Direct off-line is key to reaching older customers

Reaching older customers still demands off-line direct marketing

Online is the future – but some keen, regular customers prefer not to use it – and they are over 65!

A recent survey by the Office of National Statistics reported that ‘Regular internet use continues to rise, with more than 8 in 10 people going online almost every day in 2016.’

However, it also added – crucially – that ‘many older people are still to catch up with the digital revolution, with nearly half of single pensioners still having no internet access at all.’1

Online shopping has grown in popularity for us all since 2008, and to be fair those aged 55 to 64 saw the largest increase – 33% up over this period to 77% in 2016.

According to recent Age UK research, “around two-thirds of people aged 75 and over and three out of ten aged 65 to 74 do not use the internet… we also know that older men are more likely than older women to use the internet …”2

What’s more, ONS figures show that the average pensioner income increased by an estimated 50% in real terms between 1995 and 2011, and more than one in 10 pensioners have total wealth of £1m or more, helped by spiraling property prices.3

David Pitts of Aim Direct Creative notes that, ‘Reaching these older customers – who have significant spending power and often specific needs and requirements – must rely on more traditional methods. Even if they are happy to buy online, many trust print to inform and engage with them.

‘Direct marketing still has a strong role to play in this market – especially in fashion and household markets where older customers are less influenced by brand and search out value and familiarity.’



  1. Kate Davies, Surveys and Economic Indicators Division, Office for National Statistics