Business of Marketing

Silver is the new Gold. Stop ignoring a $22 trillion dollar market

December 7, 2023
Mike Raleigh

We get it, gen z is the shiny new object. Who doesn’t love a good TikTok dance? No one wants to be irrelevant, so many of us have not only targeted this generation, we’ve obsessed over them. In the process, we’ve forgotten that what’s lit isn’t always timeless or substantial, meaning it doesn’t inevitably translate to dollar signs, especially over the long haul. Who has stood the test of time? The over 50 crowd many of us have largely ignored who, unlike gen z, has a lot more disposable income and the stability to spend it. And, contrary to popular belief, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. 

What you think of the silver consumer is all wrong. 

In order to target this consumer effectively, you have to forget everything you thought you knew about them.  

Silver’s not just gray, it’s shiny too. This consumer may not be as new as gen z, but they’re far from insignificant. In fact, they’re the most powerful economic group in the world, and that’s only going to grow with time. 

They’re not dying, they’re growing. People are living longer than ever before. Between 1900 and 1960 in the US, life expectancy at birth increased from 51 years to 74 years for men and from 58 years to 80 years for women. This trend has only continued to rise, with people who make it to age 65 living longer than their parents. Life expectancy data from the past 50 years shows that human lifespans are increasing by approximately three years every generation, and this trend isn’t going anywhere.  

They’re not tech-averse, they’re digitally savvy. This group was in the workforce during the DotCom era and technological revolution of the late ‘90s and early 2000s, making them as digitally curious and engaged as the younger generations. Yes, you read that right. They aren’t static either. Their digital literacy is increasing and so is their openness to new technologies and platforms. And according to a Google study, 71% of silver consumers are making online purchases, revealing their strong e-commerce acumen and a promising opportunity for online retailers. 

Almost half are engaged on social media. That’s a whopping 54 million people, according to the US Census. In particular, they have a strong relationship with Facebook but can be found on all social media platforms. 

They’re active and healthy. Don’t count them out yet. Many silver consumers show a keen interest in staying fit and well, with a rising trend in mature-focused fitness programs and wellness apps. And unlike younger generations, they are more likely to perform holistic exercises and activities that combine spiritual, intellectual and solid values according to a report by Coming of Age. As a result, they tend to make buying decisions with a more comprehensive approach. 

They have significant influence over younger generations. Their strong buying power, brand loyalty, and tendency to spend more on individual purchases make them a very impactful group. 

Ageism isn’t just wrong, it’s costly. 

Instead of seeing the over 50 crowd as an asset–wise, active consumers with healthy bank accounts–marketers see them as liabilities–issue-ridden individuals who need help. That’s why when they’re not ignoring these valuable consumers, they’re offending them. A perfect example is LifeCall’s “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up” commercial that’s patronizing and downright insulting. Just because these consumers are older doesn’t mean they’re less intelligent. And even though marketers have made it appear as though those over 50 are the problem, it’s actually the marketers themselves. Their ageism cost the U.S. economy $850 billion in 2018 according to the AARP’s Economic Impact of Age Discrimination, and without it, the silver consumers' economic contribution could increase by $3.9 trillion. That means by 2050, they would contribute a whopping $30.7 trillion to GDP

8 segments to turn your silver consumer into gold. 

It’s not just about aging gracefully anymore, it’s about aging with intention. Silver consumers are not only looking to live longer, they’re looking to live stronger. That means embracing a healthy lifestyle, setting inspiring goals, nurturing meaningful relationships and having a positive mindset that goes beyond their actual age. That means marketers need to speak to this audience accordingly. 


Don’t patronize or talk down to these consumers. Treat health problems more as resolvable challenges instead of embarrassing death sentences. Use social media (FB, IG, TikTok and YouTube) for not only informative but also inspiring video content focused on healthy aging that incorporates activity and spiritual development. Remember that silver consumers are all different with individual health needs and preferences. Respect these distinctions and personalize any recommendations.


