Penny’s Re-Do Maybe Bad for Nevada County’s Economy

Russ Steele

In the Saturday mail was a new “J C Penny’s”  catalog that was just JCP.  Ellen thought the cloths in the catalog were targeted to young families, rather than a more mature market that resides in Nevada County.

We had dinner with some friends Saturday night and the new J C Penny’s image and marketing scheme became part of our conversation.  It seems that J C Penny’s, now JCP, has adopted a new marketing strategy.  They have stopped mailing out discount coupons and have adopted a Facebook marketing strategy.  If you now want a JCP discount coupon you have to log on to Facebook and down load that coupon, no more in the mail coupons.

Here is the economic issue at I see it. We have a very large senior population in Nevada County, more folks over sixty than any other county in California, according to one report that I read. My concern is how many of the those over sixty folks are actually going to be logging into Facebook for coupons.   Here is a chart of Facebook demographics.

 Less that 5% of Facebook users are over 55.  If those statistics hold true in Nevada County, then fewer people will be shopping for bargains at JCP.  We have many tech savvy friends, in our over 60s age group, who use computers, laptops, iPads, smart-phones and Kindles, including some of the new color Kindles. None of these friends are major Facebook users, and most do not even have a Facebook account.

While changing Penny’s image, targeting younger audiences, may be good for Penny’s it may not be a good marketing strategy for a community with thousands of seniors. About 26% of Nevada County’s population is over 60 year of age. That is about 26,000 folks. If only half goes cloths shopping, that is about 13,000 buyers, and only 5% of those 13,000 may have Facebook accounts, or about 650 potential coupon carriers. Penny’s sure knows how to limit their market potential in Nevada County.

The question is,  will we even have a Penny’s in Grass Valley in two years?


About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

2 Responses to Penny’s Re-Do Maybe Bad for Nevada County’s Economy

  1. Dixie Redfearn says:

    Russ, those stats don’t fit the reality I know. Scores of my friends from Nevada County who are over 55 ARE on Facebook. I had heard some time ago that older people were FB’s fastest growing demographic. And if you read the catalogue it also said that the first and third Fridays would be unadvertised sales. I think Nevada County’s JCP will be just fine.

  2. Russ says:


    Where did you get your stats on seniors being the fastest growing group on Facebook?

    I found some on Pew Research and yes, the 50-55 group went from 9% in 2008 to 20% in 2010. Over the same period the 65+ group went from 2% to 6%. You may be right, I may be the victim of small numbers. I need a larger group of friends.

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