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About Dick Stroud

Dick Stroud is the founder of 20plus30, a consultancy specialising in marketing to older consumers. He is the UK’s leading expert in understanding the implications of physical ageing on the way older people behave and the products they buy.

Marketing to the Ageing Consumer
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50-Plus Marketing

News, views and opinions about the most powerful group of consumers - the 50-plus market.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Never thought of Chile as a 50+ destination

Just read this interesting headline that  - Chile is seeking to reposition itself in the eyes of the Australian traveller as it homes in on the “trendy” flashpacker, in addition to its traditional 50 plus market.

I wonder how many older Australians realised that when visiting Chile they were part of its target market?

That said, I know that Australia targets, not very well, the older British traveller. Dick Stroud  

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Ageing tennis players or is it the uniqueness of Roger Federer

There is ageing and then there is ageing.

I love watching tennis and it really amuses me when the commentators talk about 'old' tennis players - in particular Roger Federer. Somebody who really should be playing the seniors competition aged 33 and a mature father of four.

Well last night they had a field day when Federer won in Cincinnati but not only that, he beat David Ferrer - another ancient player (32).

Can you believe that this was the first Masters 1000 final between two thirtysomethings in the 24 years of the competition, but the fourth in a tour final this year.

So perhaps we should start to talk about tennis as an ageing sport? I guess it is proof that with the right training and diet players can keep at their peak for longer. It might, however, just be a one-off and reflect the brilliance of Roger Federer. Dick Stroud

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Older consumers think differently depending on time of day

When I was writing Marketing to the Ageing Consumer with Kim Walker I was very interested in the science and implications of cognitive ageing.

There was one theory that I found particularly compelling called inhibition deficit theory.  This proposes that ageing weakens inhibitory processes that regulate information that enters and leaves working memory. For older adults this means that irrelevant information gains entry into working memory that results in interference. This is the ultra-laymen explanation. If you want to read about it in detail then look at this paper (Age-related top-down suppression deficit in the early stages of cortical visual memory processing)

I thought that this concept explains a lot of the issues that older people have with complex and clutter digital interfaces.

I have just read about research conducted at the Baycrest Center for Geriatric Care in Toronto. This found that there was a distinct difference in the cognitive efficiency of older adults depending on the time of day they were tested.

The study was published in the journal Psychology and Aging.

John Anderson, the lead author of the research said

Time of day really does matter when testing older adults. This age group is more focused and better able to ignore distraction in the morning than in the afternoon. 

Their improved cognitive performance in the morning correlated with greater activation of the brain’s attention control regions – the rostral prefrontal and superior parietal cortex – similar to that of younger adults.

Some of the implications that the researchers conclude from this research is that older people should schedule their most mentally challenging tasks for the morning time. Those tasks could include doing taxes, taking a test (such as a driver’s license renewal), seeing a doctor about a new condition.

You can read about the research on the Baycrest web site.

I have only just begun thinking about the implications of this research but it seems to me that it covers all areas of the older person’s life. A couple of thoughts about how this might impact the older consumer.

Financial services companies should schedule meetings with older people early in the day.

Where there are incentives for older people to shop on designated days then maybe there should be an added bonus for morning shopping.

We need to have a lot more information about the magnitude of the difference caused by time of day and what tasks are most affected. No doubt that it is a very useful ingredient to better understanding how best to improve the older customer experience and all parts of the purchase journey. Dick Stroud

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

The State of Nation's Housing from the Harvard Centre for Housing Studies

So much of what is published and discussed about issues involved with demographic change is trivial. Not so this report from Harvard. 

This report has much more to say than just about housing. The scope of the research shows what is happening with the different generations within the US. It is not good reading for the young.

If you need to understand, and I mean really understand, the numbers that will dictate the shape of consumer spending in the coming decades then download this research.

If you just want a quick scan of the key facts then look here. Dick Stroud

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Where to invest and make money out of "population ageing"

Firstly, thanks to Stephen Johnston, the guy behind aging2.com, for publishing such a useful news update about what is happening in the ageing world. If you haven't subscribed you should.

From his publication I found a couple of links to articles about "making money out of population ageing". Not surprisingly, this is becoming a popular subject and one I continually get asked about.

The first link is to Bloomberg and is about a fund that has been established in Japan to invest in established companies. This is the second round of funding that has raised about £30 million

The second item was about existing funds and shares - mainly in the health sector that are likely to benefit.

Now, the truth of the matter is that it is very difficult (and dangerous) to invest purely on the basis that a company has exposure to older people. You have to take into account all of the issues about the company or the fund. Look at what happened when Saga launched on the UK stock market. The shares are still trading below their offer price.

What I do know is that the latest news that a £1 million fund has been established to "stimulate creative and digital innovation in UK healthcare" is likely to be a total waste of money.

Why I am so pessimistic?

A large slug of the money will go on administering the fund
The size of each investment is around £50,000. That is just enough to develop a service but most importantly to get it into a place that it can be replicated or scaled.
The UK healthcare system (the NHS) makes it almost impossible for new ventures to work.

So what will happen?

A nice report will be written
It makes a good press release and proof that we "doing something"
There will probably be some work for consultants
There will probably be a conference to show the results- I might even be invited to speak
Within 36 months there will be no trace of where the money has been spent and certainly nothing to show for it.

Such is life. Dick Stroud

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