The only people at present who seem to be aware of how many there are of us over 65 seem to be national treasurers who count us in terms of how much we cost! We ourselves don’t seem to realise the influence our huge numbers could have on the world if we got ourselves organised. Retailers and producers in particular are largely unaware of our presence or our buying power. The only group who seem to have woken up to this demographic change are the sellers of caravans in Australia who realise that a lot of retirees go on a trip around the country when they first retire, with many of them turning it into a lifestyle. This is a specialised market but what about the others in the sales field?

How many shopping malls cater for our needs? They see the need to cater for other shoppers but not for us despite our huge buying power. They put seats in the spaces between shops but far too often they are so low if we sat on them we would need assistance to get up again. How many seats have arms to assist us to get up? These malls pretend to cater for shoppers but don’t include us in spite of our huge numbers. In many cases it would be easy and relatively cheap to meet our needs.

Some time ago I read a book by Paco Underhill (called Why we buy), who wrote about the very different needs of older shoppers. It was first published in 1999 and was described as a best seller yet nothing much has changed, particularly for us older people. Product labels are too small for our changing eyesight and things we need are still on the bottom shelf where we have difficulty reaching them. We feel embarrassed about our difficulty getting in and out of cars yet it’s not our fault. Cars are built for younger, more agile consumers and the market that we provide is ignored.

It’s time we realised that our numbers should make us a force to reckon with, particularly in the retail world.

Audrey