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Fifty Plus And Rocking In The U.S.A.

Fairly recent research in the U.S.A. on consumer demographics contained some revealing observations for me. There is probably, absolutely no salient correlation of relevance between their market and others globally, but I nevertheless, found the research conclusions and insights into consumer spending behaviour interesting.

The Dominant Spending Power

The real spending power, it seems, is definitely in the hands of the 50 plus age group. The Huffington Post U.S.A. describes them “as not only the largest, but also the fastest growing group but will also increase by 16 million over the next decade. More than triple the pace of growth of younger demographic groups. They are living longer, better, and feeling more youthful than their predecessors. They are remaining engaged, active, and fullfilled”.

No wonder they represent 52.82% of facebook’s total subscriber index and such an important segment of Nike’s sportswear market share.

In fact, in the states, this 50-plus group accounts for half of all consumer expenditures. Some of the reasons of why that is the case are perhaps not that difficult to fathom.

The Age of Self Interest

They are at an age where probabably the bond on their house has been paid off, their children have left home, their food and many household bills have consequently been halved, and they no longer have to pay for education, clothing, a smartphone, and possibly a car and its running costs. With fewer commitments, they now have more leisure time at their dispossal and perhaps, for the first time in their lives, readily available cash to spend freely on themselves.

Consequently and perhaps not that surprisingly, they constitute 40% of the new car buyer market segment.

A Disproportionist Advertising Focus

What I found of particular interest is that only 8% of all U.S.A. marketing and advertising expenditure has been invested in targeting this important demographic market segment. To my way of thinking, even if they are not currently accurate, the numbers clearly don’t add up.

Targeting Older Consumers

However, there does seem to be an increase in commercials targeting older consumer audiences, possibly in an attemt correct this imbalanced focus of marketing and advertising communication expenditure.

One example is the highly entertaining and humorous VW Passat TDI campaign called ‘Old Wives’ Tales’. Here are three commercials from the online series.

1. VW Passat TDI, Old Wives’ Tales ‘Loud’

Advertising Agency: Deutch, Los Angeles

2. VW Passat TDI, Old Wives’ Tales ‘ Hard To Find’

3. VW Passat TDI, Old Wives’ Tales ‘Stinky.


Pete Favat, Chief Creative Officer of Deutsch North America is quoted as saying; “I don’t think we subscribe to the idea that just because they’re old, they only appeal to an older market. People just relate to this humor, I mean they’re just funny.”

New Business Start-ups

There is also a marked increase in the States of new business start-ups by the 50 plus age group.

John Malkovich is a notable example. Producer, film-director and award- winning actor, he decided at the age of 63 to become a men’s fashion designer. He launched his highly accomplished, personnaly designed, men’s clothing line, as an online trading venture.

The story of how he started and the difficulty he had of securing his website domain is engageingly told by Squarespace, a D.I.W. Website Building company.

The launch commercial earned the honour of winning the 2017 Emmy Award for Outstanding Commercial at the Creative Arts show in Los Angeles. Here is the commercial and the subsequent stories that chronical John Malkovich’s journey.

Advertising Agency: JohnXHannes, New York

4. Squarespace, Who Is John Malkovich?


5. Squarespace, Get Out Of My Domain!



6. Squarespace, The Next Move