Over 50s shopping and customer service

June 21, 2017

Seb Smith   Seb Smith | Project Manager at Vox Pops International

Over-50s warn retailers “Treat us like we’re invisible or stupid and we won’t come back!”

As part of our ongoing video research series, we spoke with the ‘over-50s’ age group and uncovered their customer experience expectations of retailers and the pros & cons of in-store and online shopping.

In the UK there are over 23.6 million people aged 50 years and over, a figure that is set to keep rising.

‘Golden oldies’ couldn’t be a more appropriate term for this demographic, as they represent a staggering 75% of the country’s wealth, and in 2016 contributed £119 billion to the UK economy.

With this in mind, these ‘cash-rich time-rich’ consumers are an obvious target for brands and retailers, however our video research showed that this age group feel ignored and ‘in the way’ when shopping in-store.


“Word of mouth is a powerful instrument”

The over-50s we interviewed said retailers who take a superior attitude to customers should expect never to see them again. Being a more ‘experienced’ shopper, they aren’t afraid to speak their mind if the customer service is poor, and will gladly share their bad experiences with their friends.

For these mature consumers, the ability to see, feel and try out products before buying them is key. This is not exclusive to this age group either, as a 2016 GFK Global survey of 23,000 shoppers showed, 51% agreed this was the most important factor driving a choice to purchase in-store.

Other factors included; enjoying the emotional and social payoffs that shopping brings through human interaction and connection, as well as getting a broader view of store pricing, which is much harder to gauge online.

The main ‘cons’ for shopping in-store are perhaps more of a sign of age, as the stress of queuing and being ‘fussed over’ by shop staff came out on top. Having time and space to browse uninterrupted is important for this age group.

When it comes to online shopping, the over-50s said convenience and a greater choice were the leading factors. Interestingly, saving money online was not the most popular influencer for this age group, whereas 55% of shoppers in GFK’s survey chose price as the principal factor.

Not being able to see and feel products was the biggest issue for the over-50s when shopping online, however their love-hate relationship with technology was also a factor.

Tech problems, understanding computer language and fear of purchasing the wrong thing all stand out as key barriers to online shopping. In order to gain the trust and custom of the over-50s, retailers will need to offer an easy online experience that treats this growing age group with the respect they deserve.

You can watch more vox pops with the over 50s here. Whether you’re targeting this demographic or have your own segmentation that you’d like to bring to life helping your organisation get closer to its customers then we can help you create a consumer film to do just that.

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