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Best Agers – a market for the future

Best Ager

5 Mar 2024

What makes Best Agers an attractive target group for retailers and what needs to be considered when addressing them?

When talking about Best Agers, we generally think of people who are in the second half of their lives. But don’t think this group is as uniform as it might appear at first glance. Quite the contrary: It is incredibly diverse. The common denominator here is that the term Best Ager describes a type of shopper who is characterised by a particular lifestyle and is identified as financially secure due to higher life expectancy and decent income.

In this article you’ll find out why it is particularly exciting for retailers to appeal to this target group and the clever marketing strategies they can use to do so.

Ein älterer Mann mit einer älteren Frau mit Körben in der Hand

Who is a Best Ager?

Best Agers are individuals who are “in their prime”. Membership of the group is determined on the basis of age – normally from 50–55 years upwards. Other factors are also taken into account, such as physiological age (degree of age-related physical limitations), psychological age (limitations in mental abilities) and psychosocial age (level of social contact). Household composition, individual lifestyle and, above all, financial circumstances also play an important role. As there are major differences in terms of age as well as physical and mental condition, it is useful to break down the Best Agers target group into different sub-groups:

Grafik: young Best Ager, active Best Ager und passive Best Ager

However, these categories are not set in stone. Obviously, some Young Best Agers may already have physical or psychological problems, and many over-70s today are fitter than ever. Overall, society is currently experiencing a significant change in terms of its definition of age. The perception of ageing is shifting and this is having an impact on the economy, society and consumption. The 50+ age group is not looking towards a passive retirement. Instead, many over-55s see themselves as being in their prime right now since they can afford things for which they previously had neither the time nor money. While previous generations were increasingly reliant on making economies in their later years, the new Best Agers want to enjoy the prosperity they have achieved and realise long-held wishes. This change in the perception of age as well as the diverse interests and activities of Best Agers make addressing this target group extremely exciting for retailers.

What makes Best Agers an attractive target group

Demographic strength

The Best Ager generation, also known as “Baby Boomers”, “Generation X” or “Silver Agers”, represents an important target group for many retail organisations. One of the reasons why it is so interesting is its demographic strength. It is currently the largest age group in Western society and is growing rapidly due to a declining birth rate and increasing life expectancy. In short: Germany is ageing rapidly. In 1950, around 10% of the country’s population was aged 65 and over. By 2021, this had risen to more than a fifth (22%), according to the Federal Statistical Office.

Grafik: age structure of the German population 2021 in comparison to 1950

If we look to the future and consider Europe as a whole, the rapid ageing of the population becomes even clearer. The comparison below shows that the base of the age pyramid, i.e. the younger age groups, will shrink, while the older age groups will increase.

Grafik: age structure of the EU population 2021 in comparison to 2050

A shift in age structure can also be observed on a global level. In the leading industrialised nations, people over the age of 60 comprise around 20% of the total population today, compared to only around 12% in 1950. By 2050, this proportion will rise to almost a third of the population on average in western industrialised nations. In Japan, people over the age of 60 will in fact make up around two-fifths of the total population. Retail companies must therefore make themselves “demographic-proof” and utilise their opportunities.

Grafik: percentage of best agers in various industrial nations

Best Agers today enjoy better health, a higher level of education and more financial independence than ever before. However, you cannot generalise for all people over the age of 50. The pandemic has also undoubtedly negatively affected the lives of many in this age group in terms of employment and financial loss.

High purchasing power

Best Ager: financial strong, active consumers and high purchasing power

“This means that the purchasing power of the demographically strongest target group is reaching an unprecedented level.”

From an advertiser’s perspective, Best Agers who live in financially secure circumstances are particularly interesting. They usually have above-average per capita income as they have generally been working for years, and their children may already be able to support themselves. The 50+ generation is not only able to purchase products and services, but also shows a high willingness to spend their income on consumer goods. The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) predicts that the purchasing power of the 50+ generation will increase by at least 40% by 2050.

Strong brand loyalty

Best Ager: loyal, quality-conscious and more leisure time

Best Agers also tend to favour brands and products that they already know and trust. Brand loyalty is very high among Best Agers and they usually favour established brands. This offers retailers the opportunity to build long-term and profitable customer relationships. In addition, they often exert an influence on their children and grandchildren. As opinion leaders, they give advice to other consumers on purchasing decisions. Best Agers are also happy to buy higher-priced goods if they meet their needs. The philosophy is: “You get what you pay for”. Discerning Best Agers are interested in quality and sustainability. However, retailers should bear in mind that they will also quickly reject a brand as soon as it no longer meets their requirements.

Staying active

Best Ager: healthy, fit and staying young

Best Agers often have more free time and are motivated to fill this time with activities and consumption. They are looking for opportunities to deepen their interests and hobbies and gain new experiences. Against this background, maintaining good health becomes increasingly important and they are willing to invest in products and services that contribute to their well-being. This offers companies the opportunity to offer products and services that are intelligently tailored to these needs and preferences.

What should be taken into consideration when addressing Best Agers?

Respect is particularly important when addressing Best Agers. Retail companies should always use a respectful and friendly tone and avoid stereotypical depictions of older people. When addressing them, it is crucial to present age as something positive. A number of synonyms are commonly used for “Best Ager” in this context, such as “Silver Ager”, “Generation Gold”, “Golden Ager”, “Third Ager”, “Master Consumer” and “Silver Surfer”. These alternatives can be used to avoid the term “old”.  In his Podcast episode, futurologist Andreas Reiter explains what needs to be taken into consideration when addressing this group.

