New York – Feb. 25, 2014 – As the 65-and-older demographic increases in size and spending power, retailers, brand marketers and service providers have opportunities to better support the health and well-being of aging consumers, according to new findings from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy.
According to the Nielsen Global Survey about Aging, which polled more than 30,000 Internet respondents in 60 countries[i], more than half of global consumers surveyed (51%) say they do not see advertising that reflects older consumers, and half say it is difficult for an aging demographic to find product labels that are easy to read. Forty-three percent of global respondents (when thinking about the product or service needs of the aging consumer) have trouble locating packages that are easy to open. More than four in 10 cannot find foods that meet special nutritional diets (45%), offer smaller-portion-sized food packaging (44%) or feature clearly labeled nutritional information (43%). Global respondents also find it difficult to navigate assistance from service-oriented industries like housing (46%), transportation (44%), finance (44%), medical insurance (39%) and meal-delivery (36%).
“These findings serve as a wake-up call to manufacturers, retailers and other marketers that need to bolster efforts to better reach and cater to an aging demographic,” said Todd Hale, senior vice president, Consumer & Shopper Insights, Nielsen. “People 65 and older already outnumber kids under 14 in many developed countries like Japan, Germany and Italy.[ii] While the global aging population is growing in number, their spending power is growing, too, as many have more time to shop and spend than their younger counterparts.”
Nielsen information also shows that one in three global respondents believe stores are not catering to the needs of older consumers by providing aisles dedicated to aging-needs products (34%), offering handicapped check-out lanes (33%) or lending assistance with grocery bags (36%). Roughly one in four respondents around the world say retailers are not equipped with benches to sit down (29%), ample handicapped parking (25%), handicapped bathrooms (23%), easy-to-reach shelving (23%) or handicapped ramps and doors (22%).
Aging Concerns Have a Regional Footprint
In North America, products, services and store amenities that cater to an older demographic claim the highest percentages for fully meeting respondents’ needs by providing clearly labeled nutritional information on packages (53%), foods for special dietary needs (52%), ample lighting (51%), handicapped bathrooms (38%), handicapped ramps and doors (37%), electronic shopping carts (36%), online shopping delivery options (34%), wide aisles for handicapped accessibility (34%) and courteous customer service (33%).
Retailers in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East/Africa regions receive the highest percentages of “fully meets needs” responses for easy-to-open product packaging (both 54%), benches to sit down (29% and 25%, respectively), assistance with grocery bags (24% and 27%, respectively), easy-to-reach shelving (30% and 33%, respectively) and product promotions geared toward smaller family needs (23% and 27%, respectively).
Conversely, more than half of European and Latin American respondents say they have trouble finding products that are easy to read (61% and 59%, respectively) and are clearly labeled with nutritional information (53% and 54%, respectively). Forty-six percent of Europeans and 48 percent of Latin Americans surveyed say they can’t locate foods that meet special dietary needs. In Europe, 45 percent believe the stores they shop in are not equipped with aisles dedicated to aging-needs products, and more than half can’t find electric shopping carts (59%) or get help with grocery bags to the car (52%). More than four in 10 Latin Americans believe retail stores do not provide benches to sit down (49%), dedicate aisled to aging-needs products (45%) or provide handicapped check-out aisles (43%).
“As retailers and manufacturers clamor to create a point of differentiation for their products and services, they only need to listen to the loud call for help coming from aging consumers in all parts of the world,” said Hale. “Improvements such as using larger fonts on product labels and signage, arranging age-related products in one place and at arm’s length for easier accessibility, and offering friendly customer service can go a long way in building loyal patronage.”
High Interest in Digital Engagement for Grocery Shopping
More than one-third (37%) of global respondents say they are already ordering groceries online for home delivery, with more than half (54%) willing to try if it becomes available.
Usage of online coupons for grocery shopping is already a practice among one-third (32%) of global respondents, with percentages in Asia-Pacific (41%) and North America (38%) exceeding the global average. Three-quarters of respondents in Latin America, 64 percent in Middle East/Africa, 61 percent in Europe, and 54 percent in both Asia-Pacific and North America say they are willing to use online coupons for grocery shopping.
Online and mobile shopping lists are also used by nearly one-quarter (23%) of global respondents, while three in four respondents in Latin America are willing to use online shopping lists if they become available, along with six in 10 from Middle East/Africa (63%), Asia-Pacific (62%), North America (62%) and Europe (61%).
”While the findings are based on online respondents and represent an increased propensity for online usage, the research reflects the sentiment of leading-indicator attitudes that will only continue as Internet penetration rates grow,” said Hale. “As the Internet’s influence continues to permeate the everyday lives of connected people everywhere, savvy marketers need to ensure they are connecting with them, too.”
Not Exactly Home Alone
Nearly half (46%) of global respondents say they have difficulty finding housing services and assistance when it comes to the needs of the elderly. Half of global respondents plan to live at home with either a spouse (38%) or the aid of professional help (12%). Reliance on family in old age is strongest in the Middle East/Africa, with 45 percent expecting to live at home with a spouse and 27 percent planning to live with their children, which is nearly double the global average of 15 percent.
Nearly one-fourth (23%) of North Americans plan to live in an assisted living facility, compared to 15 percent globally, and 17 percent in Asia-Pacific expect to live in a nursing home, compared to the global average of 13 percent.
[i] The findings in this survey are based on respondents with online access across 60 countries. While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective only on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration has not reached majority potential, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. Additionally, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.
[ii] CIA World Factbook, 2014.
About the Nielsen Global Survey
The Nielsen Global Survey about Aging was conducted between Aug. 14 and Sept. 6, 2013, and polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or 10 million online population for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Survey, was established in 2005.
Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.