By Thy Nguyen and Quynh Nguyen – Strategy team of VMLY&R

This article is also available in Vietnamese.

How well do you know your parents?

First, this is the question you should ask yourself: Do you know your parents? Do you pay attention to their behaviors? What do they like to buy? How much do they spend or what do they do on a daily basis?

Little do we realize how little we know about our parents and people their age. Our knowledge about them usually comes from marketing lessons that we - the digital generation - teach ourselves, that silver generation are the homely grandmas doing tai chi in the parks, drinking tea, looking after their grandchildren. 

It's time to think again. And it’s important that we do so because the over 50s are expected to account for more than 36% of the population in 2036 representing 36,485,000 consumers, making them the fastest growing, promising yet largely untapped segment of Vietnam’s population. 

Cimigo’s latest research on the silver generation reveals facts that are opposite to many preconceptions we have about older people. Too often, we are confused between the myths and facts, then we resort to assumptions and misunderstanding. 

Myth or Fact #1: They expect their children to look after them 

Children are taught to be more attentive towards their parents when seniority kicks in: giving them pocket money, bringing them good food, etc. which reinforces over time the impression that older people are incapable of self-care. The truth is silver generation are surprisingly active. Most of them are still involved in running their small business and making money, especially women. 

Fact: 79% of the silver generation have an income stream, a significant proportion of the silver generation are financially independent from their children and do not rely on them for support; supporting is a voluntary act on the children's behalf. 

Myth or Fact #2: Savings are common, but are not meant for their offspring

Savings are indeed common, but are considered as an "emergency package" rather than the future fund for their children. With rising concerns about aging, health and the unknown, Vietnamese seniors prepare for their future with substantial savings.

  • 34% have ongoing business profits.
  • 7% have life insurance, higher amongst the wealthier and those still in their 50s.
  • 86% have health insurance. State insurance is prevalent in Hanoi while in HCMC, private insurance is much more preferred.

Fact: The silver generation are taking measures to save and invest for themselves. Financial services have a great opportunity to explore the potential of this age segment.

Myth or Fact #3: The silver generation is bored and has zero passion left 

The general assumption goes that age often comes with pessimism, the older people are the more self-conscious and vulnerable they become. Yet, the results prove otherwise. It reveals that one-third of respondents actually perceive themselves younger than their actual age. 

Now with ample time on their hands, they actively find different ways to enjoy life, through travel, fashion and beauty and entertainment services.

Fact: Vietnamese seniors have a lot of passion in their heart and yearn to realize their aspirations and find different ways to enjoy life.

Myth or Fact #4: Fitness is key. Elders are in need of sport diversity.

Vietnamese fitness companies aim for young people from 25-40, as can be seen in their marketing campaigns. In doing so they overlook the growing market in the over 50s.  

  • Vietnamese seniors are very attentive towards health and wellness, especially women. 13% of their income is spent on healthcare. This silver generation segment also spends on supplements, fashion, dining out and travel.  

  • More than half exercise every day. Yet, they are limited to walking, riding bikes, or at the very best, badminton. The room for other types of fitness and sport activities is yet to be explored.

Fact: Vietnamese seniors love to get fitter, healthier and stronger. It's a great opportunity for brands in healthcare and fitness to explore services and products that cater to their needs.

Myth or Fact #5: Elders are tech-illiterate, they cannot be reached online.

They are savvy when it comes to information's authenticity. Through their children, they are introduced to technologies such as smart TVs, tablets and smartphones. While TV is still the main medium, online channels can act as supporting channels to win and convince them. Discounts and strong word of mouth are powerful triggers brands should remember while communicating to the Vietnamese silver generation. 

Fact: They are actually better at technology and are making progress to achieve higher goals in life using technology.

As the fastest growing age-segment of Vietnam's population, they have the most discretionary expenditure as their dependents have largely left the nest and become self-sufficient. They also have a lot of leisure time and aspire to lead an active lifestyle with burning aspirations. The silver generation is the ideal segment for brands and marketers to win a largely untapped segment that is, time rich and asset heavy with high disposable income. 

Download the free report here