Waking up to an ageing nation

A recent report by Age UK and the International Longevity Centre, called ‘The Golden Economy’, told us some things we already know – not least that we as a nation are getting ‘older’ and that much of the wealth of the country is owned by the over 50s.

What the report then went on to spell out is that, to date, very few companies have seriously addressed the needs of older people unless their focus is purely on later life customers: indeed there are many barriers to potential customers accessing products and services from some companies – indicative, says the report, of ‘market failure’.

Barriers – such as poor product design, access difficulties at retail outlets, pricing models (such as bulk buys) that disadvantage older and single consumers, hard-to-open packaging and hard-to-read labelling – too often exclude older consumers. Even factors such as the growing lack of toilets in our town and city centres can dissuade many from visiting the shops.

And as for websites… just 19% were felt to be aimed at older Internet users, yet this is the fastest growing group of Internet users.

The message to older consumers? To ‘vote with their feet’ – and support those companies who look to inclusive designs that enable those with less than perfect mobility or eyesight to use their products. To give their loyalty to shops and businesses that recognise their needs and aspirations.

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