Oct 26, 2020|

Spike in Gifts for Elderly Ahead of China’s Seniors’ Day


by Kelly Dawson

Pronounced “jiu” in Mandarin, the number nine is a homonym for a character indicating a “long and healthy life.” As such, China honors its elderly each year on the ninth day of the ninth month of the Lunar Calendar, on “Seniors’ Day.”

According to JD’s data, younger and middle-aged consumers began preparing gifts for their elderly loved ones weeks ahead of this year’s festival, which fell on October 25th. Searches spiked in descending order for mothers, fathers, mother-in-laws and father-in-laws.

The most common gifts for parents included coats, sweaters, leather shoes, down jackets and other warm, fashionable items. Mother-in-laws tended to receive slightly less functional gifts, including bracelets, scarves and necklaces. Father-in-laws received the least attention, but their gifts tended to be the most specific, with items including fishing rods, tea, baijiu alcohol and cigarettes.

JD’s data also indicated a spike in sales for other items in which “elderly” was mentioned in the product description, including shoes, bags, clothing and more. Mahogany furniture, most popular among elderly consumers, saw sales increase by 2.4 times year-on-year.

Additionally, the number of searches for devices related to leg and joint health, massage and health care for the elderly increased by five times in the weeks before the festival.

While elderly consumers (56 years -old and above) received their fair share of gifts for the festival, this particular demographic is also increasing its own purchasing share. Necessitated by the lockdowns during the height of the pandemic earlier this year, droves of elderly consumers began shopping online for the first time. In fact, the growth rate of new online shoppers has been highest among the elderly this year.

Now, even as life gradually returns to normal, many elderly shoppers continue to take advantage of the convenience and ease of purchasing online. According to JD’s data, the number of online consultation orders for elderly users increased by 233 times year-on-year.

Elderly consumers most commonly buy vegetables, fruit and meat online, but their consumption of nutritional and health products has also increased by 83%. Sales of fitness training products also increased by more than 100%.

Elderly consumers aren’t only buying items with their physical health in mind; their attention has also shifted to include products related to spiritual and educational nourishment. Sales of history books increased by 77% year-on-year among elderly shoppers; and the sales of photography and other hobby products to elderly shoppers increased by more than 50%. Their attention is also increasingly being diverted to their pet companions, with the number of orders for online pet products and services increasing by 2.1 times year-on-year.

They’re also enjoying a little self-pampering and self-care, with beauty product sales increasing by 87% among elderly shoppers. Jewelry and hair accessories saw an increase of 50% too.

Many are becoming more educated and aware of online trends related to consumer categories and brands. For example: In Beijing, Shanghai and Fujian, elderly consumers are most likely to buy celebrity-endorsed products.