The Consumer Marketplace in an Ageing Society


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Presentation at 'Investing in the Ageing Boom: New opportunities in Singapore & Asia's vast baby-boomer market'
David Sinclair, Head of Policy and Research at International Longevity Centre UK

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The Consumer Marketplace in an Ageing Society

  1. 1. The Golden Economy<br />The Consumer Marketplace In An Ageing Society<br />David SinclairHead of Policy and Research – ILC-UK<br /><br />
  2. 2. Summary<br />The older consumer has money<br />They value good service<br />Lots of companies get it wrong<br />Age not best predictor of behaviour<br />There is money to be made by those who get it right. <br />But! Is there any such thing as “the older consumer”<br /><br />
  3. 3. We influence Government policy and debate<br />The ILC-UK was established in 2000 to explore and address the new longevity revolution and its impact on the life-course and society.<br />Think Tank<br /> Global (12 ILCs)<br /> Evidence Based<br /> High visibility around Westminster (e.g. 17events/1000 people in 2010) <br /> Engage at highest levels of Government<br /> Focussed on life-course<br /><br />
  4. 4. Some of our publications<br />
  5. 5.
  6. 6. It’s a big market<br />Older people’s spending reached an estimated £97bn in 2008 (over 65)<br />The over 50s spent £276bn in 2008. This represents 44% of the total family spending in the UK<br />For affluent countries in Asia: Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia: spending by older consumers is estimated to reach $1.5 trillion by 2015, with another $430 billion to be spent by older households in developing Asian countries (Hedrick-Wong).<br />
  7. 7.
  8. 8. The World is Ageing<br />Asia will have 859 million people aged 65 and above by 2050, up from 269 million in 2010.<br />
  9. 9. How much further will we age?<br /> Aubrey de Grey believes that human life expectancy at birth in 2100 will be 5000 years <br /> “I think the first person to live to 1,000 might be 60 already”<br />
  10. 10. Or perhaps more realistically?<br /> "In ancient times, half our children would have died by the age of 20. Now, in the western world, 98 per cent of them are surviving to the age of 21. "Our life expectancy is now so good that eliminating all accidents and infectious diseases would only raise it by two years. Natural selection no longer has death as a handy tool.“<br />
  11. 11. Singapore’s older population is now expected to age faster than Australia, South Korea, UK, USA<br />
  12. 12.
  13. 13. An ageing society means more older consumers<br />The 65+ age group now accounts for 20% of the UK consumer population (16+), and is expected to rise so that in 2030 over 65s account for 25% of the consumer market. PRFC for ILC-UK<br />The older market will grow by 81% from 2005 to 2030 while the 18-59 year old market will only increase by 7%. EU figures quoted by Stewart<br />In the UK, the number of consumers over 60 years old could increase by 40% over the next 30 years. Meneely, Burns and Strugnell (2008)<br /><br />
  14. 14. What makes a consumer an older consumer? Impact of biological ageing on consumption<br />Loss in physical strength may make opening jars/bottles more difficult<br />Older people losing mental capacity/dementia may find difficulties with problem solving or processing information. They may also find it difficult to shop around or exercise choice<br />Those housebound can be excluded from the physical marketplace<br />Ageing can make it more difficult to carry heavy weights and can also result in reduced appetite (Twofers!)<br />
  15. 15. Activities of Daily Living (Singapore)<br />Men<br />Women<br />
  16. 16. Difficulty with shopping, communicating and handling money<br />
  17. 17. Impact of social ageing in the consumer marketplace<br />Older people could assume that certain products and services aren't for them and therefore don't consider purchase<br />Older people may assume that certain technologies are for younger people and don't consider their use as a means of engaging with the consumer market<br />The media and corporate sector may strengthen the negative impact of social ageing through ageism <br />
  18. 18. Are older consumers changing?<br />“It is blindingly obvious that there is enormous difference between the seniors of yesteryear and people of the same age today.” Saga 2008<br />We have a wealthy cohort (on average) (and there are more of them) <br />Recent retirees “are more strongly defined by the impact of consumer society on their lives and expectations of post work life than previous generations”<br />There are over 150,000 workers aged over 60 in Singapore<br />