“When addressing this target group, it is particularly important to show appreciation of and empathy for their needs. For example, terms such as “old” are avoided in marketing texts and “mature” is used instead. Experience should be emphasised, not age.”

Andreas Reiter, Zukunftsforscher und Direktor, ZTB Zukunftsbüro

Reiter emphasises how important it is to address Best Agers in a differentiated way. As already mentioned, Best Agers are not a homogeneous group. Different interests, lifestyles and health conditions require an appropriate approach to the individual needs and concerns of customers. For example, retailers with products and services that contribute to health and well-being can highlight this in their communications. Essentially, however, retailers should respond to the diverse interests of Best Agers with an equally diverse product range. Retailers can find out here what they need to consider when strategically designing their product range.

In order to present the diversity of those interests appropriately, advertising needs to use relevant images and scenes. These include, for example, the depiction of Best Agers in various life situations and activities. Here, too, straightforward and uncomplicated messages should be used. Clear imagery and coherent statements address the target group effectively. Furthermore, seriousness, reliability and trustworthiness should be at the centre of any advertising. Unrealistic promises can have a negative impact on purchasing decisions.

An example of a company that specifically addresses best agers in its marketing strategy is Vorwerk with its Thermomix brand. Due to its user-friendliness and ability to combine various functions in one appliance, the Thermomix multicooker is particularly popular with Best Agers. In addition, Best Agers are particularly interested in food and enjoy cooking, which opens up clear opportunities for retailers. Vorwerk has recognised that Best Agers are an important target group and has therefore taken specific measures to address them. These include, for example, the provision of age-appropriate, healthy recipes and cookery courses.

Best Ager are cooking together

Customer service

Depending on the narrative, suitable and interesting shop concepts can be compelling. Clearly presented worlds of experience are definitely likely to excite Best Agers. Concept stores have particular potential here. Disabled access, well trained staff, hygienic and secure transaction processes can also determine the success of a business. Loyalty programmes and discount systems can also be introduced to reward customer loyalty. A significant difference between the Best Ager generation and the younger generation lies in the value placed on customer service. Excellent customer service that caters to the individual needs of Best Agers helps to create long-lasting customer relationships. This includes personal advice in store, delivery and repair services and easily accessible hotlines. You can find useful tips on how individual customer experience processes can be optimised in the article AI in retail.

Which sectors particularly interest Best Agers?

“The product range for Best Agers is huge. In principle, anything that enhances their lives is of interest to Best Agers. This includes travel, but also making their own home more attractive [...]”

Andreas Reiter, futurologist and director, ZTB Zukunftsbüro

This target consumer group wants pleasure and enjoyment, with luxury and comfort taking centre stage. High-quality clothing, luxury travel, sport and fitness are of great importance to most Best Agers. They are also interested in interiors and furnishing, education and financial services. Home and travel accessories that enhance comfort, as well as personal accessories such as bags and fashion jewellery, represent the ideal product mix for Best Agers.

Even if retailers don't stock these items, they can still attract Best Agers as a target group by offering high-quality products. Best Agers like to follow trends but are also discerning consumers who prioritise quality over quantity.

Grafik: Culture, travel, luxury goods, finance, cosmetics, health, interiors, food, education

Online retail and Best Agers: How do these two fit together?

“Almost 64% of the 50+ generation place orders on the internet at least once a month.”

Although Best Agers value high-street retail and the fact that it involves direct, personal contact, the pandemic has shown that their willingness to shop online has increased. According to a study by the Institute for Retail Research (IFH) in Cologne, older target groups are increasingly turning to online shopping.

 “Silver Surfer” has become a familiar term in the context of the internet usage of Best Agers. Young Best Agers, i.e. 50 to 65-year-olds, are often still active in their professional lives. Their daily routine is highly digitalised and involves the use of social media. In today’s world, a strong online presence and a user-friendly website with easy-to-understand language is therefore particularly important. Although the current generation of over-50s did not grow up with the internet, they have experienced the digital revolution and now enjoy using smartphones and tablets on social networks such as Facebook. Initially, social media were dominated by younger people, but Best Agers are now the biggest age group on platforms such as Facebook. This makes social networks interesting for retail companies aiming to target Best Agers.

An elderly Asian couple on smartphones and tablets, laughing together

Customer reviews and recommendations can also boost the confidence of potential shoppers. Older customers may be sceptical about an online purchase if the product information or images are not sufficient to answer their questions. Clear and transparent return policies are also important so as not to put off Silver Surfers. Product pages should use compelling images and provide multiple views of the product. Videos can also be an extremely effective format. By catering to different preferences in terms of information, images and videos, online retailers can boost the confidence of Best Agers, a target group that is increasingly digitally savvy. Online retail and Best Agers are a promising combination for the future.


The over-50s generation is an extremely diverse and affluent target group. They are discerning consumers who prioritise quality over quantity. They are characterised by high purchasing power, loyalty and a wide range of interests. Addressing this target group requires empathy, respect and a differentiated approach due to the different age groups. The retail sector is being shaped by addressing and supporting Best Agers. Retail companies that recognise this development and adapt accordingly can be successful in the future, because the “silver market” is a market of the future.


  • Due to their high purchasing power, strong brand loyalty and activity, Best Agers represent an attractive target group for retailers.
  • Respectful and clear communication is crucial for successfully addressing Best Agers.
  • The willingness to shop online is increasing, which is encouraging retailers to strengthen their digital presence.