Lowe’s wants to help customers age in place

Photo: Getty Images/Dean Mitchell
Dec 23, 2021

Lowe’s recently formed a two-year partnership with AARP to provide strategies and information for older adults aging in their homes.

“For the past 18 months, the home has increased in importance for all of us and perhaps especially for our baby boomer customers, who are increasingly interested in aging in place in their own homes,” said Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison on the retailer’s third-quarter conference call.

AARP will provide the Lowe’s Livable Home initiative with educational content, including stories and videos, to help people make major and minor changes to living spaces that will make stairways more navigable, bathrooms and kitchens more user-friendly and support family caregivers seeking to make home updates.

Mr. Ellison said the partnership would offer solutions such as “walk-in bathtub, grab bars, stairlifts, nonslip floors, pull-down cabinets and wheelchair ramps.”

The partnership comes as pandemic-related cocooning in the U.S. inspired a huge number of households to tackle DIY home improvement projects.

AARP survey data also shows 70 percent of people 50 and older want to remain in their current homes as they age. In addition, households headed by people age 65 and older are expected to grow from 34 million to 48 million in the next 20 years, according to the Urban Institute.

“People are living longer and they want to live their best lives at every age,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins, in a statement. “Ageless homes that work for older adults are good for people of all ages, but most houses weren’t built to support our needs long term.”

Other large retailers have also begun to sell products and services specifically geared toward the aging in place demographic.

Best Buy in 2017 launched a service called Assured Living in 2017 providing in-home consultations for and installations of IoT solutions for older adults. The Assured Living program is no longer active, according to The Verge, though Best Buy continues to promote some tech devices geared specifically toward elderly users. Amazon, meanwhile, just launched an Alexa-based service geared toward aging in place.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see a focus on home improvement strategies, materials and information for older adults aging in place as the right move for Lowe’s to make? Do you see an untapped opportunity around aging in place for drug stores, consumer electronics or other channels?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
"It’s a brilliant positioning move, as Lowe’s has always catered more toward the individual than Home Depot’s courtship of the pro."
"Seniors today are aging up, not out, and are remaining more engaged and active well into their golden years."
"This is a very big idea – and I say this as the target market for what they are doing."

Join the Discussion!

16 Comments on "Lowe’s wants to help customers age in place"

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Mark Ryski

This is a large and growing market, and Lowe’s is wise to focus on it. Thanks to the aging Baby Boomers, who have both disposable income and an appetite for services, it creates opportunities for senior services across a wide array of retailers and brands. This category will continue to expand as elderly consumers’ demands for services continue to increase.

Georganne Bender

I love this. In the ’80s I heard Dr. Ken Dychtwald speak for the first time about his book Age Wave, and what the aging of America would mean to us in so many areas. Since then I have helped my parents go through the many stages of aging and will need to get ready for some of them myself.

Good for Lowe’s for making this a priority. We are living longer and healthier lives, but many of us have physical issues that we’ll never tell you about. It’s good to see a retailer leading the charge to make life easier.

David Naumann

The aging population represents a niche that retailers may not have paid special attention to with custom products and services. Many older adults can afford premium priced products and customized services and they appreciate new ideas that can help them enjoy living in their homes as long as possible. The older generation may be a prime opportunity for retailers that offer creative products and services that address their unique needs.

Jenn McMillen

It’s a brilliant positioning move, as Lowe’s has always catered more toward the individual than Home Depot’s courtship of the pro. Retailers should meet people where they are, and the pandemic has highlighted that people want to stay home.

Richard Hernandez

It’s a very smart, proactive move on Lowe’s part – people are staying in their homes longer and moving to another home is just not a viable option right now.

Shep Hyken

Lowe’s is smart to focus on the aging Boomers. This is a HUGE segment of the buying population. Catering to their needs, their buying patterns, and their lifestyle is paramount to retail success with this huge market. Other retailers should pay attention to what Lowe’s is doing.

