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Friday, 10 May, 2002, 01:49 GMT 02:49 UK
Advertisers 'ignoring grey pound'
Middle-aged couple at home
The over-50s is a neglected market, the report found
Advertisers focus too heavily on the young and are failing to notice the growing population of over 50-year-olds, according to research.

The report, from market analysts Datamonitor, says three groups of over 50-year-old consumers are emerging.

One it called "woofs" - for well-off older folks.

The second was "youthfully spirited" - those who like to experiment but are less financially secure than the woofs.

Three types of over 50s
Well-off older folks
Youthfully spirited
Self-preservationists
Coined by: Datamonitor

The third group - "self -preservationists" - are "more introverted, have more conservative purchasing patterns and are typically older than consumers in the two other groups".

Datamonitor says companies fail to notice the over-50s because they are "obsessed with youth".

Another reason, it says, could be the age of those responsible for marketing - about half of staff in advertising agencies are aged under 30.

Growing market

Datamonitor used statistics from the United Nations to show over 50-year-olds are a growing market.

In 2000 there were about 132 million over-50s in western Europe. By 2025 there are expected to be 177 million.

In the UK, there were almost 20 million over-50s in 2000. By 2025 there are expected to be nearly 27 million.

Over 50s in Europe and UK
Europe 2000: 132m
Europe 2025 est: 177m
UK 2000: 20m
UK 2025 est: 27m
Source: UN

Piers Berezai, author of the report, said: "The obsession with targeting younger consumers under the age of 30, especially teenagers and 'tweenagers', means that mainstream advertising has the potential to totally ignore those over age of 50.

"Even worse, the portrayal of older consumers in many adverts could be considered patronising or even offensive.

"With the growth in the over 50s segment, marketers can no longer run the risk of alienating this audience."

See also:

19 Mar 02 | TV and Radio
Older people 'ignored by TV'
19 Mar 02 | TV and Radio
Adie: TV sidelines older viewers
09 Apr 02 | Sci/Tech
Computer games lure older players
13 May 00 | UK Politics
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