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Kiwis over 50 feel ignored by brands: report

Photo of older woman shopping in a supermarket.

A new report commissioned by creative agency WPP AUNZ has found that most New Zealand brands are missing out on a significant customer segment: the over 50s.

According to the report, Ageless & Booming, which is part of the agency’s series on the differences between what consumers say and what they really do, over 50s represent a third of New Zealand’s total population, and have 49 per cent of the country’s disposable income, but few brands are specifically targeting them.

Only 2 per cent of the briefs received from marketers in New Zealand specifically target the over-50 demographic, according to Rose Herceg, chief strategy officer and futurist with WPP AUNZ.

So it’s not surprising that a whopping 94 per cent of over 50s in New Zealand say they dislike the way organisations and marketers communicate with them.

“It appears that marketing has an ageing blind spot – and as a result, many may be missing out on a significant new target,” Herceg said in a statement.

“As an industry, we need to deconstruct every outdated idea about people over 50. We need to realise that they’re connected, they’re calling their own shots and they don’t like being labelled.”

According to the report, 85 per cent of New Zealanders over 50 say they feel “very comfortable” with technology, and 78 per cent regularly research and buy products online.

In addition, 81 per cent say they feel much younger than their age, with 83 per cent believing that “60 is the new 40”.

But the current marketing directed at this group doesn’t reflect those views. Herceg describes it as being littered with images of over 50s “slowing down, disconnecting, opting out and generally frittering away their time”.

Instead of continuing to ignore this group, Herceg suggests brands get forensic and understand the data around their consumer behaviour, purchasing habits and intentions, and reflect the vibrancy and optimism of this demographic.

“To ignore them is folly – and misrepresenting them with bland imagery or assuming they are winding their lives down risks rejection,” she said.

“That could be a very expensive communications mistake to make in what is a highly challenging, and ever-changing marketplace.”

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