Gray Is the New Black: Getting Your Share of LI’s Lucrative Mature Market

Nassau and Suffolk counties have always been desirable and diverse places to live, covering the gamut of demographic groups. But, in recent years, Long Island has been seeing a steady growth in adults over the age of fifty. And we’re not alone. Neighboring NYC predicts that by 2030, the 65+ population will surpass the school-age population for the very first time. And don’t forget the Veterans. Suffolk county boasts one of the largest populations of military veterans in the state.

On Long Island, the gray market comprises 1.1 million residents, and according to the LI Index, is poised to grow by two percent each year. Nearly a third of LI voters are 50+ and forty-six percent of seniors still work full-time. Fifty percent have been caregivers themselves. But the noteworthy statistic, when it comes to Long Island seniors, is their spending power: over $43 billion on Long Island alone.

So, if you don’t have your eye on the burgeoning gray market, get your granny glasses on now! These are not your grandmother’s grandmothers. This is a market that can move market share and make your quarter—but only if you speak their language—and do so in media they trust.

Living. Doing. Spending.

Marketers from home care to home security are seeing the value in advertising to these active agers. Many of Long Island’s seniors are active well into their 80s. In fact, the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that if a senior reaches the age of 80, they are likely to live another 8 to 10 years on average. Plus, for Long Island marketers, an increasing number of those aged 50+ are choosing to ‘age in place.’ And, those who opt to move are setting their sights on low or no maintenance senior living communities or continuing care retirement homes that are more country club initially than care facility.

According to a 2018 report from the Age of Majority, adults aged 55+ date, care about fitness, attend music concerts, embrace smart tech and streaming, and support cannabis legislation more than some Millennials! These are avid travelers, diners & entertainers, and investors. Not surprising to us at Newsday, The Age of Majority report also found that local newspapers were among the top 3 sources of information about products and services (behind family and friends and TV).

A Strategic Approach to an Elusive Target

Ironically, as plentiful as 50+ Long Islanders are, they can also be elusive. Reaching them requires the right message and the right media. As we’ve noted, newspapers are a leading source of information, and so too are mature market publications, coupon mailers, social media and live events that cater to the demographic. Seniors also appreciate the personal touch. Where possible, personalizing, customizing and segmenting by area or interest can help stimulate engagement and boost response.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when marketing to mature adults:

Use simple and relatable language to describe how your product or service will improve the quality of their lives. Steer clear of slang and social media acronyms.

Use bold design and type. Color provides contrast and larger fonts make it easier to read. On mobile, make sure buttons are big and add a close caption option to any video.

One size does not fit all. Don’t make the mistake of using the same message for your 20-year-olds as you do for your 50+ prospects. Reinforce what your product or service can do for them. Benefits selling is always about thinking “Why?” and those benefits differ at different age brackets such as 50-64 and 64-on.

Target on and offline. Multichannel is your mantra when it comes to mature marketing. Utilizing a combination of print, direct mail, digital, social and events covers all the major consumer touchpoints and can forward your message fluidly across platforms.

Sources: AARP, Pew Research, NY Population Projections Report, CDC, The Age of Majority


The news and editorial staff of Newsday had no role in the creation of this content


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.