The over-50 population is growing, and getting in touch with this lucrative demographic requires an imaginative approach.
Dick Stroud, managing director of marketing consultancy 20plus30, puts the importance of the UK over-50 market into sharp focus: 'The number of people aged over 50 in the UK is the same as the entire population of Australia. And this figure is set to grow by three million in the next decade.
'Any marketer who is not interested in reaching this group, which makes up more than 50 per cent of this country's adult population, just is not thinking straight.'
Indeed, many companies are now becoming very interested in the over 50, or grey, market. The numbers explain why. According to the Office of National Statistics, the group holds 70 per cent of the nation's wealth, 50 per cent of the nation's disposable income, and spends pounds 240 million on consumer goods every year.
As Sam Reilly, business development director of direct marketing agency the Lloyd James Group, points out: 'The current grey generation represents a golden moment for marketers. The last major swathe of final salary pensions has now kicked in, producing high disposable incomes. Property wealth is also at an all-time high and recent retirees are often choosing to realise cash through downsizing.'
So, as marketers begin to realise that this age group is more golden than grey, they are starting to wonder how best to market to them. There is strong evidence to support the view that direct marketing is an effective technique for reaching them. According to Royal Mail research, 19 per cent of over-55s responded to direct mail in the past 12 months, compared to 15 per cent of under-55s.
Greig McCallum, planning partner at direct marketing agency Personal, explains …