Brands – The ‘bright young things’ don’t have what it takes any more

By The MidLyfe Project Editor: It is really easy to find official up to date statistical data in terms of consumer spending for those under 50 but for those who are a little older, the opposite is true. And yet, we are not just the wealthiest – we also happen to be the most loose with our money in the country. Not only that, we make up a third of the population, and spend more per person than any demographic – so we are hardly insignificant are we? You would think consumer brands and their marketers would be all over us by now. Some have woken up, most haven’t.

By the time we reach this exciting time of our lives, many of us have given up with brand loyalty. This could well be that we’ve seen how many brands have let us down over time – and frankly, I could list a few. But it could easily be that they are no longer marketing to us for fear of losing their ‘sexy’ or ‘cool’ image as some of their customers develop the odd wrinkle of wisdom here and there.

Sure, we still buy our ‘smalls’ from M&S, but for me when it comes to everything else, it’s not about the brand badge, it’s about the quality, the fit, the style and so on. I would rather go a bit more minimalist, a great trend excuse for not buying much, but what I do buy, I’m a bit more fussy about than I was two decades ago.

There are some brands that do an excellent job of reeling us in. For instance, Louis Vuitton does not target age but three distinct categories – including the quality seeker, the self-indulger and the status seeker. These groups are segmented based on their motivations for purchasing Louis Vuitton products. The quality seeker consists of 33%, the status seeker at 21% and the self-indulger at 46% for profit annually (source). LV is not just a product, it’s an aspirational must-have by appealing to the jet setter – giving off the emotion message of high superiority, status and power. Their products may be expensive but you get great craftsmanship, luxury, durability and a long product lifecycle as part of the deal.

Armed with all the knowledge we have about our generation, we should not forget who we really are. As most of the economic power resides with us, particularly as we are healthier, more active and more alive in their skins than any generation ever before us – we also get to choose and not be led by fads and the herd mentality. After all, we’ve grown up and ready to be ourselves.

Brands are doing a poor job at targeting the more mature. No less than 78 per cent of those aged 50 or over feel misrepresented by advertising, with 49 per cent saying they actively avoid brands who ignore them. Not only that but 69 per cent say they would be more receptive to brands if their advertising more closely represented us more accurately (source).

In another study, it was found that around one in four grumble at clothing brands for failing to represent their age group accurately, while a fifth believe the common depiction of middle age in advertising is totally wrong. The beauty (14 per cent), music (16 per cent) and travel (12 per cent) industries are also among the sectors over 50s believe don’t believe represent them very well (source).

There are some more statistics that confirms we are just as good a consumer as any other. According to a recent study, 86 per cent of us in part two of life’s play, spend regularly online and 36% now do the majority of their shopping online. And that was before a pandemic came along.

Not only that, but team ‘silver-surfer’ is now the fastest-growing and highest-earning segment of the population. Over the last decade, consumer spending among over-50s grew on average 4.4 per cent a year. This is faster than any other demographic and it shows no signs of slowing up.

The message here is clear. This entirely new generation, my generation, has arrived and it wants brands to both gear up and get ready. The bright young things really don’t have what it takes any more.


This article was written by The MidLyfe Project

‘Defying the mid-life cliche. We are an entirely new generation with more energy, economic power, experience and drive to get the most out of life.’

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