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What is a Senior Discount?

By Kate Monteith
Updated Feb 16, 2024
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A senior discount is a lower price offered to people who have reached a certain mature age, known as senior citizens. The age of eligibility for senior discounts depends on who is making the offer. Discounts for seniors can begin at any age after 50, but some organizations offer special prices only to people over 60 or 65.

Lower prices always attract more customers, and senior discounts have been around for many years. Perceptive vendors and business-owners know that special offers for seniors can benefit both the seller and the customer, because lower prices increase the buying power of senior citizens as a group. Even small discounts can help stretch the limited income of the elderly consumer. Additionally, businesses that appeal directly to older people can generate goodwill and loyalty among their customers.

Many businesses specifically target their marketing efforts to entice seniors to take advantage of special discount offers. In particular, businesses that sell products used most by older people will offer a senior discount as a courtesy. Eyeglasses, hearing aids, pharmaceuticals, and hospital equipment are commonly discounted for the elderly. Customers can save a bundle just for proving they are past a certain mature age.

Many older people depend on senior citizen discounts to help extend a fixed budget. Eligibility for lower prices can sometimes require a few compromises, however. For example, the “Early Bird Special” at many restaurants requires seniors to show up an hour or more before the usual dinner crowd to get a deep senior discount. Additionally, some stores will offer senior prices only on certain weekdays when younger people are working and unable to shop.

The Internet has provided a convenient way for seniors to get discounts. Savvy web surfers can pick up bargains on clothes, trips, cars, appliances, and more. Some online stores will even waive shipping and handling charges for older customers. The age of eligibility for an online senior discount can vary, but most stores usually set the age around 50 or 55.

Smart people over 50 know they should always ask for a senior discount. Many stores and restaurants will gladly knock off a percentage of the bill, even if they don’t advertise a bargain price for seniors. It’s all part of the time-tested marketing strategy known as generating customer goodwill. A business compromises very little to offer a senior discount, but the goodwill generated amongst the elderly population is priceless.

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