Posts Tagged ‘market research with seniors’

Will the Trend Toward Urbanized Seniors Affect Your Brand’s Future? Four Factors to Consider.

Posted on: April 12th, 2017 by doyle

From the desk of Carole Schmidt

If you’re not an urban dweller today, you will likely become one–within 15 years. In 1800, only 2% of the world’s population was urban. By 2014, 180,000 people were added to the urban population each day!  In 2030, 84% of the population in developed countries will be living in urban areas.  While economic powerhouse “megacities” have doubled from 14 in 1995 to 29 in 2015, the fastest-growing urban centers are small and medium cities — already accounting for 59 percent of the world’s population!

So, who makes up the fastest-growing population? As it turns out, that’s people age 60 and over, a group that is growing at nearly 3.7 percent a year globally—one quarter of each of the world’s urban regions is expected to be 60 or over by 2050!

Urban SeniorsWhat is happening in response to the emergence of the urban senior? What should you be thinking about for your brand? Are your brands positioned for success with this trend?

If you’re not exploring how urban populations might help or hurt your brand or business, you should be.  Here are four things to consider:

  1. More seniors are walking, biking, using public transit: This means there are increasing numbers of small businesses, local retailers and delivery services designed to meet the needs of this segment. E-commerce will continue to grow because it brings products and services to this population. Is your product’s packaging easily transported? Is your e-commerce strategy optimized? Are you looking at geo-located smartphone and kiosk advertising to replace freeway outdoor spends and conventional TV?
  2. Packaging that reduces waste is critical for urban living: Fast growing cities are aggressive about reducing future trash. San Francisco leads the U.S. with an 80% success rate at keeping discards out of landfills.  Keurig cups were just banned in Hamburg Germany. If you aren’t looking at reduced packaging by now, you’re already behind as urban restrictions increase.
  3. Personalized healthcare will influence CPG development: Medical needs of urban seniors will influence product successes and failures. Just as local “minute clinics” and home-based care are increasing, so are wearable medical monitors that will soon respond to product ingredients and features, warning users, for example, “no, too much salt or high in cholesterol,” or “reviews say this vehicle’s seat design yields poor back support.” How will your products fare as medical care, customer reviews, and products intersect more directly? 
  4. As urbanization increases, senior will favor more hedonistic pleasures and unique physical experiences as antidotes to the stress of dense environments. Global travel is expected to increase fourfold in the next ten years to help urban dwellers recharge. How and where will seniors engage with your products? As a replenishing snack after their local spin yoga class? Can your appliances be redesigned to promote a pleasurable experience, not just a functional one? Will urban dwellers find your product wherever they travel, reinforcing their loyalty to your brand?

Urbanization will produce economic, social, and environmental improvements. Don’t let doomsayers distract you from the opportunities before us. Prepare your brand strategy to work with the growth in urbanization. Giving thought to how you can engage and nurture today’s customers as they become urban seniors over the next decade may result in increased loyalists for a healthy brand future!

6 Questions which Show… Medicare is not for Sissies!

Posted on: June 2nd, 2015 by doyle

Senior with hatsFrom the desk of Jo-Ann Ryan

Health insurance in general can be bewildering and intimidating, but Medicare health plans raise the confusion to a whole new level!   Ironically, it is the elderly and more vulnerable populations who are left to navigate the Medicare maze.

I have conducted countless studies about Medicare plans over my research career, and here are the 6 questions I consistently encounter:

