British Baby Boomers say act before you’re 40 and prioritise good nutrition to age well

16/02/2016

London, UK – 16 February 2016 – Business intelligence specialist Future Thinking has launched the results of Ageing Well, an insight into the attitudes and behaviours towards ageing of the baby boomer generation. The study, in conjunction with Seniosphère Conseil, an international specialist in strategy and marketing for Baby Boomer (those aged 50-70) and Senior markets, aims to understand the views and priorities towards Ageing Well of this demographic, and their interest for innovation. The study was conducted across four countries: UK, France, Germany and Spain.

Specific findings from the UK study include:

  • To age well, 69% of people said to start acting before you are 40
  • 90% of UK respondents agree that ageing well is a matter of good health and 49% believe it is related to remaining active
  • 80% of participants want more innovative health products available
  • 47% of baby boomers are willing to pay a premium for innovative products

In 2015, almost a quarter (23%) of the UK population was aged over 60 and projected growth of this demographic from 2015 to 2030 is a staggering 31%, whereas the population under 60 years old is projected to grow at just 2%. With a greater purchasing power than their younger counterparts, businesses need to understand this burgeoning market to avoid missing out on existing and future opportunities.

Recently, the concept of ageing has evolved from a preventative and negative one (often referred to as anti-ageing), to “Ageing Well” or how to age well and be healthy in the process.  In the UK, 56% of respondents said that good health was key to ageing well. Furthermore, over half (53%) of those surveyed believe that to age well is somewhat important, with 36% saying it was very important, illustrating the significance of this market.  

Compared to the other countries surveyed, 69% of people in the UK think that in order to age well, we have to start doing something about it before the age of 40, which was a decade younger than in France and Spain, and in Germany it wasn’t until after 50 one needed to act.

Across all four countries, the consensus is that socializing, healthy eating and remaining active are the three main pillars when aiming to improve the ageing process. However, the UK put a greater emphasis on pragmatic expenses such as dental care and education whilst Germany and France are more aware of physical and mental wellbeing, with spa or treatment sessions at the top of their purchasing priorities. In addition, when asked about ageing well, respondents in the UK were over twice as likely (20%) to want to look younger than their age (France 8%, Spain 6% and Germany 7%) indicating that  Baby Boomers in the UK take a more cosmetic attitude to ageing well.

Despite having witnessed the IT and internet revolution, less than half (40%) of respondents thought that new technology could help them age well. The opportunity for marketeers to educate baby boomers in this area is clear. The UK total was well behind France where 56% of those surveyed believed that new technology would be beneficial.  

There is however, solid evidence of latent demand for innovation. When asked ‘In which areas would you like to see more innovation?’ health was the top priority amongst 70% of those surveyed in the UK, followed by transport (51%) personal security (41%), electrical equipment (35%) and food (33%).

The study went a step further by using clustered data groups to identify 6 different segments in the ageing well market, ranked from the not involved to the extremely involved:

Average Joes (20%)

Not engaged with ageing well.

Needies (16%)

Somewhat engaged but need the support of a coach or medical professional.

Appearance First (20%)

Prioritise looking good and younger.

Healthy Progressists (17%)

Good nutrition and a balanced lifestyle are key to ageing well. Willing to pay more for innovation.

Active Hedonists (20%)

Feeling good about oneself and physical wellbeing is will facilitate ageing well. Willing to pay more for innovation.

Extremists (8%)

Heavy intrusive means are the only way to age well. Willing to pay more for innovation.

 

This segmentation, based on survey data, highlights that the 50 -70 age group is not one homogenous unit and stereotyping should be avoided. The distinct groups are very different in terms of engagement, attitudes, behaviour and motivations, and these differences can also be seen across the four countries surveyed. In the UK we find a larger percentage of ‘Average Joes’ and ‘Appearance First’, whereas France and Germany have more ‘Active Hedonists’.

When offered new products, Baby Boomers in the UK are most open to trying products which can save money and simplify their lives (French and Spanish prioritise well-being and comfort) and 56% enjoy trying new products; with 21% actively seeking out new products to try. In addition, 47% of participants said they are willing to pay a premium to access these products.

The Baby Boomer generation is an important and frequently under leveraged opportunity for brands. Effectively accessing this opportunity will require new and adapted marketing strategies as the consumption patterns of this generation differ significantly to that of their predecessors. Brands must develop new ways to engage with the different audiences identified by the study and also tailor their approaches at a geographical level.

Julian Kenway, Commercial Director at Future Thinking comments;

“In recent years the 50+ market has become increasingly important to brands. Our Ageing Well study, in association with Seniosphere Conseil, helps to understand this group’s attitudes towards ageing and the evolving needs of the baby boomer generation.”

Sophie Schmitt – CEO at Seniosphére Conseil adds;

“In marketing terms the strategic value of the Baby Boomer generation has been magnified due to their high levels of disposable income and their attitude to consumption. The study provides brands with a cross European understanding of Baby Boomer attitudes, behaviour and spending priorities - an excellent starting point for adapting business strategies, products or services.”