Seven Key Life Stages of Consumers

3rd November 2016

New findings around people’s attitudes towards mail are another part of the beneficial insights provided by fundamental research being carried out by Royal Mail. New reports identify the unique characteristics of each life stage as well as the similar behaviours and beliefs between the groups.

The finding of this research define the seven key life stages of consumers relevant to their age and lifestyle, with detail on how each life stage interacts and engages with direct mail both physically and emotionally. These life stages are:

  1. Fledglings; young adults still living with their parents
  2. Sharers; adults living in shared accommodation, with people who may not be their partners
  3. Couples; adults living together with no children nor other adults. They may be of many different ages and different relationship stages
  4. Young Families; those with one or more children of whom the oldest is in primary school
  5. Older Families; those where at least one child is in secondary school or further education
  6. Empty Nesters; those which no longer have children living at home, but one or both partners may be economically active.
  7. Older Retirees; singles or couples where neither partner has an income other than from pensions or investments

 “Our latest report shows that consumers in all life stages read, engage with, share and respond to mail. Even in this digital age, every group finds mail to be relevant to their lives.”

Jonathan Harman, Managing Director of Royal Mail MarketReach.


When considering your target audience here are some key points in relation to engagement by age and lifestyle. If you are targeting a wide range of customers or prospects, segmenting your customer data by these groups and varying your communication’s content and call to actions may benefit your response rates and ROI.

Those between the ages 15 – 44 are more likely to respond digitally to mail using a smart phone, tablet or other mobile device.  When targeting this age group, consider where you are sending them, is your site or landing page mobile responsive?  32% of the Fledglings category said they are more likely to trust information in print more than information on the internet.  If you’re targeting this group and assume, due to being a younger group, they would prefer or respond to digital outputs…you may want to rethink.

52% of those over the age of 65 prefer to read on paper rather than a screen.  If this is your customer group, be sure mail is your first choice communication. Consider your type face, font size and colour choice. 10% of those over 65 suffer with a form of sight loss which at 75 rises to 20%.  Result show that 72% of Older Retirees agree with the statement “I like receiving mail if its content is relevant to me”.  This group has the experience to filter out irrelevant content. Make sure your mailings are relevant to them, or at least look the part. This group also have the most time to spend on your mailer, drop the jargon and write your content with the upmost respect.

Nearly ¼ of those aged 45-64 have made a purchase in the last 12 months as a direct response to a mailer. Over 30% of responses to mailers are online via a desktop. Consider a mailer followed up by a related email?    With older families every penny counts.  52% claiming to have used a voucher received in the post in the last 12 months. +30% say that advertising helps them to choose what they buy.  Advertise with a promotional price, this will surely grab their attention?

The key to creating a successful campaign is knowing who you are approaching, any insight into behaviour and customer segmentation is always going to benefit your business when considering relevant communications!


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