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Shall we forget about the older consumer?

In October, I took part in a seminar organised as part of the ILC-UK and Personal Finance Resource Centre project on financial circumstances and wellbeing hosted by Brown-Forman to discuss findings around consumer spending.  David Hayes from the PFRC presented new research exploring patterns of expenditure among older people which was then debated by an expert roundtable, along with broader questions surrounding the ‘older consumer’.

How to market to older people is becoming an increasingly important topic as the UK’s population ages. A key issue to be addressed by marketeers is how to avoid the homogenisation of this group, as its diversity is often lost in ageist perceptions of ‘what older people want’. The research findings combat this one dimensional view of older people by investigating their differing spending habits and showing just how diverse this group can be.

What was clear from the assembled experts is that trying to segment this market is full of bear traps. For me, the challenge of marketing to older people is best summed up by marketing expert Dick Stroud who has identified what he sees as the paradox in the older consumers’ market:

“Older people want products and marketing that relate to them at their age but they don’t want products and marketing that relate to them because of their age”.

For more information about the event and the PFRC research findings, visit