New research has revealed that online retailers are ignoring the fastest growing demographic – the over 55s
A new report has revealed that the over 55s are the fastest growing market for online shopping, yet only one in five marketers are deliberately targeting this age group.
Research from digital marketing agency Greenlight shows that shoppers aged 55 or over are expected to account for £14.45 billion of online spend this year and by 2025 they are expected to make up two-thirds of all retail activity.
Despite only 22 per cent of online retailers deliberately targeting the ‘ grey pound ‘ Greenlight’s research found that 76 per cent of over 55s make at least one purchase online a month and that 9 out of 10 will use the internet to both research and buy products.
Andreas Pouros, COO and co-founder of Greenlight said: “With over 55s set to spend £14.45 billion on the web in 2015, online retailers should spend less time chasing the youth market and concentrate on winning the “grey pound.”
“Here lies an audience with more disposable cash, which is totally suited to ecommerce; eager to compare products and prices, shop flexibly and have products delivered to their door.”
He went on to add that while “tweens and young adults” are more likely to be found on social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, the over 55s tend to read “blogs, shopper feedback, news articles or even Google reviews.”
“Online recommendations great influence older online shoppers, this is just one element that brands should be building into their digital campaigns to make sure the “grey pound” is spent with them.”
When it comes to fashion websites, 56-year-old Lynn Squibb feels like she is ignored: “It is all geared towards younger people,” she says, “you don’t really see things that are targeted at people over 55. When you do see things that you feel might be for you, you can’t always be sure about the fit or the quality.”
Honor Westnedge from Verdict, a retail consultancy, says older customers tends to be ignored by fashion retailers in particular because they are seen to be a risk: “For retailers targeting 45 to 55, if they shift to target older customers, it does risk changing how the brand is perceived.”
Despite not finding much representation on clothing websites, Lynn does all her grocery shopping online, and can’t remember the last time she stepped foot in a physical supermarket: “With groceries, you know the product. It’s not like with clothes where you buy something and when it arrives it might not fit you – when you shop for food online if you order a pack of six oranges you know you’re going to get a pack of six oranges.”
“I use Waitrose for all my online food shoppping. I find their site the easiest to navigate and they’re constantly making improvements.”
Greenlight say the websites that are more practical and simple are winning over the older demographic as they “find online shopping less tiring without queues or crowded shops” and marketers will be able to “win over this demographic by making online purchasing quick and easy.”
In contrast to grocery websites, Lynn finds travel websites difficult and frustrating to use: “Often I’ll Google something and an advert will come up for a travel website, but when you click onto it you’ll see they don’t actually have any offers for the holiday you were looking for.”
Surprisingly, online grocery shopping isn’t the most popular online purchase amongst the over 55s. The research from Greenlight found that 76 per cent said they had bought a book or magazine online, with consumer electronics comin in second place. Only 24 per cent of over 55s said they had downloaded music of videos online, suggesting that “this demographic is not yet embracing all new forms of online entertainment.”
Despite the research, Greenlight warn that marketers shouldn’t group everyone above 55 together: “As consumers move closer to retirement age (65+), online spend is seen to drop by £5.57, suggesting that older shoppers are less trusting in technology. Shoppers over the age of 65 show a preference for shopping in physical stores where customer service and human interaction is more prominent, increasing their high street spend by £4.19 at this point.”
This article was written by Saffron Alexander from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.