Half of Global Consumers Feel That Advertising Doesn’t Cater to the Aging

March 3, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | CPG & FMCG | Creative & Formats | Food & Restaurants | Global & Regional | Retail & E-Commerce

Nielsen-How-Companies-Fail-to-Meet-Aging-Consumers-Needs-Mar2014Companies around the world are failing to meet the needs of “aging consumers,” details Nielsen in a recent report [download page] based on a global online survey. From assistance in-store to services around town and packaging on the shelf, many respondents indicate that it’s tough to locate options that are relevant to aging consumers. Among the highlights: 51% said it is “difficult to find” advertising that reflects older consumers. And they’re probably right, what with the obsession with Millennials that tends to obscure the spending power of Boomers, at least in the US.

Somewhat encouragingly, the US figures aren’t quite so bad in terms of advertising: a relatively smaller 38% of Americans claim to not see advertising that reflects older consumers. Still, given that older Americans are more likely to rely on advertising than younger Americans, there seems to be a disconnect at play. Perhaps this is why the older Americans have a less favorable view of the advertising industry and are more apt to ignore ads?

There are a plethora of other statistics contained in the report concerning the ways in which companies are “missing the mark” in catering to the aging. Here are some highlights:

  • 50% globally (44% in the US) say it’s difficult to find easy-to-read product labels;
  • 43% globally and in the US have difficulty finding easy-to-open product packages;
  • 34% globally find it difficult to locate aisles in-store dedicated to aging-needs products; and
  • 21% globally report a lack of large print advertising signage in retail stores.

Significant proportions of respondents around the world also report difficulties “navigating” various services, such as housing options (46%), financial/investments (44%), transportation (44%), medical insurance (39%) and prescription drugs (37%).

The study delves into the types of fears respondents hold about aging. Globally, the leading concerns are losing self-reliance to care for basic needs (57%) and losing physical (57%) and mental (51%) agility. While fewer (44%) fear having enough money to live comfortably, that figure rises substantially in the US, to 53%.

About the Data: The Nielsen Global Survey About Aging was conducted between August 14 and September 6, 2013, and polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or 10M online population for survey inclusion.

Nielsen notes that: “While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective only on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration has not reached majority potential, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. Additionally, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.”


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