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Online websites target growing aging population (3)

(China Daily)

09:17, December 18, 2012

The bestsellers on the website are massage vibrators and sports and entertainment equipment, which Zheng said reflect two important needs of the elderly: healthcare products to increase the potential to live for more years and time-killing products to make the increased longevity more enjoyable.

An unpleasant shopping environment in the real world may also be a reason pushing the elderly into the virtual one.

A survery conducted by Beijing Consumer Association, which polled 1,252 retired citizens in the capital city, found that 93 percent of the interviewees said they would shop at large or medium supermarkets, defined as those with a business space above 3,000 square meters, at least once every week. More than 70 percent of them said they found these supermarkets environmentally dissatisfying, with problems such as dirty toilets, incomprehensible price tags or shouting by sales assistants.

Small print on price tags is the biggest worry for the elderly, followed by a fear of being perceived to be too slow and being in poor physical condition that makes long waiting times uncomfortable, the report concluded.

"Online shopping is free from all the problems in the real world and it saves a lot of time and travel, although at first getting access to the virtual shopping platform was a little bit tricky," said Yu, who learned about online shopping from her younger colleagues two years ago.

"The online market is a step ahead of the real one, marketing to and making money off retirees, even though the online shopping process is not very 'senior-friendly'," said Yao of China E-commerce Research Center.

"But that could also mean big opportunities for products that help the elderly use online shopping websites, such as voice recognition software, or simply customer services that are exclusively for the old," she added.

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