More seniors take to online shopping

More seniors take to online shopping

SINGAPORE - More elderly people are shopping online and they are big spenders.

They tend to go for home appliances, food items or office wear and spend more on each order than younger consumers.

The number of shoppers over 50 years old at fashion e-retailer Zalora Singapore grew by half last year from 2013.

Lazada, an online mall that was launched here last May, said traffic from shoppers over 55 has been doubling month on month. Its oldest shoppers are in their 80s.

Retailers say older folk are becoming more familiar with the process of online shopping and like the convenience of having goods delivered to their doorstep with just a few clicks of the mouse.

"They may also be influenced by their children, who are probably in their 20s - a demographic group that is very passionate about online shopping," said Mr Masaya Ueno, director of Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Asia.

Ms Dione Song, managing director of Zalora Singapore, noted that older customers, who tend to have a higher disposable income, spend an average of $75 on each order.

Those aged below 25 - the bulk of the retailer's customer base - spend an average of $63.

Retired financial controller Susan Liou, 64, started shopping online about two years ago and now frequents sites such as Groupon, Qoo10 and Lazada.

"It's convenient. I can sit at home in my pyjamas and shop, instead of wasting time in traffic to get to a mall," she said.

"Some things are also cheaper online."

Ms Liou admitted that she had "a bit of fear" initially when she first ventured into online shopping, making mistakes like keying in the wrong credit card number.

Retailers are doing more to educate older shoppers on the know-how of online shopping.

Mr Martell Hardenberg, co-founder and managing director of Lazada Singapore, said his staff once spent two hours explaining the site to a couple of elderly women who walked into Lazada's office, looking for a food steamer they had seen in an online ad.

"Clicking through our website and seeing that we have several 'floors' of products, they had mistakenly thought that our office was an actual mall," he said.

For about three months until January this year, Zalora had a pop-up store at Ion Orchard where customers could try on clothes before buying online.

Ms Song said: "Having a physical store helped them overcome the usual hassles and constraints pertaining to online shopping, such as the inability to try as well as sizing issues."

mellinjm@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on March 10 2015.
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