The increasingly youthful face of the ‘older’ consumer

By Niamh Michail

- Last updated on GMT

Products can be personalised enough to suit consumers' needs but general enough for everyday use, such as immune-boosting supplements for busy mums and dads, says Mintel
Products can be personalised enough to suit consumers' needs but general enough for everyday use, such as immune-boosting supplements for busy mums and dads, says Mintel
‘Older consumers’ are not old age pensioners anymore. In fact, there is a growing market for supplements tailored to the specific needs of people as young as thirty, say experts.

The United Nations predicts that by 2015 there will be 144 million more over-55 consumers worldwide than there were in 2012 - and because these people are working until later in life they are turning to supplements to stay physically and mentally active.

According to senior Mintel analyst Roshida Khanom: “As older people remain in employment for longer, appearance benefits are likely to be become more important to them, particularly as 48% of 45-54-year-olds are interested in trying vitamins or supplements that will reduce the appearance of wrinkles.”

But the ‘older’ consumer is also getting younger - last year Israeli company Fruitful Way brought out a range of his ‘n’ hers fertility supplements for couples over the age of thirty who have difficulty conceiving because of their age.

CEO and founder of Udi Alroy said: “The statistics on fertility demonstrate that couples are most likely to experience problems trying to get pregnant now that the average age of the mother for a first pregnancy has risen to about 30 years.

It takes time to find the right partner and build your career, so once the couple decides to get pregnant, both are forced into a rapidly narrowing window of time.”

“One-size-fits-all is dead”

Changing demographics combine with a consumer desire for tailored products – meaning a growing market for highly specific products.

According to a Mintel report: “Personalisation has become a right, not a privilege, and this desire for personalisation is likely driving the sales of demographic-specific vitamins, as consumers look for more individual solutions."

Between 2012 and 2014 there was a 5% rise in sales of vitamins or supplements to the over-50s with the category worth nearly €20m in 2014.

The latest specialised supplement range to hit the market - Prime Fifty - typifies this highly tailored approach.

Prime Fifty founder, Max Gowland, said that the company researched the specific of its target consumers, surveying over one thousand people. They found that 49% of over-50s were concerned about aching joints, while 34% worried about lower energy levels.

According to Gowland: “This over-50 demographic … demand products that they see as well-thought through and relevant to themselves.

“[In our supplements] we have used BioPerine too to enhance absorption of nutrients generally, as this is what is needed for this demographic. The muscle health product contains the very highest  quality protein source, plus amino acids L-Leucine relevant to sarcopoenia [and] lactase enzyme to help … digestion, as lactose intolerance is more common in this age group.”

According to Mintel data, over-65s are still the highest daily users of supplements and vitamins, with almost half taking a supplement each day.

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