When I am 64
With Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Helen Mirren & Judi Dench now over 64 years of age, it is time to think about the fastest growing population in the UK. By 2035, 23% of the UK population is projected to be aged 65 years or older and the number of people aged 85 will reach 3.6 million ... almost 5% of the total population. (UK National Statistics Publication 2011)
As a researcher it is important that we understand this demographic. Physically we know that as we become older our vision and hearing deteriorates. More aches and pains reflect the changing bone structure, manual dexterity decreases, no longer can this age group run as quickly, reach as high or think as quickly as they used to. But a declining body will not be a barrier ... more preventative drugs can be consumed, gym membership could increase and research suggests anti aging products will be more popular. Do this generation want to live longer? From a pilot research study conducted by lemonlime research & 2020 Partners ... this generation wants to live a healthier lifestyle, independent and fruitful ... physically, mentally and emotionally. So if this involves global travel, running a marathon or investing in the philosophy of lifelong learning they will shop around to meet these needs.
So from a physical perspective have we considered what this means in terms of our everyday products ... opening packages, reading small print, reaching for products on high shelves in the supermarket? Any manufacturer of fmcg products will need to be mindful of this segment in terms of new product development or new packaging or promoting their product to this segment. How small does a mobile phone have to go before it is rejected by this age group due to physical barriers?
As a service provider ... more help will be needed not only understanding this demographic but providing services to meet their needs. On line grocery shopping, assisted living devices, more in home care providers, and increased home safety & security services will become the norm. No longer will the local authority be able to provide these services.
As a market researcher how do we begin to understand this segment? Imagine Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Helen Mirren and Judi Dench taking part in your discussion group ... bringing them into a hotel boardroom or viewing facility (close to toilets, lift & comfortable chairs), with a structured discussion guide could be lots of fun ... but would we be able to gather the richness of their lives, the depth of their opinions and experiences via this methodology?
Based on past research experience, I suggest we listen to their stories, their experiences, visit them in their homes, and share a cup of tea, absorbing ourselves in a morning of their time. Pure old fashioned listening, observing their idiosyncrasies, enjoying their home, sharing their computer ... let’s spend time with them and really understand and respect their wants and needs. We need to give them and ourselves time to listen to their stories & experiences, observing their lives. Only then will we truly understand this growing age segment.
So, we might not have the pleasure of recruiting our celebrity over 65 year olds for our next research project but lemonlime research & 2020 partners are continuing our UK research into this segment ... so hope you still need me and hope you still feed me, when I am 64 (and over)!
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