  19. 19. But is this a new phenomenon?<br /> “They have fewer ties to family responsibilities... With their homes paid for their major housing concern is for property taxes and repairs... Being essentially free from obligation, they may spend their income and assets as they wish. Here is a potential market, therefore for those marketers who wish to appeal to it. It is a new market, almost unrecognised which must be developed with care as it depends upon the changing role of older persons in our society and the realisation that they are more free than their predecessors in the past century.”<br />Dodge, 1962<br />
  20. 20. Let’s not assume older people are all the same<br />
  21. 21. If they aren't the same, how do we segment?<br />Companies use different ways to segment the market including<br />Chronological age; Generational segmentation; income; life stage; cognitive ages and vales<br />There is no such thing as a single “older consumer”<br />Chronological age is widely used a poor tool for segmenting the population<br />Some research finds that age has little impact on consumer demand<br /><br />
  22. 22. Social Participation and Age<br />
  23. 23. Yet people would like to participate more<br />
  24. 24. There are some very wealthy people not spending<br />
  25. 25. It’s not just about money.<br />
  26. 26. Distribution of net household financial wealth1: by age of household head (2006/08)<br />
  27. 27. Out of 78,116 households whose Main Income Earner is aged 65 and over, just over half (50.3 per cent) spend below $1,000 a month.<br />
  28. 28. Are older consumers ignored?<br />“Just because I’m over 60 nobody wants to sell me anything anymore” Germaine Greer <br /> “Advertisers and marketers are astonishingly neglectful of older audiences even for products primarily sold to older people” Mike Waterson, Chair World Advertising Research Centre<br />Advertising/marketing agencies rarely asked to pitch for the older consumer<br />
  29. 29. Why don’t companies target older people?<br />Perception of a lack of buying power<br />Stereotyping of older people as “powerless, ugly, dowdy or uninspiring” (alongside an obsession with youth)<br />Lack of information about older people’s sensitivity to marketing Tynan and Drayton (2008)<br />
  30. 30. But some companies are getting more interested<br /> “Coca Cola moved into the wine, coffee, tea and orange juice markets during the 1980s to capture older consumer markets who were less interested in their coke brands” Simcock and Sudbury 2006<br /> “Anheuser Busch, the largest US beer maker, attempted to reach the 50 plus age group and wound up creating one of it’s top selling brands” Green 2004<br />
  31. 31. How might an ageing society change the consumer marketplace?<br />Older people currently spend more than other ages on: drugs and healthcare; personal care; and coffee<br />They represent a significant market for new cars and travel.<br />Clothing spend declines with age<br />But less on eating out, movies, theatres, petrol and champagne<br />Certain industries will need to adapt to an ageing society<br />
  32. 32. Even beer …<br />“German beer consumption fell 2.1% in 2009 based on an ageing population”<br />
  33. 33. Household expenditure<br />
  34. 34. In Singapore..<br />
  35. 35. But perhaps we need to worry?<br />35<br />
  36. 36. Growth in expenditure (BIS)<br /><br />
  37. 37. The older consumer as giver and recipient<br />Marketers note that older consumers buy a relatively high proportion of toys (25%?) and confectionary<br />Grandparents spend £50,000 on their first grandchild (Oct 2010)<br />Younger children/grandchildren often buy for the older person<br />In other words, people aren’t always buying for themselves.<br />And in Singapore:<br />
  38. 38. Most older people live in small households (Singapore)<br />
  39. 39. Representation of older people in advertising<br />Older people, particularly women, are under-represented in advertising IPC/Simcock and Sudbury (2001)<br />There is limited evidence that older people are badly represented in advertising Simcock and Sudbury<br />We’ve started to see more examples of companies using older models (Dove)<br />Scant evidence and no consensus that using older models puts younger people off the product/service Simcock and Sudbury (2001)<br /><br />
  40. 40. Technology – an opportunity (and a challenge)<br />Around 820,000 older consumers (65+) in the UK made an internet purchase PRFC Analysis for ILC-UK (EFS 2007)<br />“In a survey of grey consumers in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea, the firm found that 90% of elderly consumers in Korea were mobile phone users, and a third of those in Hong Kong used MP3 players”. Synovate 2008<br />
  41. 41. New technology will change the older consumer<br />“One day soon the Gillette company will announce the development of a razor that, thanks to a computer microchip, can actually travel ahead in time and shave beard hairs that don't even exist yet”<br /> <br />Dave Barry<br /><br />
