The glow of the golden years

Understanding consumers in the later stages of life.

Winkreative’s Perspectives series shares our view on brand and business – the changing audiences, emerging trends and timeless tactics you need to understand to stand out from the crowd. In this article, we explore the benefits of connecting with an audience that’s often overlooked: the older consumer.

Prioritise youth. It’s a strategy that makes sense: capture the hearts and minds of young audiences and you can become culturally relevant and commercially successful. But there’s more to the world population, and the opportunity to connect with an audience with even more spending power: people entering the later stages of their lives.

In developed countries, the elderly population will grow by more than one-third in the next 15 years, and is expected to account for more than $4 trillion in urban consumption growth.

They want to use their amassed wealth — accrued in part from decades of capital appreciation — to ensure a very high and dynamic standard of living.

The modern older consumer is youthful in outlook and refined in sensibility. They think about what they choose to buy, and their specific desires; they’re not content to quietly fade into the background. Connecting with them requires a nuanced approach — and for the brands that do it successfully, it can unlock a growing segment with no signs of slowing down. So what does the older consumer value today?

An optimistic language

Today’s older consumers are rejecting the idea that old age is a managed decline, and brands that avoid the language of mortality – phrases like “senior”, “assisted living”, and “retirement” – can speak to the audience’s optimistic outlook.

Brands must shift focus from ‘lifespans’ to ‘healthspans’; embracing themes and ideas that nurture prolonged fulfilment, celebrate activity and optimise health and mobility.

Always learning

Many older consumers are at the peak or end of successful, stimulating careers. They’ve spent their lives picking up new skills, being challenged and seeking inspiration — and they want to continue learning long into their later years.

Brands that deliver on these needs — that offer a platform for personal growth and finding new interests — can become a valuable resource for the older consumer. Whether it’s a residential proposition offering skills-exchange programmes or a retailer hosting a rotating programme of in-store talks and exhibitions, the sharing of knowledge and ideas can make a brand both relevant and aspirational.

Wellbeing in every sense

As the body ages, physical health becomes a pressing concern for the older consumer. So, naturally, they’re going to gravitate towards companies and products that can sustain the ‘good life’ — healthcare, exercise, cosmetics. But true wellbeing isn’t just physical, and it doesn’t live solely in sterile, functional facilities. Brands must take a wider, more holistic view.

By considering the use of natural light, greenery and quality of air in the environment, and providing spaces for gentle movement, brands can connect with consumers’ mental, emotional, and even spiritual needs.

Life in all its colour

As they move from professional to private life, this generation values their time and discretion, and enjoys taking time to appreciate slow moments and rituals. But no-one wants a life at just one pace. They are drawn to atmospheres of energy, ease and spontaneity — to experience art, music and debate, all in great company.

Placemaking can encompass this variety, creating brands with a natural rhythm capable of delivering the soulful moments this audience craves. Done right, a place can capture both seclusion and sociability. It can encourage stronger relationships across generations, without isolation. It can satisfy young and old. Whatever the instance, the more appreciation a brand has for offering colourful, cultured, deep experiences the more people will naturally connect with it.

This audience is one Winkreative knows in depth – and we have the insights, tools and creativity to help brands understand them, appeal to them and attract them. To find out how we can bring your brand closer to new and existing audiences, get in contact: [email protected].