Consumption patterns and silver marketing: An analysis of older consumers in Malaysia

Fon Sim Ong, J. Philip Kitchen*, Ata Jami

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the expenditure patterns of grey or older consumers with comparisons among different demographic groups to establish important factors in terms of consumption behaviour. The findings are of relevance in the context of marketing to older consumers. Design/methodology/approach Based on non-probability quota sampling, 1,500 older people from three ethnic groups in eight geographical regions in Peninsular Malaysia participated in the survey. Findings Research results show that these consumers spent most on food, followed by rent, fuel and power in that order. These categories of items accounted for 67 per cent of their monthly expenditure, leaving relatively little disposable or discretionary income for other potential purchase decisions. With an exception of items such as healthcare expenses, and food and beverage away from home, there were hardly any significant differences in terms of monthly expenditure patterns among the grey market in Malaysia. Research limitations/implications Limited to research in one developing country, i.e. Malaysia, whose population is showing aging patterns in the demographic mix, similar to those in advanced industrial/post industrial economies. The findings, and indeed the research approach, can be compared cross culturally. Practical implications Illustrates the value and significance of demographic variables in analysing a complex societal phenomenon. Also indicates the need for marketing strategies targetted toward this growing sector of the Malaysian economy. Originality/value The first paper to consider the marketing implications in research and practical terms to address issues of aging in developing economy. Research concerning older consumers (i.e. the grey cosumer market) is growing in academic and managerial importance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)682-698
Number of pages17
JournalMarketing Intelligence & Planning
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 24 2008


  • Decision making
  • Malaysia
  • Market segmentation
  • Marketing management
  • Marketing opportunities
  • Older consumers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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