Research from Jeff Weiss, President and CEO, Age of Majority, focuses on the assumptions and practices from 202 marketing professionals against the attitudes and behavior of more than 1,200 American adults with respect to engaging the aging consumer market.
Four key barriers hold marketers back from effectively engaging the age 55+ market, and the truth behind related ageist myths stereotypes:
Marketers underestimate the spending power of consumers 55+ and over-estimate the spending of millennials. Nearly 9 in 10 (86%) marketers overestimate how much consumers under the age of 35 spend and nearly three quarters (72%) underestimate how much consumers 55 and older spend. Nielsen data tells us that, despite representing more than 40% of all consumer spending, consumers 50+ are the target of only 10% of U.S. ad spending.
Marketers perceive that older consumers won’t try new things or are too brand loyal. Nine in 10 (92%) marketers believe consumers 50+ are less likely to switch brands, yet on average, more than half (52%) of consumers 55+ vs. 61% of consumers under 55 are open to switching brands the next time they shop.
Marketers fret that targeting older consumers will alienate younger consumers. We found 50% of marketers believe consumers under 35 will feel alienated if their brand targets older consumers, yet two-thirds (65%) of consumers say that seeing someone much older in an ad would not change their likelihood to purchase.
Marketers default to a youth-size-fits-all approach, assuming that millennial-oriented marketing will appeal to consumers 55+ and that younger consumers set the trends for older consumers. The reality is older consumers aren’t looking for inspiration from the younger set. Fewer than half of Americans (48%) agree that people over 50 aspire to be younger or to stay young. There’s a good chance millennial-oriented marketing is missing the mark with mature consumers, given 73% of consumers 55+ feel marketers are not engaging them effectively.
Despite the extent to which marketers don’t understand older consumers this is not to say they are oblivious to the value of the aging consumer market – 84% of marketers report wanting to target consumers 50+ more effectively than they do today.
Jeff Weiss. (2017, Nov. 22). Overcoming Biases Key to Successfully Engaging the Aging Consumer Market. [Commentary]. MediaPost.