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Last month, Chinese e-tail giant Alibaba launched an easier-to-use version of its Taobao e-commerce app built with senior citizens in mind. Although the app has a simpler interface, elders can access the same features – such as personalized shopping suggestions and live-streamed content – as those with the original app. Taobao also added a feature that lets seniors get in touch with their families with the touch of a button. Over 30 million Taobao users are 50 or older.

We often hear about tech-driven companies clamoring to cater to millennials and Gen Z-ers. The stereotypes dictate that younger consumers are ‘digital natives’, radically different to older ‘digital immigrant’ counterparts. But is that really the case? Consider one recent telling sign of the times: the number of senior Airbnb hosts in Asia is rising faster than all other age groups. Perhaps the desire for meaningful connection might extend beyond the ages of 18–24? 😉

Also note that Taobao hasn’t used ‘simplification’ as an excuse to skimp on its core offerings. Older consumers are increasingly exhibiting the same behaviors (digital and otherwise) and have the same expectations. Cater to them, don’t pander to them!

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