The Value of Older Consumers

Tipping sacred cows for fun and profit. The value of older consumers.

It’s official. If you’re older than 46, MOST advertisers are ignoring you. Why? Because conventional wisdom says you are an old bat? Probably. Conventional wisdom (and the ever-wise media) says older consumers wear black socks with Bermuda shorts, hate change, and can’t use a computer mouse while younger consumers are cool, hip, social media aware, and have lots of disposable income.

Like most sacred cows, some assumptions are meant to be tipped.

A recent study by Nielson advises marketers to ignore Boomers and older consumers at their own risk. Boomers, who are 46 to 64 years old, have money. In fact, they defy conventional wisdom and “have shown a willingness to try new brands and products.” Boomers are even enthusiastic technology adopters.

Buying into the conventional wisdom about this customer segment is done at your own risk. Nielson estimates boomers spend 38.5 percent of their dollars on consumer packaged goods – yet less than 5 percent of advertising dollars are currently targeting adults 35-64 years old. That represents a potentially huge lost opportunity.

Another study from McKinsey finds that people over the age of 55 will drive two-thirds of all growth in consumer spending in France over the next two decades. They will account for all of the increase in recreation, food eaten at home, utilities, gasoline, and for 33%of the increase in electronics. We will likely see a similar trend in the U.S.

Older really can be better – for your company. What are your leaders doing to remain relevant to older consumers? How will your leaders satisfy the needs and wants of this often ignored yet critically influential market?