The Over 50s Generation: Welcome to the liberating lifestage


Written by RDSi

To quench our unwavering desire to understand people, RDSi frequently conduct our own exploratory research into misunderstood consumers. When it came to selecting our subject in 2017, we realised that over a decade had passed since we took the time to explore the interesting and diverse world of the over 50s. True to their increasing independence and go-getter attitude, the over 50’s practically chose themselves.

We are firm believers in the value that online communities have added to the qual toolkit. Their ability to overcome geographical and temporal limitations and the opportunities provided by visual task setting makes them an ideal solution for delving into the daily lives of this audience, and understanding what’s important. With 12 respondents signed up, and our oldest being 76, we had already challenged the stereotypes around older consumers struggling with technology! The community also created a porthole through which our clients could observe the interactions between this group. This immersive approach provided a steady stream of insight over the course of the digital hub.

The online community generated a level of richness above and beyond our expectations. Our respondent’s spoke with honesty and openness about their feelings, which made observing the group an emotionally rewarding experience. They expressed perennial feelings of excitement and enthusiasm for life, whilst also describing moments of frustration, vulnerability and at times loneliness. The tasks we set for them allowed us to uncover everything from their most prized possessions, eating habits and how these have changed across the years, to their feelings toward the younger generation of today. This audience have a real sense of liberation, but we identified key elements that contribute to their ability to truly embrace and enjoy this freedom.

Dipping back into our qual toolkit, we then took the insight gleaned from the community and pushed this even further with an interactive mixer session, including both cherry-picked respondents from the community and clients who we knew had a particular interest in this audience. We immersed clients in the world of 50-75 yr olds via the consumer generated visuals, verbatim, products, brands and advertising that successfully target this life stage. After feeding back our findings from the community we encouraged our clients and respondents to finally come together. There was the opportunity for clients to mix in larger groups or speed date our consumers to allow them to address their specific business issues. The interaction between client and consumer was so comfortable and genuine, providing clients with an experience they are not used to getting from the typical research session.

“It was a totally unique way of delivering research and having some of the group there to answer our questions gave us an additional level of insight. I have a much greater understanding and appreciation of this group of over 50s”

Our delighted clients left much better informed about…
• How to pitch their advertising messages to this target
• Inter-generational tensions and opportunities
• The benefits of online and offline shopping experiences

If this has piqued your interest and you would like to know more, please contact:

Suzy.Clemo@rdsiresearch.com
Robyn.Drysdale@rdsiresearch.com
Caroline.McHugh@rdsiresearch.com