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.
Some common misconceptions about the over 50s They are tech-illiterate This generation brought us Apple, Amazon and Ebay. They are the fastest growing group to join Facebook. They are isolated and unhappy The typical 50 year old is more sociable, happy and active than someone in the their mid to late 20s. They are poor The majority of over 50s have more money than most other age brackets put together and. The problem is our attitude The media prefers to sensationalise, patronise and generalise. Older people are depicted as passive, vulnerable and dependent. Government support has declined. Under the last Coalition government resourcing for elderly social care reduced by 17%, whilst the number of disabled people aged 65 plus receiving care in the community reduced by 32%. Meals on wheels are down by more than half.