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Marketers obsessing over ‘millennials’ are missing out on £15bn


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

July 30, 2015 | 3 min read

As marketer obsession with ‘millennials’ rages, research from Greenlight suggests retailers could be missing out on £14.45bn being spent online by the over 55s.

Research on what has been dubbed the 'grey pound' has frequently surfaced over the years, yet it remains that just one in five marketers (22 per cent) are targeting the over-55 online shopper.

Despite the group set to make up a third of the population and two-thirds of retail activity by 2025, it is a massive market that is being neglected as marketers focus attention, and budget, on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

However, few over-55s are influenced here and are more likely to be influenced reading blogs, shopper feedback, news articles and Google reviews, accoring to research from digital agency Greenlight.

Laptops are the preferred device (66 per cent) where the majority of over 55s (51 per cent) will spend between £20 and £80 per month – women spend around £2 more – while one in ten will spend more than £150 per month online.

Books and magazines are the most popular e-commerce purchases followed by electronics. Only 24 per cent have downloaded music or videos online, suggesting the demographic hasn’t yet embraced all new forms of online entertainment.

The top three reasons given by over 55s for shopping online are flexibility, ease of delivery and being able to compare prices across different retailers.

However, as consumers move closer to retirement age (65+), online spend is seen to drop by £5.57, indicating they are less trusting in technology, while their high street spend will increase by roughly £4.19 showing a preference for real-life customer service and human interaction.

Andreas Pouros, co-founder and chief operating officer at Greenlight, said: “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.

“While online recommendations greatly 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.”

The study involved 1,000 consumers aged 55 or over.


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