Retailers have “lost touch with baby boomers”

By focussing on millennial shoppers UK retailers are failing to connect with the more affluent over 55s, according to a new report from retail loyalty agency ICLP.

According to the research:
• 82 per cent of over 55s say that even their favourite retailer doesn’t understand their needs
• 2 in 3 over 55s say that they do not feel valued by their favourite retailer
• Only 29 per cent said that they felt appreciated as a regular customer

The research also looked at what Baby Boomers would like their favourite retailers to do in order to win their loyalty and encourage them to spend more.

Global loyalty marketing agency, ICLP reveals that the UK’s retailers are losing touch with the over 55s, or Baby Boomers, in their ongoing pursuit of millennial shoppers. 82 per cent of Baby Boomers now say that even their favourite retail brand doesn’t understand them and what they need, while 95 per cent would consider “cheating” on that retailer by shopping with a competitor.

ICLP surveyed more than 1,000 UK consumers and found that while many retailers go after the Snapchat generation, older shoppers are being left feeling cold. Two in three Baby Boomer consumers said that they did not feel valued by their favourite brand and were treated like any other shopper. Just 29 per cent said that they felt appreciated as a regular customer, compared to 48 per cent of Millennials.

While loyalty programmes are still highly valued by all generations, they may, in some cases, be alienating Baby Boomers as they become less relevant to the needs of this demographic. Only 28 per cent of Baby Boomer shoppers said that they felt their custom and loyalty was rewarded, as opposed to 40 per cent of Millennials and 34 per cent of those in between, the so-called Generation X.

As part of the research, ICLP also asked shoppers what would make them feel more loyal to their favourite brands and what would make them spend more. The results demonstrated that:
• Create stronger rewards programmes: 73 per cent said that they would buy more if they were rewarded better by their favourite retailer
• Communication is also crucial: 60 per cent would buy more if brands communicated with them better, demonstrating the value of retailer communications when it comes to building devoted and profitable relationships with consumers
• Reliability and honesty are key: 47 per cent of Baby Boomers said that when it comes to retailers, when things go wrong, it’s important that they get a swift apology and solution
• Offer consistent and reliable products/services: 70 per cent of Baby Boomers said that they would spend more at their favourite retailer if their products were consistent and reliable
• Build respect and trust amongst customers: 56 per cent of the over 55s said that they would spend more with a retailer if they trusted them more

Jason De Winne, General Manager at ICLP, said, “At a challenging time for the high street, many retailers are doubling down on their efforts to lure millennial shoppers into their stores and onto their homepages. This sometimes comes at the expense of Baby Boomers, who tend to be more affluent, but require the same high level of attention that Millennials do to keep them loyal and devoted. It is this demographic which continues to support their local high streets, but are also increasingly tech savvy and spending online – and yet many brands are ignoring them.

“Retailers should aim to build more emotional connections with customers in all desired segments by making communications, rewards, and other touchpoints as relevant as possible. This must be powered by insight, so that the loyalty strategy can be informed by understanding each segment’s needs. The closer a customer feels to the brand, the greater the likelihood of them shopping again and becoming brand evangelists.”


Deeply Devoted Research undertaken by Survey Sampling International across 1,004 UK consumers, on behalf of ICLP, July 2016. Random error on a sample of this size is +/- 2.2 per cent at the 95 per cent confidence level.