Capturing the voice of older consumers in relation to financial products and services
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Brennan, C. & Ritch, E. (2010) Capturing the voice of older consumers in relation to financial products and services, International Journal of Consumer Studies, vol. 34, , pp. 212-218,
The purpose of this pilot study was to focus on the suitability of selected financial products for older people. Bank accounts and equity release products were selected for this study by an expert advisory panel. New marketing initiatives are being used to promote bank accounts, including forms of insurance, for the '50+' market. Also, older people are now expected to provide for their retirement and it is anticipated that equity release will be one product which may be used to fund and maintain consumer lifestyles. In the first phase of the study, a questionnaire was distributed to 152 people aged over 50 years in Scotland. Eighty-three were completed, a response rate of 55%. The results informed the development of questions for the second phase which were discussed with 46 participants via the World Caf in June 2008, enabling a deeper insight into their opinions. The research found that consumers had lost trust in financial product and service providers because of the perceived excessive profits of banks and lack of customer service. Further, many products and services were prohibited for or incurred extra costs to those aged over 60 or 65 years, leaving limited choices, and equity release products were seen as a last resort for those in financial difficulty. Although the profitability of banks has changed dramatically since the completion of data collection, the issues identified by older consumers in Scotland will be of international interest. The demographic changes resulting in an increasing proportion of elderly people in the population are reflected throughout the UK and many Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. Similar financial products and services, which were the focus of this study, are promoted internationally, offering opportunities to replicate the research methods.