Indian Elders want to be ‘Atmanirbhar’ In Their Lifestyle, Financial, and Entertainment Choices: Antara’s State of Seniors’ Survey, Part 2

New Delhi | 14th January 2021: Antara, a part of the $3 bln Max Group, today, released the second part of findings of its survey titled ‘State of Seniors’. The survey, a first of its kind, attempts to bring out insights on the lives, aspirations, preferences, opinions, and the consumer behaviour traits of seniors in urban India. The findings come at an opportune time since India is beginning to experience major demographic shifts with a growing senior population. It is critical to understand this cohort better to offer them professional and specialized services, in line with their evolving needs, enabling a healthy and happy ageing experience. 

The survey was conducted across urban India, with a focus on the North (Delhi-NCR), the West (Mumbai & Pune), and the South (Chennai, Bangalore & Hyderabad), covering over 2,000 seniors aged 55 and above. The research was conducted in collaboration with Access Media International, an established strategic consulting and publishing firm, over a period of two and a half months from October to the first week of December in 2020. 

Seniors have always been typecast as a sacrifice-all population. Having spent most of their working life saving for their children’s education, marriage, and housing, they are now prioritizing their own needs and wants as opposed to a sedentary way of life. The second part of the survey, looks at the evolving lifestyle of seniors in India. The first part of the survey was released in December 2020. Some key latest findings are:

At 65%, leisure travel tops as a lifestyle spending preference amongst seniors 

With leisure travel emerging as the top lifestyle spending preference for seniors, there is a radical shift in their life choices. As the survey delves deeper into the lifestyle and social connectivity choices made by seniors, we witness the shift in trends. There has been a significant change when it comes to the savings habit of seniors. From being a sacrifice-all population, this cohort now has the aspiration and the financial means to fulfil their wants. They are now willing to spend more to fund and maintain their standard of living.

The survey clearly reflects this trend as over 65% of the seniors have indicated their desire to undertake leisure travel, followed by entertaining friends and family and eating out in that order.

64% seniors want to work beyond retirement age

Seniors in India have traditionally been a dependent demographic, post investing their life’s earnings on their kids, a stable home, etc. They often depend on the Indian joint family milieu to support them. According to the survey findings, this trend is changing. The Indian elderly population is willing and looking for opportunities to work well into their silver years to become more financially independent.

Nearly 27% of seniors expressed a desire to work till the age of 70-75 and 37% of seniors till their last moment. This also highlights the need for gradually raising the retirement age in India.

At 57%, mental peace, a key reason to work beyond retirement

In addition to the financial stability and independence, 57% of seniors want to continue working beyond the retirement age for mental satisfaction. Many believe that the immediate change in lifestyle caused by the sudden increase of time at hand can be jarring, and result in productivity anxiety kicking-in for some people. In fact, about 61% respondents stated that they believe continuing work would be a better option as opposed to sitting at home. About 16% said they want to work because they were clueless about what their life would be without work.  

Technology no more just a young person’s game; at 77%, chatting is the top smartphone activity, shopping at a surprisingly high 34%

The prevalent opinion is technology is for the young. This no more seems to be the norm. Elders are increasingly exploring new age technology media and use their phones for more than just a simple call or text message. The survey uncovers the rising adoption, familiarity, and use of digital platforms, modern tech devices and applications among the senior population.

The survey reveals that nearly 77% of seniors use their smartphones for messaging and chatting purposes -the primary use for most respondents. Over 53% respondents also use their phones for work related emails, etc. A promising finding for the e-commerce sector is the relatively high levels of adoption of online shopping at 34%.

Technology was a boon for seniors during the pandemic and lockdown. Smartphones helped seniors beat COVID-19-induced social isolation and stay in touch with their family and children, a major concern expressed by seniors in India during the lockdown.

The elders are watching OTT platforms! Amazon Prime and Netflix top the charts

Seniors are also keeping up with the shifting trend from the traditional TV to OTT platforms. Over the Top (OTT) platforms have found a wider audience base as cinema halls remained closed across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The regional language friendly content, subtitles, direct to screen content at competitive prices makes for a great viewing experience. Additionally, the fact that a lot of old, hard to get content is being revived on these platforms offers an added, nostalgic bonus. This signifies a clear shift from the cable and dish based appointment viewing to on-demand viewing.

Amazon Prime is the most popular source of entertainment amongst OTT channels watched by 66% of respondents, followed by Netflix at 52%. Other popular entertainment channels include News channels, YouTube, Hotstar Disney, Zee5, among others.

Senior assisted living programs, the way to go for 48% seniors in India

Despite being an established and accepted industry across the world, senior care services are still at a nascent stage in India. This can be attributed to various reasons such as a young population, close knit-family structures, social stigma, etc. The survey shows this perception is changing, and rapidly. 48% of seniors consider senior care facilities as a ready-made social community, an acceptable living option. They believe that it provides them with the comfort and access to a community of like-minded individuals, thereby increasing their mental satisfaction by making them feel understood.

The COVID-19 outbreak and an increase in the senior population in India is helping senior care services find wider adoption and acceptance among the senior population in India. The survey respondents echoed the sentiment that assisted living in India is evolving, with close to 45.4% of them saying that senior care is still an emerging concept in India while appreciating the fact that it helps them take care of their health and social needs.

Commenting on the survey findings, Rajit Mehta, MD, and CEO, Antara said “The study is a first of its kind that focuses on understanding the challenges and needs of urban middle-class seniors. As India, a young nation grows older, its senior population is evolving. No more are the Indian elderly a docile cohort, thinking of everybody but themselves. Their needs and aspirations have come a long way. They now want to be active contributors in the economy, want to lead a life with dignity, and become more ‘Atmanirbhar’.

The insights we received from this survey charts the direction India needs to take to ensure a better quality of life for its seniors. A vision Antara is committed to, by providing a seamless experience through a blend of lifestyle and lifecare solutions tailored to suit their needs”.

As seniors become a larger part of the Indian population, their evolving lifestyle needs offer greater economic opportunity for the country. We need to create an environment conducive to it. As seniors evolve, India as a country needs to progress with them, provide tailor-made solutions that cater to their growing interest in newer areas, which will open-up newer markets.

It is essential we understand these needs in order to appropriately address them. Studies like these can help us understand the new, nuanced senior cohort emerging in India.

The highlights of the first part of the survey released earlier, have been:

●     77% of seniors in the survey said that they are currently living independently in their own/rented houses

●     Over 70% believe in buying Made-in-India goods & services, although the results showed great divergence between the South & the North

●     Most seniors in the survey believe that the current state of our economy & unemployment are the biggest issues that India needs to address now

●     More than half of seniors in the survey said that India has done its best to handle the COVID-19 pandemic

●     Fear of the virus infection and social isolation were the two big concerns for seniors during the lockdown

The detailed findings of the first part of the survey are available through this link:

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