The “population pyramid” illustrates the distribution of age groups in a country’s or region’s population. It has been a useful tool for social scientists, public health care experts, marketers, and others who track population trends like birth and death rates. However, as people live longer, the shape is no longer really a pyramid; it more closely resembles a tent.

We think the pyramid illustration is partly to blame for underestimating the importance of seniors as a target audience. This segment of the population often is neglected by companies and politicians. Companies tend to invest in “young people,” “Millennials,” or “families” as their main target groups.

The pyramid idea falsely perpetuates the notion that the older groups at the top of the chart are small and not valuable. When in fact people age 55 and older are a huge and attractive group of consumers. In Sweden, this group has grown to 3.5 million people, which is one-third of the population. Furthermore, they hold 37% of Sweden’s disposable income and own 70% of the capital.

From a marketer’s perspective, this is a pretty interesting target group.

The size of the 55+ population has ballooned, and they are one of the most affluent target markets, living longer, and staying active. Marketers who ignore this audience of “social seniors” may be missing valuable opportunities.
The size of the 55+ population has ballooned, and they are one of the most affluent target markets, living longer, and staying active. Marketers who ignore this audience of “social seniors” may be missing valuable opportunities.

Expressen decided to examine this issue and make sure we were not missing out on a huge business opportunity simply due to a misrepresentation of the data. We analysed our print newspaper market and found that, yes, our readers are getting older — a lot older. But they also are affluent and much more active than people over age 55 used to be.

Today, the average consumer of Expressen is 60 years old and their interests vary. By learning more about them, their interests, economic status, needs, and values, we were able to increase our revenue and market share.

Utilising the latest in data analysis and some new tools, we set off to attract two increasingly important groups of readers: social seniors and females. We started to monitor how much time a reader spends on every single page. We compared the total read time every day of the week. Demographics showed how many female readers Expressen print had on a daily basis. We’ve reached 60% on a single day.

We analysed the findings in depth, and several news insights allowed us to offer a tailor-made product for social seniors and women. For example, we started to produce content that reflects the values they seek and inspire positives changes in their lives, such as:

  • A newspaper that sides with its audience.
  • Improving health.
  • Help with personal finances.
  • Interviews with credible people.
  • Elderly celebrities that our audience has grown up with.
  • Classic moments in sports history and coverage of sports social seniors enjoy (Formula One, golf, and tennis) instead of just football.

As a result of this data analysis and shift in content strategy, Expressen was able to increase its market share in a time of a diminishing market. The results have been encouraging:

  • A 40% uplift in reading time.
  • Female readers increased 3.7%.
  • First year we hit budget by +7.2%.
  • A 2.1% increase in revenue compared to the previous year — unheard of in modern times in the print market.

Social seniors are a huge and attractive target group. When companies neglect this group of people, they miss out on revenue and business opportunities.