Supermarkets are beginning to embrace their older customers

There are great moves afoot to address the needs of older consumers in retail.

It’s a rapidly growing market and according to new research from AgeUK, going to the supermarket gives nearly 2.5 million older people a reason to get out of the house.

Over a million over 60s visit a supermarket every day, says the report, and a further 5.3 million go at least 2-3 times per week.

Age UK is calling on retailers to train staff to recognise older people who may be lonely and chat to them.

That’s something that’s built in to the ethos of some supermarkets already. Our local Waitrose has always been a place to find conversation at the till if you want it and no hint of being hurried. On the other hand, Aldi staff are pleasant but goods fly through their hands as they speed process their customers.

Just last week we heard about slow tills at Tesco. It’s an experiment in conjunction with Alzheimer’s Scotland to help shoppers with dementia, but could be of value to all customers who enjoy a slower shop with conversation and help.

Not every disability is visible

That’s not the only positive news from Tesco. It’s one of several supermarkets that are changing the way disabled toilets are labelled to highlight the fact that not every disability is visible. The aim is increase awareness of the many reasons why shoppers might need to use facilities that are more accessible.

AgeUK has more on the agenda for local retailers and businesses. The charity would like to see greater awareness promoted amongst staff of local services that can help, and store policies which help front line staff to become volunteer befrienders, making regular visits and telephone calls.

 

More over 65s are buying on the internet than you might think

Over 65s are increasingly comfortable with shopping online

The Office of National Statistics in the UK has recently taken a look at how the over 65s and others use the internet and their interests in online shopping.

Now “over 65s” is a huge category, ranging over two generations in some families. So the differences between those in their 60s and those in their 80s is likely to be marked – not just in internet usage but in needs and desires too.

All that said, there are several factors that could entice marketers to take more account of this sector when planning their campaigns.

  1. The over 65s may use the internet for various social, research and shopping purposes less than younger age groups, but they are still significant. And numbers are growing.
  • 53% of this age group use email
  • 34% read news online
  • 31% use services related to travel
  • 23% use social networks, up by 8% from 2015
  • 45% have shopped online in the past 12 months, up by 29% since 2008
  • 24% have bought clothes or sports goods online this year
  • Around a quarter of this age group say they have bought household goods, travel arrangements, and books/magazines/papers and papers
  • Around 10% have bought food or groceries, tickets for events and electronic equipment.
  • Fewer again have bought films and music (including downloads), video games/software/upgrades and hardware.
  1. The next age group, the 55-64s, use the internet significantly more. Of working age, they are likely to have had long-term experience and be comfortable with the ways of the web. And as every year passes more people will enter the 65+ category, possibly with changing tastes and needs, but still with their online experience. So this “grey” opportunity can only grow.

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