  1. What type of plan do I have? A number of Seniors do not even know what type of Medicare plan they have or what it covers and does not cover.
  2. How do Medicare and supplement insurance work together? First of all, some seniors tend to believe that Medicare covers more than it does. Secondly, they do not fully understand the relationship between Medicare and supplement insurance and how benefits/payments are coordinated (e.g., Medicare being the primary payer, and the insurance company being the secondary payer).
  3. What types of plans are available and how do they differ? Often Seniors are unaware of, and/or do not understand, the three different types of plans – Medicare Supplement/Medigap, Medicare Advantage, and Prescription Drug (Part D) – each with different benefits that must be considered based on an individual’s needs.
  4. Is it possible to return to a Medicare Supplement plan once you have dropped it? Once you leave a Medicare Supplement plan, you have to go through the underwriting process again and may no longer qualify when you reapply.
  5. Who designs/determines requirements of Medicare plans? People often blame health insurers for plan restrictions and limitations (e.g., including the prescription donut hole). They do not realize that the Medicare plans which health insurers offer are heavily dictated by CMS regulations (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services).
  6. If I don’t take any medications now, or take ones that are not very expensive, why should I sign up for a prescription drug plan? There is a penalty for not signing up for a prescription drug plan when you turn 65. Seniors assume that if they take few medications and/or generic ones, that they do not need a plan and can get a plan later when they need it. They can but it comes at a higher cost.

At Doyle Research Associates, we’ve learned the language and complexities of Medicare so that we are able to explore and understand the consumer experience, and we have the patience and persistence required to do it.  After all, conducting research about Medicare is not for sissies either!




Boomers: The Invisible Generation?

Posted on: November 18th, 2014 by doyle

From the desk of Jo-Ann Ryan

One of my favorite clients, noted for a great sense of humor, once said to me that as women enter middle age they become invisible, especially to men. Consequently, she quipped that middle-aged women would make great bank robbers because no one would be able to identify them.

Likewise, it seems that Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are invisible to many marketers!

According to Nielsen, the 100 million people aged 50 and older in the U.S. are “the most valuable generation in the history of marketing” and yet only 10 – 15% of advertising is directed at them.

AARP reports that this segment represents the third largest economy in the world,  behind the gross national products of the United States and China, and soon will control more than 70% of the disposable income in this country.


  • Screen Shot Boomer at Computers[1]Buy two-thirds of all cars, half of all computers, a third of all movie tickets and spend $7 billion a year shopping online. (AARP)
  • Outspend other generations by an estimated $400 billion each year on consumer goods and services. (United States Consumer Expenditure Survey)
  • Represent one-third of the 195.3 million Internet users in the U.S. (Jupiter Research)

Moreover, Boomers are more advanced technologically than many marketers assume:

  • 36% of Boomers own a smartphone, and 44% of those owners access the Internet daily through their device. (Pew)
  • 4 million Boomers engage in social networking, 19 million of which are on Facebook (comScore)
  • 82% of Boomers use the Internet to research health and wellness information (Pew Internet and American Life Project).

So why is this valuable segment virtually ignored? Perhaps because for many years the 18 – 49 segment has been the focus of marketers, and for many years the sizable Boomer population was a part of this age segment. Another issue may be that marketers tend to be younger and have misperceptions about their older counterparts.

Researchers, too, often overlook this important segment. How often does the screening age range stop at 65 (or even younger)?   How often are Boomers researched as a distinct target segment? Clearly, many researchers assume that older respondents are not viable participants. However, we have found that respondents 65+ are willing and able research participants. In our experience, they tend to be incredibly reliable respondents; thoughtful and diligent if given pre-work assignments; and eager to have their voices heard. Many are computer savvy, allowing for online research methods to be used. And with a few accommodations for seniors with mobility issues, in-person research is equally viable.

Some examples of research projects that we’ve successfully conducted with Boomers (and Seniors) include:

  • Online video diaries conducted over time for a major CPG firm to gain an in-depth understanding of Boomers—their lifestyles, habits, attitudes, product purchase decisions, usage, and other behaviors.
  • In-home ethnographies and shopalongs for a major bath safety product manufacturer to uncover barriers to purchase, unmet needs, and opportunities for refining and expanding its product line.
  • In-depth interviews with aging women to explore need states and drivers that lead to consideration of cosmetic dermatology treatment options.

So don’t overlook Boomers in your marketing and new product efforts – you can’t afford to ignore these big spenders!