May 11, 1981
nelists at a Food Marketing Institute convention workshop predicted the elderly consumer would be an increasingly important customer. The experts said supermarkets would have to learn how to cater to elderly customers over the age of 65, whose numbers were expected to mushroom from 24.1 million in 1981 to 31.8 million by the year 2000. National Retired Teachers Association and American Association of Retired Persons panelists said of the demographic group, "They need a marketplace that responds to the way they use information, read labels, shop and participate in the marketplace."
Issues that were cited as the largest problems for senior shoppers, outside of financial concerns, were largely store design and organization issues; product labels that were too small to read; and discourteous or impatient treatment by store personnel.
Some retailers had already begun to address seniors' concerns by 1981. Steps included diabetes screening clinics, store tours, flexible formats, transportation to and from stores, and providing one-person meal-planning ideas and menus.
As the baby boomer generation nears retirement, retailers face growing numbers of senior shoppers. Some retailers have turned to health issues in an effort to better serve retired and aging customers.