Insights + interviews

In Conversation With Martell Hardenberg

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The Active Age had a chat with Martell Hardenberg, CEO of Lazada Singapore as he shared his insights on the emerging market of the over 50s and how Lazada is catering to this new group of online shoppers.

AA: Hi Mr Hardenberg, for starters could you tell us more about Lazada’s take on the commercial potential of the over-50s, and how will it impact the economy?

MH: The over 50s have more spending power and often, more time to spare than the average consumer. As the population of Singapore ages, the commercial potential for this consumer segment is significant. We have seen the number of users on over the age of 50 double every month since July last year, with a cumulative month-on-month growth of 15%. With this in mind, it is safe to say that older shoppers are not exceedingly dissimilar to younger shoppers. They are an active and discerning group of consumers and are becoming frequent users of e-retailers.

AA: How would you address the blanket assumption that ‘advertising does not work’ for older consumers?

MH: Most people over the age of 50 were raised in a spend-driven economy and exposed to advertising, so they tend to be savvier consumers than the generations before them, in fact many older shoppers find out about us via online advertisements. Sustaining their interest in shopping on Lazada is extremely important so our biggest selling tool is maintaining an effortless shopping experience.

AA: Today’s over-50s are the so-called ‘baby-boomers’ who have grown up with marketing and advertising and have profited from social mobility, rising property values and decent employment pensions. Many of them are relatively well off but why do you think businesses are still ignoring this age group?

MH: The problem is that businesses often focus too much on the potential of millennials, but the modern day over-50 shopper has different interests. It is easy to assume that the younger generations are active online, but older shoppers are just as well-connected. Convenience is key to this age-group, so shopping online makes sense for them as it reduces the hassle of carrying heavy bags and bulky items. It also means they can shop from the comfort of their own homes.

AA: The perceived wisdom is that older people are unlikely to switch brand allegiance, how true is that?

MH: It is important for brands to understand that the boomer generation who have grown up with advertising are savvy and demanding. They will be more willing to change brands and seek out quality, convenience and value. The adoption rate might be slower but with the increase of baby boomers actively surfing online the take-up rate will slowly but surely increase over time.

AA: Are older consumers generally more resistant to online shopping? What are the issues involved, and how does Lazada intend to address them?

MH: The over 50s market is in fact one of our fastest growing demographics – with numbers growing month-on-month. Some consumers might be hesitant because they fear that online purchases are not secure or they are not sure they will get the same customer service as in-store. We understand these concerns, which is why we provide our customers with a broad range of secure payment options including cash-on-delivery, and a 24 hour customer service hotline.

AA: What are the products and services that the over-50s tend to purchase online?

MH: Our older customers spend on a wide variety of categories, particularly on home and living products and appliances including electric ovens, tables, and blenders. A large percentage of this age group also shop for health and beauty goods on Lazada, such as skincare products and they tend to shop online for their families and grandchildren as well.

AA: The blame for businesses for ignoring this age group is typically levelled at the relative youth of the average marketing professional and their supposed inability to empathise with the target audience. How can we address this issue of generation incompatibility between marketer and consumer?

MH: Older consumers are not all the same; understanding their diverse needs and lifestyles is key to targeting a more holistic customer base.




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