The mundanities of life: Older consumers' views from the National Seniors Social Survey

Our nation is getting older. In 2015 there were over 7.8 million over 50s in Australia, constituting 33% of the population. By 2033 there will be 11.3 million, an increase of 46%. Older Australians are an increasingly financially powerful demographic, with 54% (or $3.4 trillion) of the household wealth in Australia held by people aged 55+. The wealth of older Australians is also growing faster than that of other age groups. As a result, they are a rapidly developing consumer market.For example, over the last decade the consumption of this group accounted for the majority of increases in expenditure on health care and household furnishing and equipment, and significant proportions of increases in expenditure on all recreation spending and clothing and footwear spending.

As well as spending more, older Australians’ expenditure is going on different types of products and services compared with 30 years ago. Shifts towards greater consumption of products and services of a discretionary nature relative to spending on basic needs has been observed.The advancement of the wealth of older Australians and their changing spending patterns signal both the opportunity for brands to maximise the share of the growing purchasing power of older Australians and the need to engage with these consumers in new, more inclusive ways.

In the near future brands will, and must, get better at talking to older Australians.The conventional wisdom that marketing activities are best targeted towards young people is inaccurate and may be based on ageist ideas about older people. Interest in the 50+ demographic will continue to increase as their purchasing power becomes more apparent.However, it will take a significant change in mindset from sections of the marketing and advertising community as well as the clients they serve. It remains to be seen which brands have the foresight and agility to respond to changing demography of their customer base in the coming decades.

This report presents findings from a recent survey which considered older consumers’ satisfaction with a range of products and services. Conclusions are drawn, based on reports of satisfaction with different products and services, about areas in which older consumers’ needs are not being met and how brands and services can seek to optimally cater to older Australians.

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