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Nielsen study highlights CPG, retail needs of aging consumer demographic

North America leads in offering clearly labeled CPGs, foods for special diets

February 25, 2014
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As the 65-and-older demographic increases in size and spending power, retailers, brand marketers and service providers have opportunities to better support the health and well-being of aging consumers, according to new findings from Nielsen, New York.

According to the Nielsen Global Survey about Aging, which polled more than 30,000 Internet respondents in 60 countries, 51 percent of global consumers surveyed said they do not see advertising that reflects older consumers, and half said it is difficult for an aging demographic to find product labels that are easy to read. With regard to products or services that meet aging consumers’ needs, 43 percent of global respondents stated they have trouble locating packages that are easy to open. In addition, more than four in 10 cannot find foods that met their special nutritional diets (45 percent), offered smaller portion-sized food packaging (44 percent) or featured clearly labeled nutritional information (43 percent).

“These findings serve as a wake-up call to manufacturers, retailers and other marketers that need to bolster efforts to better reach and cater to an aging demographic,” said Todd Hale, senior vice president of consumer and shopper insights at Nielsen, in a statement. “People 65 and older already outnumber kids under 14 in many developed countries like Japan, Germany and Italy. While the global aging population is growing in number, their spending power is growing too, as many have more time to shop and spend than their younger counterparts.”

Nielsen also reports that one in three global respondents believe stores are not catering to the needs of older consumers by providing aisles featuring products dedicated to their needs (34 percent), offering handicapped check-out lanes (33 percent) or lending assistance with grocery bags (36 percent). Roughly one in four respondents around the world said retailers are not equipped with benches (29 percent), ample handicapped parking (25 percent), handicapped bathrooms (23 percent), easy-to-reach shelving (23 percent) or handicapped ramps and doors (22 percent).

Aging concerns have a regional footprint

In North America, products, services and store amenities that cater to an older demographic claim the highest percentages for fully meeting respondents’ needs by providing clearly labeled nutritional information on packages (53 percent), foods for special dietary needs (52 percent), ample lighting (51 percent), handicapped bathrooms (38 percent), handicapped ramps and doors (37 percent), electric shopping carts (36 percent), online shopping delivery options (34 percent), wide aisles for handicapped accessibility (34 percent), and courteous customer service (33 percent).

Retailers in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East/Africa regions receive the highest percentages of “fully meets needs” responses for easy-to-open product packaging (both 54 percent), benches (29 percent and 25 percent, respectively), assistance with grocery bags (24 percent and 27 percent, respectively), easy-to-reach shelving (30 percent and 33 percent, respectively), and product promotions geared toward smaller-family needs (23 percent and 27 percent, respectively).

Conversely, more than half of European and Latin American respondents said they have trouble finding products that are easy to read (61 percent and 59 percent, respectively) and are clearly labeled with nutritional information (53 percent and 54 percent, respectively). Forty-six percent of Europeans and 48 percent of Latin Americans surveyed said they can’t locate foods that meet special dietary needs. In Europe, 45 percent believe the stores they shop in are not equipped with aisles featuring products dedicated to their needs, and more than half can’t find electric shopping carts (59 percent) or get help with bringing grocery bags to the car (52 percent). More than four in 10 Latin Americans believe retail stores do not provide benches to sit down (49 percent), dedicate aisles featuring products dedicated to their needs (45 percent) or provide handicapped check-out aisles (43 percent).

“As retailers and manufacturers clamor to create a point of differentiation for their products and services, they only need to listen to the loud call for help coming from aging consumers in all parts of the world,” Hale said in a statement. “Improvements such as using larger fonts on product labels and signage, arranging age-related products in one place and at arm’s length for easier accessibility, and offering friendly customer service can go a long way in building loyal patronage.”

High interest in digital engagement for grocery shopping

More than one-third (37 percent) of global respondents said they already are ordering groceries online for home delivery, with 54 percent willing to try it if it becomes available.

Usage of online coupons for grocery shopping already is a practice among 32 percent of global respondents, with percentages in Asia-Pacific (41 percent) and North America (38 percent) exceeding the global average. Three-quarters of respondents in Latin America, 64 percent in the Middle East and Africa, 61 percent in Europe, and 54 percent in both Asia-Pacific and North America said they are willing to use online coupons for grocery shopping.

Online and mobile shopping lists also are used by nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of global respondents, while three in four respondents in Latin America are willing to use online shopping lists if they become available, along with 63 percent from the Middle East and Africa, 62 percent from Asia-Pacific, 62 percent from North America and 61 percent from Europe.

”While the findings are based on online respondents and represent an increased propensity for online usage, the research reflects the sentiment of leading-indicator attitudes that will only continue as Internet penetration rates grow,” Hale said in a statement. “As the Internet’s influence continues to permeate the everyday lives of connected people everywhere, savvy marketers need to ensure they are connecting with them, too.”
 

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