Press Release Summary = Greater life expectancy and lower fertility are among the factors that have led to a gradual ageing of the UK population. By mid-2003, there were 820,000 more people aged over 40, and just over a million fewer people aged under 40, than there were in mid-2000.
Press Release Body = Over-40s Consumer - Market Assessment
Greater life expectancy and lower fertility are among the factors that have led to a gradual ageing of the UK population. By mid-2003, there were 820,000 more people aged over 40, and just over a million fewer people aged under 40, than there were in mid-2000. The total over-40 population stood at 28.3 million in June 2003, with particularly large increases having taken place among the 55 to 59 year-olds (the \'baby boom\' generation born after the end of the Second World War) and among those in their early 80s, who have benefited from continuing improvements in health and social care, which have helped increase longevity.
Health concerns tend to come to the fore when people reach middle age or beyond, leading to lifestyle changes with the aim of minimising the effect of the ageing process on health. Those in the 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 age groups are among the most likely to have private health insurance.
An examination of the expenditure on food of households headed by people over 50 and above reveals a mixture of healthy eating habits (such as a high intake of fruit and vegetables) and those that are less healthy (such as a fondness for preserves). They also suggest a more traditional pattern of eating among these older households, with a greater reliance on the type of \'meat and two veg\' meals that have generally become less popular.
However, consumer research conducted in 2004 showed that those in the over-55 age groups are willing to learn new eating habits and to change their diet in the face of greater awareness of dietary requirements. The original research commissioned for this report in spring 2005 endorsed this; a very high proportion of consumers over 40 are aware of the importance of a balanced diet for a healthier lifestyle and a large minority say that they always try to make sure that what they eat is healthy. It may be worrying for the convenience food industry that a fairly high proportion of over-40 year-olds (particularly those in the AB group) think that convenience foods do not contain the necessary dietary requirements.
Over-40 year-olds are clearly keen to make the most of life, with two-thirds saying that they are now more aware of their quality of life than they were in their 20s. Nearly a third now take more holidays and short breaks than they did 10 years ago.
Targeting the over-40s clearly presents many opportunities for marketers but it is important to be aware that they are astute consumers, who are unlikely to be fobbed off with inferior goods and services. For example, Key Note\'s research showed that more than six in ten say that they are now more selective about what they buy than they were in their 20s.
Nearly three in ten respondents say that advertisers should use more people aged over 40 in their advertisements. Just a third of all over-40s say that they are perfectly happy with the clothing ranges available for their age group from high-street retailers; fewer than one in five are satisfied with the holidays offered to the over-40s by the travel industry.