Last week I visited the 50 plus fair in Utrecht (The Netherlands) to have a look at the world biggest event aimed directly at 50-plus consumers. My first emotion was again astonishment over the numbers of the exhibits and people present. As Chuck mentioned in a previous post there were about 600 companies present. We are still waiting for a press release on the number of visitors.
I had a chance to attend twice this year, and noticed that the average age seemed to have dropped a little. We definitely spotted more Baby Boomers and we think it’s because they used alternative media targeting a somewhat different audience.
Followers of Chuck’s blog know that when you add a 50+ label to a service or product, you will attract an average crowd that is at least 10-15 years older. Especially Dutch women in their fifties don’t want to be confronted with age like that. Still, with the turnout it’s a great market to tap into. This sometimes creates a problem in our industry as companies that want to approach 50 plussers take part in this fair and their young marketers end up seeing their misconceptions about the 50-plus confirmed.
Most of the companies do really well and one can imagine the sales that will occur in follow-up sales. As many gave out freebies or let visitors take part in competitions, people went home with bags full of goodies and the hope of winning prizes later on.
In return they gave the companies their addresses.
A partial list of industries represented:
Many, Many Travel Agencies
There were not as many financial and insurance companies present compared to recent years. We don’t know if it had to do with the current crisis or with the fact that exhibiting in the past didn’t bring them enough business. From our consulting activities we know for a fact that insurance companies are actively developing products and services for older consumers.
All in all we think they didn’t break the 100,000 visitors this year and it could be a consequence of the shift in advertising. The average age of the consumer seems to have dropped a little which may indicate that the event is evolving into an event targeted at Baby Boomers. Enough reasons for anybody in the business to visit it again next year!
Martijn de Haas
Added 10/09/08: More Pictures