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Markets favour older consumers

News, 31 August 2016

MUNICH: Europeans over the age of 50 form a significant consumer demographic who are active, digitally engaged and less open to emotional advertising, according to a new study.

The Konsumbarometer 2016 – Europa report from financial services business Commerz Finanz surveyed more than 10,500 consumers across 13 European countries (Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and the UK).

There are already around 150m consumers aged between 50 and 75 across the current EU states and as Generation Y begins to move into retirement, the over-65s will account for 30% of the population by 2050, with implications for all sectors, from transport to leisure, housing and health.

"Markets are changing in favour of older consumers," noted Alexander Wild, an expert in marketing to seniors. "In many product groups almost half of all buyers are 50 years and older today – market successes are increasingly decided by age-appropriate products."

They are not given to spontaneous purchases, however, preferring to carry out extensive digital research before buying.

Three quarters (74%) refer to websites, while 61% use comparison shopping tools, and 55% look to the opinion of other consumers; Czechs, Poles and Britons tend to be especially well informed, the research said.

These older consumers "have a high purchasing power and often have much time for leisure and shopping", explained Gerd Hornbergs, CEO of Commerz Finanz GmbH.

They place more emphasis on quality, he added, and they often possess the latest digital devices before their children.

Over 50s also spend more time using the internet and watching television, devoting an average of 27 hours a week to these activities compared to 21 hours 30 minutes for younger consumers.

But when it comes to advertising, they appear to be less interested than their younger counterparts in the emotional connections that brands often attempt to foster with consumers.

Just 43% of older Europeans said they were open to this style of communication compared to 56% of younger ones, with older French (28%) and British (30%) consumers least interested.

Data sourced from Commerz Finanz; additional content by Warc staff