A change of perspective on older consumers is needed

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A distinctive feature of this year’s Domotechnica, the Cologne-based home appliances show, was an ambitious programme of seminars, including one on business opportunities from the older customer market. An impressive line-up of speakers, which included Dieter Hackler, head of the Senior Citizens Department at the Federal Ministry, called on the manufacturers, advertisers and retailers to change a perspective on the 50 plus market. “It is not only smarter but also essential to target this group as it gets bigger and economically stronger.”
Although this consumer group is diverse, they have a number of common features. For example, quality is a top priority for them; likewise, brand awareness. Ease of use, functionality and design – all strongly influence their purchasing decisions. They also highly value competent and personal customer advice.
Some of their needs don’t differ from these of younger families. For example a shower with two-part door is very convenient for washing small children. Moreover, as the close-knit family living together is gradually disappearing, the older people stay on their own and they need to make their homes comfortable and safe for themselves. Many of them are prepared to make substantial investments in new domestic appliances catering for their needs.
There are plans in Germany for an industry panel to prepare a programme responding to this new opportunity.

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