It is interesting that the media, marketeers, providers and the world at large like to categorise consumer behaviour in neat packages - it helps them develop assumptions, messages and sales approaches for these people.

However, broad generalisations can be misleading; the people concerned often don't 'recognise' themselves in the communication and so the message fails.

The over 50's are a good example of this and are a much maligned group as this research from Teamspirit shows.

It turns some of the often held misconceptions on their head and shows this group as much more progressive, discerning and interesting than some would give them credit for ie:

  • They are tech savvy - being one of the highest users of tablets, more so than 16-24 year olds
  • They are unhappy and unsocial - yet this research shows they are more socially active that those in their late 20's
  • They have no money - the majority of the over 50's have more money that most other age groups put together and hold 3/4 of the nation's total wealth

People are unique and whilst there are some commonalities groups, it's dangerous to try to apply generalisms across all members or to categorise their behaviour on very little evidence.

We are in a world where technology is seeking to put consumers into nice neat boxes - often with very little matching criteria - picture those adverts for a large dating agency! 'Nudging' people en masse towards a course of action with no more information than just an age and a wealth level can be quite dangerous.