Self-perceived age of older Chinese consumers younger than actual age

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Washington, May 19 (ANI): Older Chinese consumers perceive themselves younger than their actual age, an expert has found.He also found that these perceptions affect marketing strategies aimed at these consumers.

Rui Yao, a University of Missouri assistant professor, recognized a trend wherein the average age of Chinese citizens has begun to get older quickly ever since the government enacted the one-child policy in 1978 as a form of population control.

"Someone who is 50 doesn't think they are 50," Yao said. "They see themselves as 45 or 40 years old."

A survey of Chinese consumers above the age 50, was conducted across six cities in China. While almost 50 percent of the people surveyed were between the ages of 50 and 59, only about 33 percent perceived themselves as being that old. Overall, 52 percent of the total respondents perceived themselves to be younger than their actual age, among whom, about 20 percent perceived themselves to be at least 10 years younger and 6 percent had a self-perceived age that was at least 20 years younger than their life age.

"This study shows that when marketing products to this demographic, it is wise to avoid saying they are for older people," Yao said. "Having a gray hair image, or using the term 'silver' isn't going to be very well received by these consumers. Marketing professionals who hold the old belief that 'the old man decays' are challenged to re-evaluate and reposition the older consumer market. People live longer today. The 'mid-life' and 'middle-age' concepts are shifting.

They used to describe those in their 30s and now it appears that the 50s may be the new 30s. Marketers should use more energetic and youthful campaigns. If a product makes them feel younger, they will be more likely to use it."

Another interesting result was that women were more likely to perceive themselves as younger as compared to men.

Yao's research included factors like financial risk tolerance, savings behavior and motives, retirement, debt management, and household consumption patterns.

This study was published in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues. (ANI)

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