Simplify policy information and use plain language to explain insurance terms and coverage, but don’t patronize. Use content marketing to highlight insurance plans that cater to mature consumers specific needs, such as retirement or health coverage. Build trust among silver consumers by being transparent about everything, especially fees, policy terms, and benefits. 


Give straightforward workout instructions and fitness advice that avoids jargon. Focus on empowering video content that emphasizes the exciting possibility for healthy aging, mobility and strength. 


Be transparent about ingredients, safety and manufacturing processes to build trust, especially on product labels. Don’t overemphasize aging concerns or treat older consumers like they’re stupid or less than. Using inspiring, empowering language about the possibility of even better health and well-being. 

Med Spa & Plastic Surgery

Clearly explain procedures, treatment costs, recovery, expected results and potential risks. Feature inspiring transformations with before and after images and video content. Show credibility and build trust by sharing honest testimonials.

Travel & Leisure

Share accessible travel options and leisure activities on social media with user-friendly visuals and testimonials. And don’t just use Facebook, use all of the platforms, even TikTok as 14% of their users are already over 50. Ensure that websites are intuitive and that customer support is easily accessible. Create videos showcasing travel destinations and activities that are healthy, adventurous and active, disregarding any aging stereotypes. 

Fintech & Wealth Planning 

Share retirement planning tips, investment insights, and financial advice on social media platforms with clear graphics and relatable examples. Clearly communicate investment risks, returns, and potential fees to build trust. Trust is the toolkit for your business transformation for reaching, retaining, and converting this audience. 

Biohacking & Smart Tech

Create inspiring content on how biohacking can enhance health, vitality, and longevity but also quality of life. Be transparent about the science behind biohacking methods and any potential risks. Offer personalized recommendations and protocols based on individual health goals and preferences.

5 brands who get the silver consumer. 

  1. Apple: Apple has made significant strides in appealing to silver consumers, particularly with products like the iPhone and iPad, which are known for their user-friendly interfaces. Features like larger text options, voice commands with Siri, and health tracking capabilities cater to the needs of older users. Apple also makes an effort to include silver consumers in its imagery, showcasing them using products in everyday life. 
  2. L'Oreal: L'Oreal has successfully marketed to an older audience, particularly with skincare and hair color products. They have featured inspiring, empowered mature models in their advertising campaigns, breaking the stereotype of beauty brands focusing only on younger consumers.
  3. Amazon: With its easy-to-navigate website and vast product range, Amazon has become a popular shopping destination for those over 50. The company's introduction of voice-activated shopping with Alexa also appeals to older users. Their smart usage of personalization via their evolving treasure trove of data makes 1-1 personalization possible. Brands cannot afford to not be segmenting and targeting better for winning.
  4. Zoom: During the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom became an essential tool for silver consumers to stay connected with family and friends. The brand's straightforward interface and reliable service made it appealing to this older audience. 
  5. Vanguard: In the finance sector, Vanguard has effectively reached silver consumers by providing clear, straightforward information about retirement savings and investments. They leveraged their longstanding brand equity with new investments in product innovation that elevated customer and user experiences with new planning products. 

As you can see, it’s time to take a TikTok break (if that’s even possible), and stop chasing youth. Ageism has it all wrong. There’s an even more powerful consumer  segment out there, and it’s only going to get bigger.

Aging with intention. Three things that are driving the longevity economy

In conversations with over a dozen individuals over 50, and through an in-depth analysis of whitepapers and syndicated research, my team and I have gained a clear insight. It's evident that today's aging population seeks to age with intention, on their own terms. For brands, this understanding is crucial. It's about engaging with the interplay of community, recognition, and discovery. Engaging with these psychological constructs allows brands to tailor their products, services, and experiences in a manner that is both native and inviting to this audience.

Don’t leave money on the table. If you’re interested in capturing this market and need a partner to help you, let’s talk. 

Thanks for reading.
Mike Raleigh
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