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Brief Published: 6 Feb 2018

UK Female Boomers: Myths Exposed

Four-fifths of Elastic Generation women in the UK care less about what others think of them than they did when they were younger

Female boomers (aged 53 to 72) in the UK are refusing to grow old in the way that previous generations did. Brands need to take an age-agnostic approach when targeting this cohort, according to new research from global marketing communications agency J. Walter Thompson.

Released in January 2018, the report named this group of women the Elastic Generation to capture their resilience, strength and potential. Key findings include:

  • Big Spenders: This consumer group controls a huge amount of discretionary spending. Eight in 10 make most of the purchasing decisions in their household, while 55% are the main breadwinners. Elastic Generation women spend 66% more on retail goods than millennials (aged 24 to 37) and they are the most likely group to buy a sports convertible. These women also don't stop working when they get older: Barclays bank reported a 132% rise in women aged over 65 opening business accounts.
  • Tech-Savvy: Elastic Generation women don't like to be patronised when it comes to tech. Some 78% would never buy tech especially designed for older people.
  • Life Lovers: Growing older has made Elastic Generation women more comfortable in their skin. Four-fifths care less about what others think of them than they did when they were younger, while 68% use beauty products that make them feel and look good, not younger. Elastic Women embrace their age: two-thirds enjoy life more than ever now they're older.   
  • Feeling Invisible: More than half of Elastic Generation women feel their age makes them invisible to society. Brands are struggling to address their needs: 82% of Elastic Generation women think the clothes aimed at them are "way too old-fashioned" and they are rarely represented in advertising, with 67% saying that advertisers only care about young people. As a result, 72% no longer pay attention to advertising.

For more on the purchasing power of older generations, see Boomers Rising: Ready for Adventure and Senior Fitness: Channelling Wellness.

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