NEW YORK, March 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- They led the working women movement, the green movement, and most recently, the "lean in" movement. Complacency has never been their thing. Now, the one-in-three Americans age 50 and older are staging a "ReMovement," stopping to reappraise many aspects of their lives and removing relationships, behaviors and brands that have lost relevance.
According to new research by Ketchum, a world leader in communications and public relations, 53 percent of those age 50 and older say they have had relationships end in the last five years, while 46 percent have seen relationships change significantly. And contrary to the stereotype of being "stuck in their ways," most of this age group (89 percent) claims openness to trying new brands, citing evolving priorities. Just 26 percent of 50-plus Americans claim loyalty to travel and hospitality brands or consumer packaged goods, with even fewer feeling loyal to energy companies (24 percent) or fashion brands (13 percent), leaving these sectors especially susceptible to the changing tastes and needs of America's largest population segment.
This well-heeled target market, numbering 109 million Americans according to AARP, is on the receiving end of the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth in history. They represent about 50 percent of the $6.4 trillion spent by U.S. households annually (Consumer Expenditure Survey, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sept. 2013) and say they would rather switch loyalties than settle, according to Ketchum's U.S. survey.
"This is an eye-opening, stereotype-busting piece of research. Rather than becoming more set in their ways as they get older, this generation questions everything and is willing to change anything," said Ketchum partner and chief strategy & creativity officer Karen Strauss.
Strauss, who co-leads the firm's 50-plus specialty, added, "A whopping 76 percent of respondents expect life to keep getting better, so we're not surprised this optimism produces happiness-seeking changes."
For women especially, turning 50 marks the beginning of a steady increase in happiness and satisfaction as they focus more on personal wellbeing and fulfillment. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of women age 70 to 79 rate their feelings of health and wellbeing to be good, while 55 percent of those age 60 to 69 and 49 percent of those age 50 to 59 say the same. This is largely driven by their social life, as 71 percent say they spend time with friends and family to help improve feelings of health and wellbeing, surpassing the 65 percent who take vitamins or supplements to do so.
"We see women coming out of their 40s, the so-called rush hour decade, when they have been building a career or a family or both," said Strauss. "Many of them have a breakthrough moment at around age 50. They have 'leaned in' to achieve career and family goals, and now they want to start taking better physical and emotional care of themselves." This is supported by the Ketchum survey results, according to the 99 percent of women age 50 to 79 who say their physical health, and 97 percent who say their mental health, is important to their feelings of wellbeing.
For spouses who haven't been pulling their weight, friends who are high on drama, and brands that are just force-of-habit, it could mean getting left behind. But for companies that want to sell to this large and growing market segment, it also means a new age of opportunity. Whether it's a product or a person, switching is preferable to settling to this age group, and fewer, deeper relationships are being actively pursued as Americans age.
"Rather than sticking with the brands they have been using for years, people hit this watershed moment and ask, 'How are you meeting my changing needs?' 'Tell me how you will make my life better,'" said Andrea Barish, SVP of strategic & creative planning at Ketchum, who co-leads the 50-plus specialty. "The opportunity is to tap into this market's desire for healthy living, financial security, self-fulfillment and meaning."
Ketchum's 50+ ReMovement Study identified the following attributes of the 50-plus population segment:
- They are happy to try new products, as their priorities, finances, health and lifestyles change. In fact, 89 percent are open to trying new brands – they attribute shifting attitudes to changing priorities (33 percent) and lifestyles (29 percent).
- They are not as loyal as marketers may assume. Less than half (45 percent) belong to a brand loyalty program, and nearly three in 10 (27 percent) are always on the lookout for new brands to try.
- They are comfortable parting with relationships that aren't working. Half (53 percent) of those age 50-plus say their relationships have lost relevance or run their course recently.
- They are comfortable being alone. Two-thirds (67 percent) of those age 50-plus say they don't yearn to be included in social events, while 92 percent are satisfied with the time they spend alone.
- They place hobbies other than exercise high on their list for improving health and wellbeing. Nearly half (45 percent) spend time on hobbies to improve their wellbeing, compared with only 13 percent who go to a health club and 7 percent who practice yoga.
- They believe their current decade is their best yet. There is no decline in perceived contentment from their 50s through their 70s, with each cohort saying it's their best decade yet.
A concept coined by Ketchum, the 50+ ReMovement is a dynamic trend that sees men and women reappraising their physical and psychological needs and values, and parting ways with friends, spouses, behaviors and brands that have lost personal relevance. They are comfortable removing the people and things that have not kept up with them. To help brands connect better with this ReMovement, Ketchum has launched Ketchum 50+, providing strategies to reach and be relevant to America's most lucrative segment. A team of Ketchum experts in the language, imagery, ideas and media preferred by Americans 50+, including partners VibrantNation.com (the leading online community for women age 45+) and maslansky + partners (a top message strategy consulting firm with 50+ expertise), make Ketchum 50+ an effective way to shape, test and deliver communications campaigns that strike the right chord with the longevity generation, ensuring brands earn their consideration and loyalty.
Based on the results of the survey, Ketchum 50+ identified 10 ways brands can connect with the 50-and-older "ReMovers":
- Reintroduce yourself. Highlight benefits for people going through change.
- Address relationship reshuffling. Provide chances to forge new relationships.
- Reflect optimism. Depict people with exciting opportunities ahead.
- Honor the happiness U-curve. Reflect increasing happiness into the 60s and 70s.
- Help turn a page. Offer opportunities to "move on" without looking back.
- Celebrate the solitary. Show it's OK to be alone and enjoy one's own company.
- Invite experimentation. Play to the generation's yearning to try new things.
- Allow self-indulgence. Validate people's desire to focus on self-realization and fulfillment.
- Acknowledge shifting loyalties. State outright that brand loyalty is not assumed.
- Provide a longevity roadmap. Offer ideas for a well-lived later life.
For more information on the study and Ketchum 50+, visit http://www.ketchum.com/marketing-50.
Ketchum Global Research & Analytics designed and analyzed the 50+ ReMovement Study, an online survey of 1,000 respondents age 50 and older living in the United States. Ipsos fielded the survey from Dec. 2, 2014 to Dec. 15, 2014; the survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.1% at a 95% confidence level.
Ketchum is a leading global communications firm with operations in more than 70 countries across six continents. The winner of 14 Cannes Lions and an unprecedented four PRWeek Campaign of the Year Awards, Ketchum partners with clients to deliver strategic programming, game-changing creative and measurable results that build brands and reputations. For more information on Ketchum, a part of the DAS Group of Companies, visit www.ketchum.com.
About the DAS Group of Companies
The DAS Group of Companies, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) (www.omnicomgroup.com), is a global group of marketing services companies. DAS includes over 200 companies in the following marketing disciplines: specialty, PR, healthcare, CRM, events, promotional marketing, branding and research. Operating through a combination of networks and regional organizations, DAS serves international, regional, national and local clients through more than 700 offices in 71 countries.