At Mintel we know the high street is rapidly adapting to accommodate a generation of consumers who crave intense experiences from their shopping outings; from funky flash mobs to in-store fashion runways, our ‘Experience is All’ global consumer trend tracks the endless entertainment available to families and young shoppers at the weekend. But are companies neglecting to provide the same treat for the fastest growing and most affluent demographic in this country?

Nearly 70% of over-55s consider themselves retired and in Mintel’s Lifestyles of the Over-55s and Seniors UK 2014 report, many told us they have no financial concerns or priorities. So where do they go when the grandkids are dropped off at school and the bills are all paid? Stores could do more to provide a welcoming place for a generation that has time and money to spare and who are often, in their downtime, quite lonely.

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Mintel research has discovered over a third of over-55s live alone, rising to 56% of over-75s. By reaching out to older people in society, businesses stand to build their brand amongst a growing and affluent customer base (67% fall into Wealthy Achievers, Urban Prosperity and Comfortably Off ACORN groups) while simultaneously getting involved in the local community.

We’ve already seen projects like the Nana Cafe, run by women over the age of 60 who impart knowledge of everything from knitting to embroidery to a younger generation of café goers. Why not incorporate more intergenerational mingling in the workplace, breaking down age barriers and helping younger staff to understand their older workmates and consumers?

Opportunities abound for brands as a result. Local department stores could hold regular weekday morning teas to encourage staff to befriend older customers while showing off new products. Bank branches might consider hiring older, tech savvy staff as door greeters to assist elderly customers with their banking without leaving them intimidated by in-store technology. Considering that household responsibilities are still quite traditionally gender-defined with this generation, senior women living on their own would benefit from DIY or utilities services offering assistance with responsibilities they may not be familiar with.

As we have explored time and time again in our global consumer trend ‘Old Gold’, whether retired, working or in need of care, the elderly are the key consumer demographic.

Rosie Dedecius is Client Services and Insight Manager at Mintel, working closely with our Clients to support their training needs and application of Mintel insights, trends and data. To find out more about how Mintel can help your business, please contact info@mintel.com.

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