With the home furnishings industry in a slump, it’s a good time to concentrate marketing efforts on consumers who have the money to spend. The higher end of the market is typically more resilient than the middle and lower ends, as well-heeled consumers tend to be better insulated from the impacts of inflation and even recessions.
And one group of better-off shoppers is particularly resilient these days: “vibrant mature consumers,” as Boston Consulting Group’s Center for Customer Insights deems the cohort in a recent research report.
Vibrant mature consumers are the top 20% of spenders in the 50-70 age group — it’s also a group that tends to be happier and more active than other mature consumers. Despite their ability to spend, they can be overlooked by retailers, brand marketers and even interior designers because they don’t drive trends and account for a lower percentage of overall consumer spending than younger generations.
But this group is willing to spend money.
“Because they tend to be financially secure and resilient spenders, mature consumers are a highly valuable consumer segment — especially in times of economic uncertainty,” BCG says. (BCG surveyed 18,000 consumers in 12 countries; the results I’m talking about here apply to U.S. consumers.)
Here are a few factors, in particular, that make this group a good target for home furnishings brands, retailers and designers:
* They have fewer money worries.
Established in their careers or retired, with their own homes and both their own education and their children’s education behind them, this group is more financially secure than their younger counterparts and less buffeted by economic ups and downs. Only about one-quarter are worried about their financial situation, compared with one-half of younger consumers, according to the report.
* They spend more on individual items.
As I noted earlier, older consumers account for less of overall consumer spending than younger shoppers but “they spend significantly more on individual purchases” across categories, BCG found. “That’s because they tend to value quality more highly and therefore purchase higher-priced and more premium products.” This makes them a great target for luxury home goods and design services.
* They are influencers, too.
We tend to think of the youngest demographics driving trends in everything from music to entertainment to clothing, but BCG says older consumers “project a ‘halo effect’ on brands they choose — especially with respect to big-ticket purchases. … In these product categories, many young consumers seek to tap the experience of their elders to reduce risks or receive validation for their choices.”
* It’s a demographic that’s growing.
In general, the U.S. — and other parts of the world — is aging. “And as societies age, the demographic will continue to grow in size and importance for decades.”
How to reach them
* Don’t discount social.
BCG notes that as many as nine in 10 older consumers use social media at least once a day, so you can reach them through social platforms. In fact, this can be a good avenue for outreach, as they value information that comes to them through their personal networks.
* Go beyond gray hair.
It’s not enough to just create ads or social posts featuring older people. “We tested several different types of advertisements — some with older actors and others with younger actors,” BCG says. “Neither approach works well with mature consumers unless the message itself is tailored to their interests and inclinations.”
* Focus on facts.
Older consumers tend to be more risk averse (perhaps because they know they are planning to spend more money) and are more receptive to information they deem as reliable and trustworthy. This is a group that will like warranties, guarantees and other assurances that products will last and that they’ll be satisfied with design services. Engage them with facts: project timetables, product components, etc.
* Build the brand.
This is a demographic that trusts recognizable and accredited brands. Designers can tout accolades, awards and word-of-mouth endorsements. Brands and retailers can highlight their core values.
* Let them connect with real people, not AI.
This group shops online and uses social media but still prefers brick-and-mortar stores and likes to be able to speak to real people. They value direct, personal interactions, so make sure they have a way to reach a live person through your website and social channels. Promote the knowledge of your sales associates in marketing.
A focus on vibrant mature consumers could add vitality to your bottom line.
Consumer Insights Now research coming soon
And speaking of research: Decor News Now will bring you the latest Consumer Insights Now research, looking at furniture buying trends in the first half of the year and consumers’ buying plans for the second half of 2023. The first installment will be released the week of Sept. 10, with weekly reports dropping in each of the following four weeks. It’s actionable data that can help you shape your High Point Market buying plans. Don’t miss it!