Older consumers are the future says Nielsen, and they do change to new brands

The worldwide marketing industry has long been in denial about older consumers despite unarguable evidence that there are more of them than ever before as people live longer – and they have more money than younger people.

Every now and then an ad agency starts up promising to target such people and is greeted, inevitably, with yawns all round before taking a very early retirement.

But now US research giant Nielsen has, once again, underlined how important these consumers, baby boomers as they’re rather inaccurately known, are. And it goes on to say that, despite received wisdom, these millions of people do change their minds about brands.

In the US such people account for nearly 40 per cent of sales of consumer goods, including diapers intriguingly, and 41 per cent of Apple Computer products. Your iPad user is just as likely to be an oldie apparently.

The received wisdom that, after a certain age, people stick with he same brand of toothpaste for the rest of their lives and therefore aren’t worth wooing by rivals is nonsense says Nielsen.

This will undoubtedly be taken on board by the likes of Procter & Gamble and Unilever. The real problem will lie in persuading ad agencies, obsessed as they are by the search for eternal youth, to take the older generation seriously.

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