according to which seniors are a highly underrated target group that is far too often forgotten when it comes to packaging design. The reason why it is so profitable for a company to target seniors is simple – once they are satisfied with a product, they do not look any further for alternatives. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, but in contrast to other target groups seniors are the most loyal. Furthermore, they are willing and able to pay a certain price for the quality. Once they are convinced that your product is good, they are very likely to stick with it, even if there are cheaper alternatives.

But in order to tie this target group to your brand, the packaging design of a product has to fit the senior’s needs. First of all, avoid using the word senior. They know exactly how old they are and do not need your product to tell them. Rather, adapt your packaging to their needs. For example, it is widely known that the eyesight can worsen with age. So, what seniors need are big letters – not only the product name but also ingredients and other relevant information – but also well readable color choices for labels.

Five Factors for Success With Seniors

When your label has convinced a senior to buy your product, it would be a shame if he or she was unable to open it at home, because with an older age, in most cases, comes a reduced grip strength. To put it in a nutshell: There are five factors that should be considered when designing packaging that appeals to the older generation – Visual communication, legibility, opening, handling and perishability.

A company that understands the senior’s struggles and adapts their products accordingly is the SCA Tissue Europe in Munich. For ZEWA Soft toilet paper they developed an easy way to open the package by perforating its corner. This enables people with a reduced grip strength to open the package without much effort and also without tearing open the entire thing. The packaging thus meets the factors opening and handling. Furthermore, they featured an information box on the package that visualizes the opening and corresponds visual communication as well as legibility, since the instructions can be easily deciphered by elderly customers.

SCA Tissue Europe is however among the very few pioneers in this area, so there is much room for improvement, especially in the food sector. The forgotten target group seniors are loyal customers whose buying powers are too often overlooked.

Which products come to your mind when you think of senior-friendly packaging and why? Tell us in the comments!