Over 50s are affluent and savvy – survey

Ireland’s over 50s are generally tech-savvy and affluent, consider good health to be important, and are unlikely to have much brand loyalty for anything other than staples, according to new research from Amárach.

The first National 50+ Consumer Survey, released to coincide with the Business of Ageing conference in Dublin’s Royal Hospital Kilmainham on Wednesday 9 March, reveals that while 71pc of people over 50 report a significant decrease in their income over the last 12 months, 67pc claim the recession has not had a strong impact on their lives. In addition, six in 10 over 50s currently have a pension and 65pc have not made any drastic changes to their spending patterns.

The survey, which involved a sample of 500, finds that the over 50s group are more likely to spend money on holidays, new cars, eating out and home improvements than any other section of the population.

As regards technology, the research indicates that four in 10 over 50s use the internet, with 95pc of this group doing so from home. Google is the most popular website among the 50+ group at 38pc, followed by Facebook at 19pc, and Ryanair with 13pc visiting the site.

Four out of five of those who use the internet have an email account; 37pc have a Skype account; 29pc are on Facebook; 52pc use online banking; and 2pc have a blog. Over 2 in 3 of those who use the internet make online purchases, with flights, holidays and insurance being the most popular online purchases.

Eighty percent of over 50s have a mobile phone and six in 10 of those send text messages

Good health is important to over 50s, with 76pc willing to spend more on fresh healthy foods in order to look after their health and 54pc watching what they eat in order to increase their health. One in three are spending less on ready meals in comparison to last year; two in five are spending more on fresh fruit and vegetables and one in three are spending more on fresh fish than last year. Females aged 50-64 are spending more on food with added vitamins.

The research also reveals that over 50s show no affinity to brands except for staples like milk, tea, bread and fresh meat. Only one in 10 said would switch from a premium brand tea to an own label brand tea. One in 10 would switch from a premium brand fresh meat to an own label brand fresh meat. However, one in two said they would switch from premium brand toiletries to own label brand toiletries.

Amarách noted there is a distinct lack of any strong consistent affinity or connectivity to brands from the over 50s generation and said this is not surprising as the majority of marketing is focused on the younger market. Of those who mentioned a brand relevant to them, 6pc said Guinness; 4pc mentioned Aldi; and 3pc said Dunnes, Lidl, Toyota and Apple.