David Spear

Most certainly this category or genre of products/services will grow consistently for many years, and it’s a smart move by Lowe’s. Several other retailers are making similar strategic moves. One of the biggest opportunities is “sensorized” products that enable digital connections so individuals can view, understand and leverage huge amounts of knowledge right at their fingertips. Retailers will be well served to not only offer unique IoT products, but also deliver analytical services in support of them. There is a long tail to this.

Dr. Stephen Needel

This is a very big idea – and I say this as the target market for what they are doing. We are trying to make a lot of these changes and it’s not easy to find USEFUL (as opposed to SALES-Y) articles about this. AARP is a great source but Lowe’s taking it on will give the issue and possible solutions much more visibility.

Bob Amster

This is a good idea with some runway, since the U.S. population is getting older. Retailers in a number of categories can take advantage of the opportunity. The sector will travel less than they did and resist the idea of senior living facilities and thus will spend more on maintaining and improving their homes.

Jeff Weidauer

This is a brilliant move by Lowe’s. Not only is home improvement for seniors a growing market but there is a tremendous need to provide a trusted service backed by a well-known brand.

DeAnn Campbell

Seniors today are aging up, not out, and are remaining more engaged and active well into their golden years. Baby Boomers still control over 70 percent of discretionary spending in the U.S. and are willing and able to spend money on products and services that help them live well and remain in their home. But at present there is still no place for people to view, test and understand how smart home products, services, monitoring devices or other “aging wellness” solutions function or work together. This is relatively untapped white space for products/services that will see surging demand in coming years, especially as services like telemedicine become more user friendly. More retailers need to develop showrooms and display systems that demonstrate how smart aging ecosystems can work to improve life at home for this growing demographic.

Cathy Hotka

The success of this program will depend on the publicity that Lowe’s can generate. A quick visit to Lowes.com doesn’t reveal it and a search for “age in place” doesn’t provide relevant results. I love the idea, but wonder about the execution.

David Slavick

Wow — everyone is on the bandwagon here. Do you think targeting the older segment of society is something new? Do you think Lowe’s Home Improvement has had difficulty “finding” older consumers in and around their store trading radius? Do you think suppliers have somehow just started manufacturing goods and services for this segment? Partnering with AARP is a natural given their credibility with this segment which by the way “starts” at 50. It used to be that retirement age had you qualified to own a membership. Becoming a trusted destination for goods and services catering to a segment of the population with particular needs and with buying power is all part of the format dynamic. In this case, seniors with specialized needs. Incorporating a service model to support the specifications, build and servicing of those needs – now that would be a very nice enhancement to this construct.

John Karolefski

I know something about this, based on forward-looking personal experience, and having checked in frequently with my Mom who died at 90. Americans are living longer and more of them would prefer to stay put rather than move. Lowe’s, other retailers and CPGs who help them will benefit with increased brand loyalty.

Gene Detroyer

I like this idea. It follows the money and the need. However the “stay in place” thought may be much smaller than suggested. When the generation before me returned they moved to Florida or Arizona. For my generation, at least for my boomer contemporaries, the desire is to stay close to family, but downsize the home. My friends in their 70s have all sold their homes and either moved to condos or apartments with little desire to keep up the demands of homeowner living.

I was a bit ahead of the curve as we sold our house in the NY suburbs and moved permanently to the city more than 20 years ago. As I said to my wife, a week or so after we settled in the city, “This is the best thing we ever did.” I still think that today.

Dave Wendland

This is an incredibly valuable collaboration that will address unmet needs of family caregivers — an underserved market, ripe for disruption.

When HRG acquired The Caregivers Marketplace™ and The Caregivers Group™ in 2005 we foresaw an emerging opportunity to address the financial, product-oriented, and service needs of the nearly one-in-four Americans caring for a loved one. Home improvement and modification has remained one of the primary pillar areas of support. Hats off to Lowe’s for recognizing this and working with AARP to deliver value.

"It’s a brilliant positioning move, as Lowe’s has always catered more toward the individual than Home Depot’s courtship of the pro."
"Seniors today are aging up, not out, and are remaining more engaged and active well into their golden years."
"This is a very big idea – and I say this as the target market for what they are doing."

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