Go to contents

Mature Customers Loosen their Purse Strings and Lead the Market

Mature Customers Loosen their Purse Strings and Lead the Market

Posted April. 15, 2004 23:12,   


As the lights came on, middle-aged men and women began to stand up, wiping tears from their faces. This was the scene in a cinema where Taegeukgi, a record-breaking blockbuster, was screened.

“As the feature film was geared toward the senior audience, we invited customers of Samsung Electronics and Kookmin Bank in their 60s and 70s to a preview,” movie producer Show Box said.

Goods and services catering to mature-aged customers are hitting the market en masse. Once dominated by teenagers, the consumer trend is gradually veering toward a middle-aged and senior clientele. The ongoing economic recession has boosted the importance of this sector’s purchasing power.

Svenson Hair Center saw the number of customers in their 40s and 50s rise to 19.8 percent, compared with 10 percent last year.

“We charge a pricey fee of four million won,” said Yi Young Hee, Svenson’s general director. “More and more middle-aged and senior citizens care about their appearance.”

Cosmetic and food companies have recently introduced ginseng and herbal products in waves, looking for their share in the mature-aged market.

Hongsamsu, Nongshim’s new drink, is now priced at 4,000 won for a two-liter bottle. The company expects that people in their 40s and 50s, who have developed a craving for ginseng, will be the new product’s main consumers.

Hanpuri, introduced by CJ Newt in January, is expected to net 10 billion won this year. “It is relatively pricey as it costs 2,950 won a bottle,” said the company’s brand manager, Kim Tae-yeol. “Many mature customers are buying it for their well-being.”

Korea Red Ginseng by Lotte, One Century-old Samsam by Namyang, and Pleasant Morning Red Ginseng by Dongwon are all Hanpuri products.

Amorepacific Corp. has relaunched Seolhwasoo, an herbal cosmetic product, for the first time in seven years, and is breeding loyal customers amongst celebrities in 40 and older. The Who by LG Chem, Sein by Koreana, and Sanshim by Hankook Cosmetics all cater to middle-aged females.


Healthy pastries are popular too. Hotel Plaza is selling tomato, wine and black bean pastries and Hotel Lotte silkworm and cuitosan pastries.

Max Movie, an online movie and performance ticket seller, attributes 30 percent of the ticket sales of “Tageuki” and “Silmido,” two recent movie hits, and Mama Mia, a theatrical hit, to mature customers.

An analysis of upper one-percent customers by Lotte Department Store finds that the number of such customers in their 40s to 60s rose by 6.1 percent during the first quarter of the year. Their spending rose by six percent during the same period. Lotte.com, the department chain’s e-retailer, puts their per-shopping spending at 240,000 won, surpassing the average of 150,000 won.


“Mature-aged customers are now spending not only on their children but also on themselves,” said Park Jeong-hyun, a senior researcher at LG Economic Research Institute. “Changes in their lifestyle deserve to be called ‘maturism’.” “Maturism” refers to a trend by mature costumers to actively search for their own brands, catering to their own life in a consumer market dominated by the younger generation

Park indicated an upscale iron by Siemens of Germany and a home beer brewing machine by Seb of France as based on the maturist market concept, catering to mature customers.

Im-Sook Ha artemes@donga.com