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Southport & Mersey Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 17 December 2007

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Survey Reveals Changing Attitudes of Over 50s To Christmas

THE over 50s are at the forefront of emerging trends in online shopping and increased spending at Christmas but are concerned about the festival’s commercialisation, a wide-ranging survey into their changing yuletide attitudes revealed.

Millennium, the UK’s leading agency in marketing to the mature, polled more than 500 people online over the age of 50 across the UK and found that the internet has become their favourite method for shopping, challenging stereotypes suggesting they are averse to embracing technological developments.

28% of respondents said they preferred to do their shopping online; the highest response for any category and superseding the traditional dominance of the high street or city centre, which garnered 23%.  Furthermore, 58% agreed that the internet took the hassle out of shopping and books were the most favourite online purchase, with 60% of all respondents stating that they would favour the internet over any other outlet to select their next ripping yarn. 

Men are also more inclined to shop online, with 35% stating that it was their preferred shopping environment, contrasted with just 19% of women.  When questioned about Christmas shopping in particular, there was a stark gender divide too, with only 35% of men stating that they liked to buy presents for others, as opposed to 54% of women.

The survey also suggested an increased attitude of cynicism towards the more consumerist aspects of Christmas on the part of the over 50s, with a near-unanimous 97% feeling that Christmas had become more commercialised since they were children, regardless of respondents’ gender.  A further 92%felt Christmas was now too commercialised full stop, although the survey highlighted apparent contradictions within the mature market with regards this contentious issue.  Whilst nearly all bemoaned the increase of consumerism, 13% confessed to getting into debt trying to create that festive cheer and 29% also divulged that they would spend in excess of £500 this year on presents, decorations, food and drink.

Sarah Robson, Research Director, Millennium, said:- “Our survey highlights some of the complexities and apparent contradictions of the mature market with regards their changing attitudes to Christmas.  Whilst nearly all have concerns with how Christmas is becoming more commercialised, many still spend large amounts of money, perhaps too much for their means, in order to create what they perceive to be the ideal Christmas. They are also embracing the internet as a means to ease that Christmas shopping experience.

Retailers should also take note that the high street has been superseded by the internet as the preferred shopping location for the mature market for those already online.

Those interested in capitalising on the unprecedented wealth held in certain brackets of this demographic need to think carefully about how they approach those online.  With 80% of all consumer wealth accounted for by the over 50s, this really is a golden opportunity for marketers, but a judicious approach must be taken to see this wealth translate into sales.”

Little Elves Give Santa a Helping Hand

YOUNG students from Liverpool Community College volunteered their time last week, on the Tuesday, 11 December 2007, to sort toys donated by the public as part of the Merseyside Christmas Toy Appeal 2007.  The volunteers were recruited as part of Agents4Change, a project which encourages young people to volunteer. Five Agents4Change volunteers helped members of the City of Liverpool Lions Club to organise hundreds of donated toys. The toys will be sent by different agencies and charities to underprivileged children across Merseyside and Cheshire.

CSV, the largest volunteering charity, has teamed up with Tesco and the youth volunteering charity v to recruit 20 full-time volunteers as part of Agents4Change. They are encouraging other young people aged between 16 and 25 years to get involved in projects at 20 different locations around the country.

Agent4Change volunteer coordinator Rachel Solomon said:- "It was brilliant seeing how successful the evening was. When we first arrived there were so many bags that needed sorting out, but by the end of it, they were all cleared and sorted, ready to be sent off to a deserving child. Santa's Little Scouse Helpers did a fantastic job."

The enthusiastic 1st-time volunteers themselves had a fun time on Tuesday. Emma Wray, a 16 year old from Aigburth, cannot wait to volunteer again, saying:- "I loved it and it made me feel dead good to help out."

If you missed out on this event but wish to attend future Agents4Change events, please go to www.comcats.org.uk or call Rachel Solomon on 0151 794 0984.

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