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Consumer Research


Jo Rigby: Over 50's ‘Live Wires’ and ‘Anchored in the Past’

Jo Rigby: Over 50's ‘Live Wires’ and ‘Anchored in the Past’

Last week we introduced our U.F.O. (Understanding Fifties and Over) research and shared our lifestyle segmentation which was based on a quantitative survey of 1,700 people aged 45+.

We carried out extensive qualitative research to build up clear pictures of our groups and this week you can read more about two of our clusters.

Let’s start with our Live Wires

As their name suggests the Live Wires challenge most stereotypes which exist about 50+ consumers.

This group has a female bias, and are the women who have challenged the system since they were teenagers: going on to further education, having careers and continuing to work once they had kids.

They are financially secure, and coming to the end of their careers, which certainly doesn’t mean ‘retirement’ – they are actively shaping the next stage in their lives.

That might include part-time work, further education, caring for grandchildren or going off on a big adventure.

These people have a very active social life and enjoy a wide range of activities from yoga through to charity work.


They are very light TV viewers and are very picky about what they watch: 'Desperate Housewives' is their favourite programme.

They spend an average of two hours a day on the internet, carrying out research e.g. tracing family trees, looking for holiday destinations, and of course shopping!

This group are empowered as consumers, making many of the brand decisions within the household and expecting the very best in terms of quality and service.

They like to try out new brands and are a very influential group for passing on reviews about what brands they’ve had good and bad experiences with.

They love fun and youthful brands such as Topshop, Apple and Ikea.

To show a completely different side to the over 50’s let’s take a peek at the Anchored in the Past cluster.

The people in this cluster tend to adhere to almost every stereotype that’s banded around about the over 50’s.  They are much older, tend to be in the 70+ age group and grew up in very different times to our Live Wires.

Home is where the heart is for this group, it’s where they spend most of their time.  The TV is on for much of the day, although they are often nodding off in front of it during the day.

They feel socially excluded as society as moved on too fast for them to keep up.  This can make them appear quite bitter and disappointed with the world today, things were so much better in ‘their day’.

Their favourite newspapers are the Daily Mail and the Express, these papers tend to reflect their views on life.


They don’t have a great deal of money to get by on and shop to a budget.

They tend to stick to brands they have bought for many years but are tempted to switch if there is a good offer on in the shops.

The brands they love are trustworthy and traditional such as Boots and Guinness.

OMD Insight have produced a booklet which describes all of our U.F.O. segments in detail.

Comment or feedback? Please contact

Next week we’ll be looking at how the over 50’s behave in the car sector.

Jo Rigby is the Head of OMD Insight

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