Alibaba targets Chinese seniors with ‘senior friendly’ app



  • Taobao, the Alibaba-backed online retailer, has launched a personalized version of its app for older users.
  • China has 255 million people over the age of 60, a largely untapped market that potentially represents billions in revenue.
  • The company recently started hiring two older workers to improve its app for older users.
  • Nestlé, IBM and Apple have all started targeting older consumers in China and Japan.

While most companies are still looking to capture the millennium market, Taobao, the Alibaba-backed online retailer, is focusing on China’s growing elderly population.

Last week, the company launched an “age-friendly” version of its app that it hopes will catch the attention of aging Chinese people. There are currently 222 million people over the age of 60 in China, and by 2020 that number is expected to reach 255 million– nearly 20% of the country’s population.

To access this growing consumer base, Taobao’s personalized app is designed to be easier to use for older shoppers and can be linked directly to their children’s account who have the ‘pay for me’ option. they are inclined to cover their parents purchasing costs.

The personalized app also displays a photo of their child on each page so that users can easily share products or start a conversation by phone or text. It also has a larger, less cluttered interface and uses more shortcuts for navigation.

“By launching this simple and user-friendly option for the Taobao app, we will make online shopping easier for our seniors and help them stay in touch with the younger generation and the community,” said Ding Jian, senior product manager at Taobao. , who is leading the development of this new channel, said in an emailed statement to Business Insider.

This is a good financial decision from Alibaba.

Last year, according to Taobao, buyers over 50 in China bought, on average, 44 products, spending nearly $ 800 on online purchases. Considering only people over the age of 60 puts a total possible expenditure of around $ 200 billion per year.

Currently, Taobao only has 6 million users between the ages of 60 and 69. Last month, it started recruiting two employees aged 60 or older who will work to get feedback from older users to improve the personalized app.

But the company is not the only one to try to exploit the “silver economy”.

After Nestlé previously launched a milk line for Chinese drinkers over 50 and in Japan, where older people make up over a quarter of the population, Apple and IBM developed a modified iPad for older people that also had bigger text, simpler interfaces, and modified FaceTime for easy talking to. family.

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