The 55-plus Crowd of Consumers Sometimes Lost in the Rush for Youth

If you're of a certain vintage, then you have undoubtedly recognized that one of the things that comes with the vintage is you are no longer considered to be among the mainstream consumers. This applies in most consumer categories including, as surprising as this might be to people who avoid cruise ships, the cruise industry.

We saw it again yesterday. We watched the Emmy Awards on Sunday night, because that's what people of our vintage traditionally do. We watch TV to be entertained.

Yesterday, we woke up to a mini-controversy that hadn't occurred to us at the time. The show had not given the late Jack Klugman — who was 90 when he Jack Klugman220px-Cory_Monteith_2,_2011died last December — his due during the show's "memorial" segments. The three-time Emmy winner was mentioned in passing (no pun intended)…not canonized as the late Cory Monteith was. Monteith died at 31 as a no-time Emmy winner.

Why? Because the sponsors are after young people in the TV audience, because they are "the consumers."

Cruise lines are also after the young guns. How many retirees do you know who climb rock walls on ships, who stay up all night drinking exotic concoctions and who would be tempted to go on a cruise because they could zip-line or see Mickey Mouse?

Because cruise lines "have" the older set they chase the younger…but do they have the old folks? A man from Fred.Olsen Cruises was asked about this "age-ist" mentality last week in England. Here is part of what the man, Nathan Philpot, had to say:

"We're not catering to the needs of the over-55s market. Perhaps we prefer the airbrushed views of cruisers. We need to question ourselves — are we promoting the image of cruise that we feel more comfortable with or the image of cruise that is most relevant to the audience we are talking to?"

Retirees will likely always be the foundation of the cruise industry. Only retirees have — in significant numbers — the time to cruise regularly or for a long time (anything over two weeks). Like it or not, cruise lines can't afford to lose sight of that.

And retirees are a vintage of consumers.

Yesterday, we went shopping (okay, one of us did) at Justice, a clothing store just for girls. Young girls. After all, people of our vintage do have grandchildren, and that makes them consumers.

For life.

Caribbean Princess
4 nights
November 1, 2013
Houston (return): Progreso
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $99
www.princess.com

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