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Consumer Research


Jo Rigby: Over 50’s are looking good!

Jo Rigby: Over 50’s are looking good!

The fastest growing demographic in the UK is the 50+ market, predicted to rise from 20 million in 2007 to 24 million by 2020.

This demographic now own 80 per cent of the nation’s wealth and account for over 60per cent of disposable income.

The teenage rebels of the 1960’s have reached maturity, looking and acting entirely differently from any  previous generations of over 50’s.

OMD have spent the past four years investing in U.F.O. (Understanding Fifties and Over), a research study which aims to explore every aspect of this audience’s lifestyle.

We believe that through better insight into these consumers we can help our clients capitalise on the unique opportunities which this group presents.

Last year we focused our attention on the Fashion and Beauty category and set out to discover how the mature consumer behaves in these sectors.

The 50+ market is too large to treat homogenously, and through U.F.O. we have identified seven different lifestyle clusters to help us understand the dynamics that exist within the demographic

One of these clusters is called the Live Wires and is made up of women in the 55 – 65 age group, with high disposable incomes and busy social lives.  Let’s look at their attitude to Fashion and Beauty using the quantitative and qualitative research from U.F.O.

20 per cent  feel under pressure to look young in today’s society

81 per cent make an effort to look fit and attractive.

The Live Wires exuded confidence and felt really great about how they looked, over 50 per cent considered themselves to be attractive.

They felt it was a shame that the media rarely portrayed women of their age as sexy and desirable!

25 per cent think their partner makes less of an effort to look good than they do.

A group of Live Wires allowed us to take a peak at their wardrobes and go through their make-up bags.

They were all really proud of their fashionable clothes but despaired that their husbands were more content to ‘start dressing like their dads’.

We predict that the next generation of 50 year old men will be more image conscious than this generation.  It was interesting to see that one of the first people in the queue for Boot’s Protect and Perfect serum was a 74 year old man

80 per cent have used an anti-wrinkle cream.

The mean age they started using an anti-wrinkle cream was 44, and they were spending considerable amounts of money each year on skincare products.

Listening to them in the qualitative groups they were highly knowledgeable about the latest advances in skincare and shared a lot of information amongst their friendship groups about which one seemed to ‘work’.

80 per cent had made some changes to their skincare routine as a result of the menopause.

The menopause was such a major landmark in their lives but one they felt that it wasn’t socially acceptable to discuss.

Many believed that brands should behave more positively towards this lifestage and help women to make better choices about skincare.

13 per cent would buy another brand if their favourite skincare brand wasn’t available.

However when we explored this area it became clear that these women weren’t that brand loyal and ‘favourites’ came and went in the quest to find the next miracle worker.

60 per cent feel closer to their children’s generation than their parents.

Our Live Wires have great relationships with their children, and now the kids have grown up they have fun together.

Swapping clothes, going on shopping expeditions and sharing magazines were all part of the relationship these women have with their daughters.

The trend for women giving birth later is resulting in mothers of teenage girls being in their 50’s, possibly even 60’s.

Some quotes from our Live Wire ladies:

My teenage daughter really influences what I wear.  I value her opinion and I think she keeps me younger

I don’t want to look too old or too young for my age..I want to look right for the age I am

I don’t want to look like an old lady

I spent two or three days in London with my daughter recently, and it was lovely to see something different

I don’t want fuddy duddy dowdy, but I’m not going to dress up like a teenager

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

Comment or feedback? Please contact

Jo Rigby is the Head of OMD Insight

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