Sophisticated Consumers Are an Overlooked Trillion-Dollar Opportunity


  • 50- to 70-year-olds are surprisingly influential in purchasing younger consumers, especially on big-ticket items like cars
  • New BCG Report Details Why Companies Shouldn’t Ignore Sophisticated Consumers

boston— Brands that underestimate mature consumers (nearly 1 billion people worldwide aged 50 to 70) are missing out on trillions of dollars in today’s challenging economic environment. Sophisticated consumers make up a large and growing group, currently accounting for 27% of spending (approximately $7 trillion) annually across nine product categories across 12 major markets. Mature consumers are relatively resilient to economic shocks, buy quality products that they value, and exert considerable influence on the purchasing decisions of younger consumers. However, brand marketers often overlook them. These consumers are the focus of a new report released today by Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) Center for Customer Insights.

title Don’t Ignore Sophisticated ConsumersThe report surveyed 870 million consumers between the ages of 50 and 70 in Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, the UK and 12 markets. United States – almost half of the world’s population. The size of the consumer population in these countries will continue to increase in the coming decades, reaching nearly 1.1 billion by 2050.

“Sophisticated consumers are often overlooked by brand marketing largely because of lingering misconceptions,” said Aparna, managing director and partner at BCG, head of the firm’s Center for Global Customer Insights and co-author of the report. Aparna Bharadwaj said. “They are perceived as price-sensitive and rely on brick-and-mortar purchases. Nothing could be further from the truth. But marketers fail to recognize their role as trendsetters and struggle to reach them through traditional marketing techniques.”

Sophisticated consumers are active online, with 90% using social media platforms daily. While they appreciate being able to interact with sales agents in person, they also value the convenience of using online channels—sometimes even more so than their younger counterparts. In the US, for example, 46% of mature consumers shop for clothing online, compared to 36% of younger consumers.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the 50- to 70-year-old consumer segment is more likely to influence younger consumers than younger consumers across all product categories included in the study. This is especially true for bulky items. About 36% of young consumers said their car purchases were influenced by mature consumers, while only 15% said they were influenced by mature consumers; about 31% of young consumers said their investment choices were influenced by mature consumers , compared to 15 percent.

In the 50 to 70 age group, the top 20% of consumers are concentrated, called Vibrant mature consumers, accounting for approximately 55% of total spending in the product categories covered in the group’s research. Figures for specific categories range from 50% of vehicle spending, 54% of travel spending to 68% of investment product spending. Vigorous mature consumers tend to be happier, enjoy more active lifestyles, and worry less about money than other mature consumers.

“Marketers often underestimate the value that sophisticated consumers bring to brands, especially concentrated and dynamic groups of mature consumers, making it difficult for them to reach them using traditional marketing techniques,” said BCG Associate Director, The Report. “Winning their trust and loyalty requires a nuanced approach, including Tailor information to their interests and tendencies, delivering factual information through direct, personalized interactions and designing an omnichannel buying journey just for them. “

Please download the publication here.

Media Contact:
Eric Gregoire
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