Economics of Age,Older Consumers

The Actuarial Profession, Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ, 16:00, 23 November 2010

Older consumers are an increasingly important market for a variety of goods and services. Indeed many companies are already profiting from this market.

Yet at the same time, the dominant view in both academic literature and amongst marketeers is that “the older consumer” is far too often ignored. Research as far back as the 1960s has highlighted the potential of the market whilst at the same time identifying concerns with the private sector’s efficiency at targeting and reaching the older consumer.

Over last 10 years a number of Government reports have recognised the importance of the older consumer. The importance of older consumers was highlighted for example, in the Government’s ageing strategies Opportunity Age (2005) and Building a Society for All Ages (2009).

In April 2009, the BIS report New Industry, New Jobs stated that the Government would draw up an action plan for business and Government on the economic opportunities presented by an ageing society. BIS published an analytical and discussion paper on whether business was ready for an ageing nation in spring 2010.

At this event, ILC-UK launched new research on the older consumer market. The research includes primary and secondary data and incorporates new findings from the PFRC at the University of Bristol.

Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts MP, responded to the research ahead of a panel debate.

The questions we considered during the debate included:

  • Is there market failure in the consumer marketplace?
  • Does industry understand the older market?
  • Is the “older consumer” changing?
  • Is there any such thing as an older consumer?
  • What if anything makes a consumer an older consumer?
  • How can we improve the consumer experience of older people?
  • What do we know about how to reach the older consumer?
  • What role is there for Government intervention?

Agenda from the event:

16.00 – 16.30
Registration and refreshments
16:30 – 16.35
Introduction from the Chair(s)
16.35 – 17.05
“The Older Consumer” David Sinclair, Head of Policy and Research, ILC-UK
17.05 – 17.25
David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science
17.30 – 18.30
Questions and panel discussion with Tom Wright (Chief Executive, Age UK), Andy Godfrey (Boots); David Metz (Visiting professor at University College London, member of Financial Services Consumer Panel, and author of ‘Older Richer Fitter: identifying the consumer needs of Britain’s ageing population).
Close and drinks