June 21, 2019 / Consumer

The Silent Work Force

woman looking into magnifying glass

For many, the prospect of working into your 70s is something that as a society, we did not believe would be a requirement for later life. The silent generation, who were raised in a time of economic uncertainty and a lack of modern luxuries, now face the task of having to work in order to afford the cost of living. With “11% of over-75s nervous about not having enough money for the future”, we consider why this is unnoticed in the retail landscape.

The number of people aged over 70 who are still working has more than doubled in a decade to nearly half a million.

Despite benefits of working into retirement, figures suggest that pensioner poverty in the UK is prevalent. The face of Britain’s workforce is dramatically changing and the reality for some senior citizens is that the likelihood of reaching 70 and not needing to work is very slim and impractical.

On a global scale, there are significant problems that are arising due to the increase of ageing populations. While healthcare services are suffering due to staff shortages and overstretched funding, retailers need to be recognising the opportunities and potential that this gap in the market has to offer.

CoverGirl is a brand pursuing this strategy by recognising the pressures that older consumers face. As a company, they are responding to this by providing high-quality products at affordable prices in addition to appointing 70-year-old Maye Musk as their new brand ambassador.

Reebok had the same approach in 2017 with 81 year old brand ambassador Wang Deshun, who has since been a key focus for the brand by encouraging wellbeing within older consumers. This promotes a healthy body image which consumers can relate to and trust.

More brands need to be reacting to this by diversifying and adopting age-friendly, affordable practises while focussing on convenience and simplicity. Currently, businesses tend to be using savvy, forward-thinking initiatives like using larger fonts within their products instead of implementing discount schemes or genuine support for elderly consumers who require the cost-saving opportunities instead.

This opens up the question of why society is failing to acknowledge the financial struggles of the silent generation and why the retail landscape is not recognising the potential in this unfortunate circumstance. How much longer can the silent generation stay silent?

Key Insights

  • If the silent generation is working more, then disability access within cities must improve to ensure that the demands are met and that more companies are able to provide the correct facilities.
  • Social media has taken up so much marketing budget and has accidentally excluded an entire generation of digitally shy consumers. With women working more and for longer, brands should capture the opportunity to engage this consumer group.
  • Resolutions need to be put in place to ensure that the silent generation does not get muted by this shift in society and that pensioner poverty doesn’t increase further as a result.

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