It has led to the coining of the new term “No-no generation” in South Korea, a combination of the English word “no” and the Chinese character “no” meaning old. Combined together, the phrase refers to the elderly of today who are saying “No” to growing old.
This new silver generation defies stereotypes against the elderly by chasing youthful values -- in particular, beauty.
“Beauty is one of the basic desires of all human beings,” says Park Sung-hee, a senior researcher at Korea Trend Institute.
“Nowadays, beauty is a way of gaining competence for the elderly too, especially since they have to work longer. Gaining attention from the opposite gender has also become important, as dating among the elderly is quite common due to increasing divorce rates.”
Moreover, having been financially well prepared for their senescence, price does not matter so much as long as the products and services keeps them lively.
Statistics Korea recently predicted that the size of the domestic market for seniors will reach 148 trillion won ($131.1 billion) by 2020, over a threefold increase within a decade.
With plastic surgeries marketed as products of filial piety, the number of elderly visiting plastic surgery clinics with their sons or daughters is also increasing.
“Koreans are exceptionally sensitive about wrinkles, and are obsessed with having a baby face,” Dr. Chang Doo-yeol of Change Clinic in Cheongdam-dong told The Korea Herald.
“The most popular procedure among the elderly is lifting. From blepharoplasty that fixes droopy eyelids, or Ulthera Laser that increases overall skin elasticity, to face lifts where part of the patient’s scalp is cut out and the skin pulled upwards, the types of procedures vary greatly,” he said.
Treatments for hair loss have become more popular as well.
Not only are domestic shampoo brands like Notamo5.5 specializing in products that prevent hair loss, but cut-and-cover hair implants are also developing so that the procedures are less painful and leave fewer scars.
Well-known producer of wigs Hi-mo has been using the latest technologies, including its 3D Scanner System, to create wigs personalized for each customer.
The popularity of “down-aging” products can be witnessed in the cosmetics industry, too.
A representative from the Foundation of Korea Cosmetic Industry Institute said, “The trend nowadays is to use natural ingredients such as retinol to develop anti-aging functional cosmetics.”
Amorepacific, the leading figure in this sector, signed a memorandum of understanding with SNU Bundang Hospital in 2015 to take cooperative actions in the development of anti-aging solutions.
Its representative anti-aging products include IOPE Urban Aging Corrector and Amorepacific Epidynamic Activating Creme.
According to a report written by Kim Jae-moon, a senior researcher at LG Economic Research Institute, another core marketing strategy when targeting the elderly is to make sure their self-esteem is not hurt, citing outdoor sportswear as an example.
“Not only is outdoor wear comfortable, fashionable and long-lasting, but the fact that such products designed for the young can also be practical for them has been the major reason behind its popularity among the elderly,” said Kim.
Department stores have noticed this increasing demand for “rejuvenating fashion,” and have come up with various discounts, especially during special occasions like Parents’ Day.
Lotte Department is to hold a Sports and Health Exhibition starting from Friday to next Tuesday at its Jamsil branch, where sportswear and equipment will be discounted up to 50 percent.
By Kim Bo-gyung (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Yim Ji-min (email@example.com)