Golden oldies or the forgotten generation?

They have money, time and will travel. They’re growing at an unprecedented rate and should be firmly on the radar of more brands.

They are the ‘mature’ (60+) consumers. And, by 2047, it is predicted they will number more than two billion worldwide. For the first time in history there will be more ‘older’ people than children aged under 16.

With these evolving demographics in mind, coupled with the fact that this cohort is the first to have lived through the digital revolution, Piper recently carried out some research to understand more about them. We focused on women nationwide (both working and non-working) between the ages of 60-80, seeking their views on a number of topics, from beauty and travel, leisure and fitness to relationships and self-confidence.

Brands underestimate the mature market at their peril. More than half of those questioned believe brands don’t realise how much money they have to spend and that advertising portrays their generation negatively.

These ladies are digitally literate, with 60% using the internet for shopping. They book restaurants online, taxi with Uber and hunt down the cheapest flights on price comparison sites. Nearly three quarters (72%) aged 60-70 have a smart phone, along with 61% of 71-80 year olds. Half use apps on their phone, with 17% making purchases from brands’ apps.

After 70, more women are accepting of the impact of age on their appearance. As they get older, these women say they are looking for beauty solutions to ageing, within a budget. High prices are not believed to equal more effective products. They are not looking to ‘cover up’ their age but for products which will work with, and celebrate, the passage of time.

Exercise is a key part of life, keeping them looking and feeling young and healthy. On average, most 60-80 year old women exercise 3-4 hours a week, with walking and yoga or pilates being the most popular activities.

The ladies sampled are led by pleasure – two thirds say they’ve learnt to treat themselves more as they get older, seeking quality brands that give enjoyment and create memories. Many are brand loyalists.

Distance holds no fear for them either. This age group feel liberated knowing they can go anywhere, anytime. And they do, in their masses. Three quarters are happy to book holidays themselves, although half still use travel agents for more adventurous trips. Four out of five are responsible for making the travel decisions in their families. Such decisions are crucial to the industry – the over-50s account for the majority of the UK’s total spend on travel and tourism.

Although many women fear time is running out, they wish to make the most of it. Some describe this ‘third act’ as the most enjoyable – one which allows for indulgent spending, experimentation and guilt-free relaxation.

While men of this generation have a tendency to ‘nest’ at home after years at work, the women enjoy being out and about, with girls’ weekends away being particularly popular. Perhaps it’s not surprising that the UK is witnessing an unprecedented rise in ‘silver separations’ among the over-60s. 40% of the ladies in this group go on holidays alone.

These ladies embrace the changes that come with age. Accordingly, their role models are all strong women. The top three (in descending order) are: Helen Mirren, The Queen, Margaret Thatcher. The least positive are, interestingly, all men: Donald Trump, Jimmy Savile and Nigel Farage.

This generation of women are active, confident and have the ability to spend money on products and experiences that enhance their lives. Surely they cannot remain invisible to brands for much longer.

For more information, please contact:
Natalie Thwaites, Associate Partner
Phone: +44 (0)207 727 3842

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