The importance of the grey pound and brand perception

When you think of online shopping and mcommerce, you think of fresh-faced millennials tapping away on their shiny touchscreen devices, taking advantage of the latest technology and spreading their gospel opinions. You don’t necessarily prioritise the opinion of humble over-55’s sitting at home with a nice cup of tea, blissfully unaware that their world is being taken over by ecommerce. But business owner, it’s time to open your eyes to the value of the forgotten ‘grey pound’.

The grey pound generation

New research issued by digital marketing agency, Greenlight has shown that online retailers across the UK need to start paying more attention to the over-55 market and they need to do it fast. The grey pound generationWhile us younger folk have been sharing away on social media sites and getting our hands on the latest mobile gadgets, silver-haired shoppers have been gradually increasing the value of the ‘grey pound’ and maximising the significance of online reviews. The money spent by this older generation of consumers is set to have a dramatic impact on the ecommerce market this year and Britain’s digital retailers need to jump on board.

Figures released by Greenlight show that over-55’s are expected to splash out a whopping £14.15bn during 2015, which is certainly not something UK businesses should be turning their noses up at. When devising their digital marketing strategies, it’s all eyes on millennials for online retailers but experts are urging businesses to now pay closer attention to the disposable income and spending habits of the grey pound generation.

UK retailers need to rethink their target marketing angle

By the year 2025, over-55’s are expected to make up a third of the UK’s population and account for around two thirds of retail activity so their consumption habits will have a vital role to play in the country’s digital economy. Greenlight’s study revealed that 76% of this demographic shop online at least once a month but comparatively, a mere 22% of marketers are targeting them in their campaigns.

COO and co-founder of Greenlight, Andreas Pouros, said: “With over 55’s set to spend £14.15bn on the web in 2015, online retailers should spend less time chasing the youth market and concentrate on winning the ‘grey pound’.

“Here lies an audience with more disposable cash, which is totally suited to ecommerce; eager to compare products and prices, shop flexibly and have products delivered to their door.”

At the moment, only 10% of over-55’s spend more than £150 per month online but a more substantial 51% spend between £20 and £80 each month. So existing trends demonstrate that this demographic is currently happier forking out smaller amounts but if UK retailers were to invest more time and money into marketing strategies that targeted the group, these amounts would almost definitely rise. Greenlight cite flexibility, price comparison services and product delivery as being some of the main reasons why over-55’s are embracing ecommerce and online businesses need to capitalise on them.

Grey pound generation relies on customer recommendation

As well as highlighting the significance of the grey pound, Greenlight’s research also showed that the older demographic of online shoppers is also growing the value of customer recommendations for brand perception. Pouros noted that while younger consumers tend to look towards social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for product updates, over-55’s prefer blogs, customer feedback, reviews and new articles.

He said: “Online recommendations greatly influence older online shoppers, this is just one element that brands should be building into their digital campaigns to make sure the ‘grey pound’ is spent with them.”

The weight behind online customer recommendations was demonstrated earlier this year when online reviews platform, Trustpilot secured a huge £73.5m investment to continue its global expansion. CEO and founder, Peter Holten Mühlmann, said: “Every day more than 10,000 consumers sign up for a Trustpilot account, demonstrating the growing influence of customer experience on brand perception.

“A brand is no longer just define by the company, it’s define by what customers are saying about that company; this is a global trend that businesses cannot ignore.”