Marketers need to wise up. Older, affluent consumers are increasingly important digital consumers as Kantar Media’s Geoff Wicken explains.
If your brand is primarily aimed at an older consumer, you might have thought you had time to get to grips with digital.
You might have thought you had a chance to watch and wait, while working out how you might best take advantage.
That would be wishful thinking. The latest TGI data from Kantar Media shows that even brands that target traditionally slower to change consumer audiences need to be digital-savvy.
The fact is that older, more mature consumers are as digital as their younger counterparts. In fact our data shows that much of the current growth in digital consumption is coming from older consumers, who are rapidly catching up with younger counterparts.
With younger groups hitting saturation levels for key elements of digital consumption, the fastest growth can now be seen among the more numerous, older and wealthier consumers.
This switch from young to old represents a massive opportunity for brands. Not only are older consumers far more numerous than younger age groups, they also in many cases have higher levels of disposable income.
The latest analysis of Kantar Media’s TGI data from the UK, India, Brazil and Turkey shows just how rapidly they are catching up.
Looking at 2006-2012, internet usage in India is growing fastest among those born in the 1960s, with 2012 data indexing 417 against 2006 numbers. Also, there are now just three percentage points between levels of agreement to the statement “when I need information the first place I look is the internet”, when people are measured by their decade of birth, in India.
In Turkey a similar picture can be seen with 1960s babies achieving a 255% growth in internet usage across the same timeframe. That compares with just 18% growth for those born in the 1980s.
Right across the UK, India, Brazil and Turkey, digital has become mainstream and older consumers are welcoming the new consumption opportunities it provides.
In Great Britain the figures reveal that online shopping is progressing towards becoming a universally popular activity across all age groups. Even among the 55+ age group, 50% are now comfortable with purchasing online.
A similar story can be seen with smartphones. In the UK, take-up in mobile internet capability over the last two years has shown the fastest growth among those aged 55+. The same picture can be seen in Brazil where 15% of those in the 55+ age group now have mobile phones with internet capability.
If anyone is still skeptical they should look at the drivers of tablet success. Uptake and purchasing has been driven not by young consumers but by the affluent. The top 10% of the population in terms of socio-economic level (SEL 1), who generally have the highest income, have been the key to the success of tablets. This is clear in the UK, where penetration of tablets reached 12% in 2012, but reached 36% amongst SEL 1. The same pattern is also seen in Brazil and Turkey.
The message that this data gives us is clear. All brands need to be on top of digital opportunities regardless of their target group.
There are, of course, differences in the way different ages use digital channels and brands need to understand these to ensure their message is targeted.
Social networking remains the domain of younger consumers, peaking in popularity among those born in the 1990s – indexing from 159 in Turkey to 175 in Brazil but this is not the only story when we look at other common internet activities.
For example, British people born in the 1960s and 1970s are the most likely to use online banking services. Furthermore, travel and holiday websites are most popular among those born in the 1950s – they are 24% more likely than average to visit such sites.
In Brazil, people born in the 1970s and 1980s are most likely to use online banking and visit travel websites. This is also true for banking sites in Turkey.
All audiences are moving into digital and brands need to plan accordingly. By understanding their new behaviours online, they will be able to offer services and messages that resonate with each target group.
The bottom line is that there is no target audience that doesn’t have digital as part of its media diet.
By Geoff Wicken
Head of TGI International