  42. 42. Possible technology innovations to 2050<br />2010<br />2020<br />2030<br />2040<br />2050<br />Auto-pilot cars<br />Digital mirrors<br />VR windows<br />Self clean houses<br />Face recognition doors<br />Individual pollution credits<br />Computer controlled hunger suppressant<br />Nuclear fusion<br />Prison countries <br />Holographic TV<br />Wave energy =50% in UK<br />Smart bath<br />Artificial Intelligence causes redundancies<br />Human memory enhancement<br />Global ID card<br />Active skin makeup<br />Invisibility cloak<br />Emotion control devices<br />Bionic Olympics<br />Brain downloads<br />Virtual holidays<br />Full voice recognition PCs<br />Thought input mechanisms widespread<br />Robocops<br />Hydrogen fuel stations<br />Artificial brain<br />Viewers can choose film roles<br />Human memory downloads<br />Circuits made with bacteria<br />Self drive cars<br />Tooth regeneration<br />Humanoid robots beat national football team<br />Global voting on some issues<br />Virtual displays<br />Listing of individual DNA<br />Disposable phones<br />Artificial Intelligence entity passes A level<br />
  43. 43. Technology limited by imagination<br />
  44. 44. Google knows!<br />
  45. 45. “But how much smaller do we want a phone?”<br />Some/many do but: “I don’t want to live in a smart-home – I’d rather be dead”<br />Moral and ethical debates – can’t afford to ignore them<br />Must help older people choose technology when it is right for them (tagging/urine tests)<br />
  46. 46. Inclusive design<br />
  47. 47. Can you read the menu?<br />In many European cities one of the main groups eating in restaurants are those over 50, yet very few 50 year olds are able to read a menu by candlelight with out their reading glasses. That is because the menus are usually designed by younger people in print shops, not for senior citizens. What a crazy situation: the people who the restaurants want to market to cannot read any of their sales literature. Patrick Dixon (2008)<br />
  48. 48. Shopping Around<br />Mixed evidence but in terms of insurance; <br />utilities; communications technologies, there<br />is evidence that as we get older we are less <br />likely to shop around.WHY?<br />Older people are happy with the product?<br />Difficult to calculate the benefit of switching (telecoms/utilities)<br />There are few alternatives (e.g. upper age limits)<br />Switching is a hassle<br />Reduced information processing abilities (but does experience compensate for age?)<br />But if marketers assume people don’t shop around they won’t target them.<br />
  49. 49. Direct and indirect age discrimination<br />“Interflora, Britain’s biggest flower delivery business, has been accused of ageism as their new ‘happy birthday’ balloon range only goes up to 60 years old.” <br />Telegraph, September 2010<br />
  50. 50. Ghost Town Britain (& Transport/toilets)<br />
  51. 51. Other findings<br />Limited evidence about older people and ethical consumption<br />Mixed views on brand loyalty <br />Mixed evidence on the best way to reach the older consumer<br />Incomprehensible jargon and modern phraseology a barrier to the market (esp. financial services)<br /><br />
  52. 52. Other findings<br />The end of the cheque could have a negative impact on the older consumer<br />Older consumers are often the main target for fraud, scams and mis-selling<br />Need for an age friendly retail environment: In 2009 Tesco announced it was building an older person friendly retail environment complete with wider shopping aisles and brighter lights<br /><br />
  53. 53. Other findings<br />Some Investigate! participants argued that they had less choice than when younger<br />Investigate! volunteers also highlighted access to information and advice about what was available in the consumer market <br />Examples of good customer service – but it is often poorly promoted.<br />
  54. 54. Do we need to take age out of the equation?<br />Age Neutral approach argues that: <br />An Age Neutral approach should be taken to marketing<br />Needs of older people are not that different from other adults<br />The principals of marketing to all ages are the same<br />Lifestyle or interest is going to be more important than age<br />Dick Stroud <br />
  55. 55. Summary<br />The older consumer has money<br />They value good service<br />Lots of companies get it wrong<br />Age not best predictor of behaviour<br />There is money to be made by those who get it right. <br />But! Is there such a thing as “the older consumer”?<br /><br />
  56. 56. Many thanks<br />David Sinclair - Head of Policy & Research,<br />International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK)<br /><br />Twitter: <br />@sinclairda<br />@ILCUK<br />