Ageing Consumer Research

Understanding lived experience to derive insights that help ageing consumers to feel valued, empowered, and connected

Who are the Ageing Consumer Group?

The Ageing Consumer Research group (ACR) is an independent social research team intent on using the ‘voice of ageing consumers’ to drive business, social, and policy change.

The ACR was founded in Australia and at Curtin University but with local, national and international focus on the experiences of ageing consumers.

What We Do

Ageing consumers will soon comprise a third of the population of some developed nations and the transition of the Baby Boomer generation into ageing will represent “the most important demographic shift in the history of mankind.”

Researchers in the ACR group explore the experience of consumption amongst ageing consumers to identify cultural, social and consumer boosters and impediments. Broadly the impediments derive from socially embedded ageist attitudes, norms and behaviours that lead to stereotyping, mistreatment and sidelining of ageing consumers. This often manifests with ageing consumers being discussed and viewed as a burden on society.

The research team intend to:

  • Help ageing people build self-identity through being valued, empowered and connected; and
  • Improve the social narrative, industry practices and government policies that affect ageing consumers.

Examples of Evidence based findings

The research team uses lived experience and other data to derive insights about key services and the ageing consumers themselves. Based on thousands of interviews every year. 

Ageing Consumers

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1) Ageing consumers are not homogenous but have heterogenous service and life expectations depending on their current context; individual needs & wants derived over their lifetime; and their physical/cognitive age.
2) Many ageing consumers feel unvalued rather than feeling empowered to make a contribution.
3) Ageing consumers tend to lose connectedness with others as they leave employment and reduce their engagement with the community.

Retirement/Lifestyle Villages

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1) Retirement Villages promise ageing consumers the opportunity to connect with others ‘just like them’ in a secure, long-term, community environment. Here consumers will feel confident to engage with others and to engage in activities.

2) Many residents derive these benefits and view the village as a home but some feel isolated and disempowered. This relies on ‘fit’ between the village community and the consumer. Successful fit also changes over time as the individual and communities evolve.

Home Care

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1) Home care services are provided to the consumers in their own home and are intended to keep the consumers living in the community. Such consumers appreciate being in their own home and feeling independent.
2) However, as the service becomes care focused they become more individualised, costly and are difficult to standardise. Living at home can also place high pressure on family members and carers. A mix of support, services and respite is generally required to sustain home living.


Residential Care

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1) Ageing consumers do not generally choose to enter residential care until their cognitive and/or physical needs demand it.

2) Most consumers & family accept the standard of care but ‘fit’; engagement with family & friends; level of service; etc cause a lot of variation in experience.

Recent Research

Australia & New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference 2019 Paper


”Older consumers are the fastest growing consumer group in most developed nations yet are often ignored and when addressed are treated as homogenous. This study highlights the importance of older consumers as a consumer group with diverse lifestyles, interests, and physical/cognitive capabilities.

Ageing Consumer Research - Experience of Word Of Mouth Working Paper 2019


As consumers age they transition from working life and independence to being more reliant on others. A common way to commence this transition is to purchase a place in a lifestyle village. Lifestyle villages represent high investment and high involvement services that are consumed for many years. In this context, word of mouth (WOM) is important for potential new consumers and therefore for the brand—yet the drivers of WOM behaviors amongst existing customers remain unclear. .

Global Marketing Conference 2020 Paper

Programme of Research

The programme of research is flexible to allow the research team to explore the impediments identified and prioritised by ageing consumers. Broadly these have already been distilled to:

Meaning of Life

How the meaning of life changes people age, sense of purpose for ageing self, feeling valued at an older age. 

Connectedness and Age

How the nature and choice of social connections changes as people age, increase in feeling of connectedness to overcome isolation. 

Meaning of Independence as People Age

What makes people feel independent, how to empower to increase the feeling of independence.

Application and acceptance of technology

And include elements that enable these of :

  • Recognition of heterogeneity plus inclusiveness
  • Baby Boomers & Transitioning needs 
  • Products, services and technology
  • Cultural and social narratives plus communications
  • Protecting the vulnerable
  • Longevity, people living better for longer
  • Reimagining Australia’s aged care model 

Current Projects

Technology adoption studies amongst ageing consumers

Our research explores how much more must be done to maximise value-in-use, reduce the level of required knowledge & reduce the risk of failure by providing simpler, more focused, technologies with better support. Our research also explores the role of family members and care staff in initiating adoption and minimising downtime.

Ageing consumer’s: Finding meaning and purpose

In many culture’s ageing consumers have legitimate roles in running the family home, looking after younger children, earning income, and more. But in individualistic, developed nations the allure of retirement and leisure has left these roles much less clear. So how do these ageing consumers find meaning and purpose and become more valued in society?

Ageing consumers: Difference and transitions

As consumers age, physically and cognitively, they transition from independent and able to less independent. In these circumstances those with strong community, family, and support connections are able to stay independent much more successfully. It is by recognising the unique, transitioning and varied needs of ageing consumers that this can become more of the norm.

Our Current Collaborators

Our Partners

Contact the Ageing Consumer Research group

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    Copyright 2020 Unheard Consumers Group.