Time to listen to Grown Ups

In 2016, Cigna New Zealand acquired the GrownUps website, a New Zealand lifestyle website, social club and brain training hub for over 50-year-olds, opening the door to new insights and a greater understanding of the 50-plus market. One of the first studies to provide such insights utilised a large number of respondents from GrownUps and the results have challenged the “Selfish-Boomer” perception.

Auckland-based research consultancy HT Group, in working on behalf of Cigna, Bupa and Nestlé, conducted the research to compare and contrast the lives and attitudes of two often-opposing generations, Baby Boomers and Millennials. In particular, the study was tasked to discover how they affect working, financial and consumer behaviour.

StopPress spoke to GrownUps New Zealand general manager Richard Poole who confirmed that one of the key findings of the research was that Baby Boomers care deeply about the plight of Millennials, with particular concerns around their mental health and financial stability.

“This is in line with the feedback received on the GrownUps lifestyle website. It is a myth that Baby Boomers are a largely self-indulgent lot.”

The research reported that nearly 70 percent of Baby Boomers say they care passionately about the environment compared with 59 percent of Millennials; 65 percent claim to not want or need possessions compared with 45 percent Millennials and 52 percent have respect for younger people compared with 38 percent of Millennials. 

The inability to enter the housing market was given as an example of the current inequality between young and old people. Indeed, more than half of respondents felt that it was more important to help their children financially now, rather than leave a legacy after death or force their children to be self-sufficient. 

“The Baby Boomer generation is an intriguing one and never predictable,” advised HT Group director Clare Hall-Taylor. “Our research findings dispel the “Selfish Boomer” narrative – they have greater humility, empathy and compassion than we may have previously given them credit for, and are living proof that ageing doesn’t necessarily mean giving up your lifestyle.”

It’s predicted that in 10 years’ time, 36 percent of New Zealand’s population will be aged 50 or over. Hall-Taylor says that it’s vital for companies’ future success to ensure this age group feels valued, as both employees and consumers, yet the survey found evidence that many feel ignored.

“GrownUps is New Zealand’s largest lifestyle website, social club and brain training hub for the over fifties,” says Poole. “It is a great conduit for marketers to interact with this important sector, not just to talk to them, but rather to listen to what they have to say. Through GrownUps, marketers can access in-depth insights and gain a greater understanding of the older generation. Our knowledge and understanding continues to grow every year – actually in truth, every day.”

Hall-Taylor reinforces this view. “This demographic change has been slowly creeping up on us, but the time has come for marketers and employers to really take this age group seriously and understand the changing dynamics. This large and diverse group is navigating their longevity in ways never seen before.”

Some major companies have already recognised the value of this older generation. Nestlé New Zealand’s insights and planning manager, Vanessa Clark, explained that Nestlé participated in this study to better understand how the Baby Boomer generation is navigating life as they get older, the implications that has for their food choices, and how Nestlé brands can remain relevant to them.

Lifetime Retirement Income is New Zealand’s largest guaranteed income provider and enables Kiwi’s aged 60-plus to turn their savings into a regular income for life. Managing director, Ralph Stewart, says the company is growing its customer base quickly.

“Our customers tend to be informed, middle-income Kiwis who want the security of an insured fortnightly income to help them top up their NZ Super and meet their regular expenses. The number of Kiwis aged 60-plus is growing by the day and the media they engage with is changing rapidly. We had great success working with GrownUps and found their readership to be intelligent, informed, and inquisitive. While they might be retiring soon, their minds certainly aren’t!”

HT Group conducted the online survey with 1,363 people to compare 55- to 70-year-olds with other age groups.  In addition, a qualitative study of 62 people around New Zealand was conducted over a six week period. For the purposes of the study, Millennials were born between 1982-1999 (18-35) and Baby Boomers were born between 1947-1962 (55-70). The work was done in consultation with Geoff Pearman, a consultant in age and work, and the Health and Ageing Research Team, Massey University (HART)

HT Group has over 20 years’ experience connecting companies with changing communities in both New Zealand and the UK.

  • This story is brought to you as part of a content partnership between StopPress and GrownUps

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