So my parents arrived for Easter Sunday lunch a little quieter than usual, which may be due to the fact the dinner party they hosted the night before finally finished at 01:00 am. Earlier in the week my Pa had also celebrated his impending 80th birthday by closing a deal on a new Mazda sports car, and he took great delight in telling me about the discount and extras he’d negotiated. Their life is action packed but there’s no telling them to slow down, and why should they?
We were reflecting on how my grandmother at 70 was an old lady when she moved in with us, giving up doing lots of things – her golf, driving her car – and relying on the family to support her every need. She lived to 97 in good health thanks to living with my parents.
That’s not the case with today’s generation of oldies, including the ‘baby boomers’ we hear so much about. They’re real consumers not just of day-to-day living, but exotic holidays, weekend breaks, cars, iPads, smartphones and many of those products and services mainstream advertisers still target at “youth”. How many times am I told that the older generation doesn’t do technology? Tell that to those on Twitter daily, connecting with family overseas via Skype, downloading books for their Kindles, shopping for groceries online, and checking out the latest news.
I started my career in advertising and there was a science behind segmenting different consumer markets from children, through to adolescence, youth and various decades of age until we hit 60, which is when everyone else gets lumped into 60+. That may have been appropriate in my grandmother’s era, now it’s just lazy marketing. Given that many of us will still be working in our 70s and could live well into our 90s, we need to engage properly with this 40-year span of consumers. So that’s why I was delighted to stumble across an article written a couple of years ago describing the new breed of UGGs.
You’ll remember Yuppies and Dinkies, well UGGs are our parents who are downsizing from family homes to move into the heart of the action. Urban grannies and grandpas are moving back into apartment living in our towns and cities, releasing capital to support a lifestyle of eating out, cinema, theatre and holidays. They say: “No need for a people carrier, the two-seater will be fine and anyway we walk everywhere these days….any we’ve no intention of moving into any environment that’s exclusively for older people, we want to be part of a vibrant community.”
So that’s why at Evermore we want to change the conversation and revolutionise the opportunities for older people to continue to stay an active part of their community – whichever they choose. My parents and their friends are helping us co-design our villages and services so we can appeal to the broadest spectrum of older consumers. After all, my Pa is still a born trader at heart so he’ll never stop doing those deals!
Keep in touch with our progress via @evermore1st.
Sara McKee, Evermore Founder & Director of Market Innovation
Follow Sara on Twitter @SaraMcKeeFRSA