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Marketers overlook the 'grey pound'

News, 03 August 2015

LONDON: UK consumers aged 55+ currently spend £14.45bn online and are expected to account for two-thirds of all retail activity by 2025, yet just one-in-five (22%) marketers are targeting them, a new study has revealed.

Based on feedback from 1,000 consumers aged 55 and above, digital marketing agency Greenlight established that they have a high degree of digital engagement and many use multiple devices to go online.

Laptops are used the most (66%), closely followed by desktop PCs (59%) and tablets (52%) and about three-quarters (76%) shop online more than once a week.

Their average monthly spend totals £65.09 online compared to £73.52 that they spend in physical stores, although women spend slightly more online (£1.85) than men per month.

As men spend £13.35 more than women per month on the high street, that would suggest women aged over 55 are more open to using technology, Retail Gazette reported.

In addition, the research found that online spend drops by £5.57 as consumers move closer to retirement age (65+), suggesting that older consumers are less trusting in technology.

Books and magazines (76%) are the most popular online purchases for this generation of "digiboomers", followed by clothing and accessories (74%), CDs and DVDs (66%), small appliances and household goods (61%) and consumer electronics (60%).

These consumers like to browse and the top three reasons they give for shopping online are flexibility, ease of product delivery and being able to compare prices.

Also of note for marketers, the study revealed that online recommendations have a strong influence on older shoppers, who conduct their shopping journey online from start to finish.

"Online recommendations greatly influence older online shoppers," advised Andreas Pouros, co-founder and chief operating officer at Greenlight.

"This is just one element that brands should be building into their digital campaigns to make sure the 'grey pound' is spent with them."

He added that the over 55s are more likely than young consumer to read blogs, shopper feedback, news articles and Google reviews.

"Here lies an audience with more disposable cash, which is totally suited to ecommerce, eager to compare products and prices, shop flexibly and have products delivered to their door," he said.

Data sourced from Greenlight, Retail Gazette; additional content by Warc staff