Businesses and the Older Consumer – Turning Silver into Gold

February 04, 2015, 6:00 AM GMT+0

In collaboration with the Consumer Insights Panel and KPMG – a forum of thought leaders with extensive FMCG experience – YouGov has published findings which explore the nature of an ageing population and the effect this could have on consumer businesses.

In essence, the report reveals that it is high time that businesses focused on the increasingly lucrative mature market. The image of older consumers should be reconsidered as should the way businesses represent them.

Money to spend

With mortgages paid off and children having moved out, seniors are now far wealthier than their predecessors. And what’s more, they’re keen to spend. Six in ten of those over 70 feel positive about their finances, as opposed to a third of those under 50. 42% of the same group feel positive about the money they have available to buy luxuries, compared to 29% of 20-49 year olds.


Advertisers could well benefit from giving more thought on how to appeal to older consumers. The under-40s is the only age group to feel they are well-reflected in TV advertising, and there is general agreement that advertising is youth-obsessed. Over half (53%) of 70+ year olds and 38% of 50-69 year olds agree that you don’t often see people their age appearing in ad campaigns.


The older consumer is willing to invest time, effort and money into making decisions on purchasing. It is an outdated and patronising notion to suggest older customers will struggle with online technology. Tablet ownership is actually higher among the over 55s than the under 55s. Crucially, 86% of over 55s regularly shop online while over a third (37%) of those aged 70 and over use online methods to find out more about food or other household products.

Louise Vacher, Consulting Director at YouGov commented on the findings: ‘The research highlights a major issue in the way older consumers are represented in advertising. Outdated stereotypes need to be reconsidered. Portraying older consumers in advertising to promote ‘everyday products’ would be a welcome change, instead of products aimed specifically at them.

How consumer focussed businesses react to the opportunity the research highlights, will help shape their success or otherwise in the years ahead. Businesses need therefore to adopt a coherent strategy across a variety of channels, including digital in order to capitalise and appeal clearly to the older market.”

This article originally appeared in City A.M.


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