Shopping online is not only a pronoun for young group in China, but also for the elderly. The data from Alibaba.com, the leading e-commerce company in China, showed that nearly 5 millions of elderly people over the age of 50 began online shopping during the year of 2012. Female shoppers outnumber men. Seniors in Shanghai appear to be the most active in the nation, accounting for about 10 percent of the total population, with Beijing coming next. Apparel tops are the most popular item for senior online shoppers. Nearly 9 million items of clothing have been purchased on Taobao, the country’s largest online shopping bazaar, in 2012 …
Aibama.com, one of the earliest online shopping websites targeting the senior market in China, said that both the transaction scale and the visitor numbers of the company have grown very quickly since 2009. In addition, there are more and more seniors completing the whole online shopping process by themselves. The best selling items on the website are massage vibrators and sports and entertainment equipment. This reflect two important needs of the elderly: health care products to increase the potential to live for more years, and time-killing products to make the increased longevity more enjoyable. But experts said the online shopping process in China is not very “senior-friendly” because using personal computer is still complicated to the elderly people. They suggest that online shopping websites should help the elderly by providing voice recognition software or simplify customer services that are exclusively for the old.
An unpleasant shopping environment in the real world may also be a reason pushing the elderly into the virtual one. A survey conducted found that more than 70 percent of elderly said they found most of the supermarkets are environmentally dissatisfying, with problems such as dirty toilets, incomprehensible price tags or shouting by sales assistants. Small print on price tags is the biggest worry for the elderly, followed by a fear of being perceived to be too slow and being in poor physical condition that makes long waiting times uncomfortable. One elderly complained that most malls and fashion outlets in the city are “built for her daughter’s generation”.
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