The poll of 1,500 over-50’s by Age UK, published later today (21 February), is an attempt to provide marketers with insights about the lifestyle and preferences of consumers over 50 (see box below).

TV and radio (5.5 per cent) were cited as the least influential source of information prior to making a purchase, while in-store (42.1 per cent) and online (36.7 per cent) topped the list.

It also found 60 per cent of older consumers are open to trying new brands, contrary to received wisdom that they stick to tried and trusted brands.

The number of people over 65 in the UK is set to rise by 50 per cent in the next 20 years making it the fastest growing segment of the population, the charity claims. Office of National Statistics figures show over 30 per cent of the UK population are above the age of 50 and hold 80 per cent of the wealth in the country.

The report by the charity’s Engage Business Network, setup last year to advise businesses on the needs and lifestyles of the UK’s ageing population, claims brands need to do more to appeal to an increasingly influential demographic.

Ian Rutter, senior manager of the unit, says: “Ultimately businesses need to understand how the population shift could affect them and learn more about the best ways they can market their products and services to the 50+ market.

“It’s not only marketing techniques that need to adapt. We’re seeing more and more businesses waking up to the idea of making services and products easier to engage with and inclusive; not just subsets of their product range aimed at the older market but their entire offering. If done well, this will naturally make brands accessible to all customers including people in later life.”

Key report findings:

  • Under 40 per cent believe that they shop a lot for special offers.
  • Over 60 per cent of the sample tend to think a lot before making a purchase decision.
  • 54 per cent prefer to buy products/services approved by a trusted body.
  • Nearly 70 per cent of participants have done online shopping at least once.
  • One in three respondents would buy from a store if they deliver their shopping for free.
  • 62 per cent of the sample would not buy from a store if they do not provide good customer service.
  • Suitability for immediate needs, customer service and quality are three of the most important decision-making criteria when shopping for food or clothes.
  • 41 per cent of respondents use loyalty cards for food shopping.

Source: Age UK – Ageing Consumers, Lifestyles and preferences in the current marketplace