Brunel Institute for Ageing Studies (BIAS) and its Inclusive Design Team are working with Age UK in a £0.5 million project, funded by the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)*, to further understand the lifestyles and requirements of the over 50s market.
The latest findings from Age UK reveal overwhelming support for inclusively designed products and services, with 72%i of adults surveyed viewing products designed specifically for older people positively. Companies and organisations are increasingly interested in the over 50s market as life expectancy and the percentage of older people within the population increases, and the Brunel project therefore aims to encourage businesses to adopt inclusive design by establishing an Age UK Accreditation scheme.
To receive the Age UK Accreditation, businesses can apply to put specific products and services through a rigorous assessment process. Products and services submitted could range from food packaging to customer service and in-store experience, and are assessed by a panel of business and academic experts.
It is hoped that successful receipt of the Accreditation will enhance customer trust, widen the appeal of products or services to a range of audiences, and ensure that the design process takes into account and values the needs and lifestyles of as many consumers as possible. According to Age UK research, endorsement by a trusted body or organisation was preferred by almost two-thirdsii of adults polled.
Dr Gabriella Spinelli, Director for Business Strategy and Innovation at BIAS and Head of the Inclusive Design Team, commented: "Our research at Brunel into ageing and consumer behaviour in later life has helped shape the principles of the Age UK Accreditation scheme. The findings should incentivise businesses to make changes to their products and services in order to fulfill the aspirations and lifestyles of wider audiences with a diverse range of needs and abilities.”
Duncan Lewis, Group Marketing and Development Director at Age UK, added: "The over 50s currently represent a third of the population with nearly £300vi billion of spending power this year, up from just over £250 billion only two years ago. There is clearly an opportunity for the UK's businesses to respond to older people's consumer needs.
"Through our Engage Business Network we are aiming to help companies identify the importance of designing inclusive products and stay at the forefront of an increasingly competitive commercial landscape. We would encourage businesses across all sectors to consider inclusive designs in order to be accessible to as many people as possible, as well as helping to meet the needs of our ageing population."
Notes to Editors
For information or interviews with the Inclusive Design Team at Brunel University please contact Emma Cutting at email@example.com.
For more information from Age UK please contact Karen Richards on 0203 0331428 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is jointly funded by the Technology Strategy Board and the Economic and Social Research Council. Part of this KTP looks at the criteria by which a product or service is judged to be inclusively designed.
i 3,098 adults aged 18 and over took part in a UK-wide postal survey for Age UK between April and August 2011.
ii2,069 adults aged 16 and over in Great Britain were surveyed by TNS CAPI omnibus between 18 and 22 January 2012. Figures were weighted to be nationally representative of the British population aged 16 and above. 63% agree that they prefer to buy products and services where the design and delivery has been approved by a trusted body.
vi Family Spending 2010,Office for National Statistics 2011.
About Engage Accreditation
Engage Accreditation is a unique way of recognising and rewarding the inclusivity of products and services, enhancing customer trust and extending marketing reach by taking into account the needs of the older consumer. In order to receive the Accreditation, the product or service will have to go through a rigorous selection process that ultimately seeks to ensure that the design of the product or service is inclusive and has factored in the requirements of as wide a range of consumers as possible, with particular emphasis on later life.
Businesses can apply for the Accreditation by becoming a member of the Engage Business Network and then by completing an Engage Accreditation application which will be assessed by business and academic experts and an Age UK steering committee. The whole assessment process will take approximately four months. Revenue raised through the Engage Business Network goes towards Age UK’s vital charitable work, helping to make later life better for all.
Find out more about the Accreditation scheme and The Engage Business Network at Age UK
About Brunel Institute for Ageing Studies
The Brunel Institute for Ageing Studies (BIAS) is a research centre and collaborative network bringing together staff from different schools in Brunel University for the purpose of conducting interdisciplinary research in gerontology.
BIAS was founded in the summer of 2007. Its fundamental goal is the advancement of knowledge in the field of ageing with the aim of improving the quality of life and health of older people.
About Age UK
For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.
Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.
We provide free information, advice and support to over five million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters; health and well being; home and care; work and training; and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.
Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on 1 April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group (“we”). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity’s trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).