The effect of aging and time horizon perspective on consumers response to promotion versus prevention focus advertisements

Camelia Codruta Micu

Fairfield University

Tilottama G. Chowdhury

Quinnipiac University

Introduction

Older consumers represent an appreciably increasing segment of the population in developed countries, due to the ageing of baby boomers, increasing life expectancy and declining birth rates (Rowe & Kahn 1998). In the US, the number of those aged 65 and above is expected to be 95.7 million by 2040 (US Census Projections 2008). Because of the growing number of older adults and their purchasing power, developing an understanding of the older consumer is crucial for business success today. Yet many practitioners are still faced with the challenges surrounding the development of effective strategies to appeal to older consumers. Although researchers more and more recognise the growing size and economic importance of the older customer segment (see Cole & Gaeth 1990; Yoon 1997), there has been surprisingly limited academic research focusing on older consumers. Much of this research has focused on generating important insights with respect to older adults with regard to cognition (for a review, see Roedder-John & Cole 1986; Yoon et al. 2005). The general consensus from studies of age-related changes in memory and cognition is that older adults tend to exhibit declines when compared to younger adults.