Data showed that 76 per cent of the demographic shop online at least once a month, but British retailers are missing the chance to capitalise on the trend as just 22 per cent of marketers are actively targeting older shoppers on the web.
By 2025, over 55s are expected to make up a third of the by UK’s population and account for two-thirds of retail activity, thus companies have been advised to take heed of the stats before it’s too late.
The findings revealed 90 per cent of over 55s use the internet for research and purchases but – while mobiles are increasingly useful purchasing tools among millennials – two-thirds of people said the laptop is the preferred method of browsing the web. Meanwhile, just one per cent have accessed the internet with a smartwatch, suggesting the likes of the Apple Watch will fail to captivate older generations.
“With over 55s set to spend £14.45 billion on the web in 2015, online retailers should spend less time chasing the youth market and concentrate on winning the ‘grey pound’,” said Andreas Pouros, COO and co-founder of Greenlight.
“Here lies an audience with more disposable cash, which is totally suited to ecommerce; eager to compare products and prices, shop flexibly and have products delivered to their door.”
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He noted that young adults are more likely to embrace Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to discover new products and see what peers are buying, but over 55s will be more likely to read blogs, shopper feedback and news articles.
“Online recommendations greatly influence older online shoppers, this is just one element that brands should be building into their digital campaigns to make sure the “grey pound” is spent with them,” he added.
The value of recommendations was demonstrated in May when online reviews channel Trustpilot, which powers transparent consumer feedback for Nando’s and Boohoo.com, secured a $73.5m investment to further global growth.
Peter Holten Mühlmann, CEO and founder, said: “Every day more than 10,000 consumers sign up for a Trustpilot account, demonstrating the growing influence of customer experience on brand perception.
“A brand is no longer just defined by the company, it’s defined by what customers are saying about that company; this is a global trend that businesses cannot ignore.”
Elsewhere, Greenlight’s research highlighted that three-quarters of over 55s have bought a book of magazine online, which makes reading material the most common purchase. Comparatively, just 24 per cent have downloaded digital entertainment, with traditional forms like CDs and DVDs the second most popular items bought.
In terms of the amount they’re spending, ten per cent part with over £150 via the web each month. As such, it’s more likely lower amounts will be spent by the group as 51 per cent spend between £20 and £80 a month – a trend that could be changed with better grey pound marketing from businesses.
On average, an over 55 shopper will spend £65.09 a month, with women spending slightly more at £1.85. This changes in men’s favour on the high street as they spend £13.35 more in the real world.
By regional breakdown, shoppers in the East Midlands spend the most per month with £79.38, which is more than London and the South-East.
According to Greenlight, the key reasons older shoppers are embracing the web is because of the flexibility, ease of product delivery and price comparison ability.
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