Expert: Howard Barber Facilitator: Lucian Camp
- With the UK’s ageing population and the coming of FCA regulation in July 2023, funeral plans represent a much more viable and credible market opportunity than they have in the past
- The end-of-life market is fragmented, underserved and difficult for consumers to navigate. More holistic and integrated services could meet consumers’ needs much better than what’s currently available and these are likely to be delivered through partnerships. (They are also likely to include a significant digital component – the market segments, as all markets do, but many older people are entirely at home online)
- FCA Consumer Duty principles and the onus on sign-posting will push forward the need for companies to address lack of awareness and education of the options that exist in the end-of-life market
- An approach based on mapping and structuring around customer journeys makes sense. We can say that “later life” begins at age 50 – but it would be a nonsense to say that the needs, attitudes and behaviours of a 50-year-old are similar to those of a 70-year-old or a 90-year-old (but even this kind if age-based stereotyping can be dangerous)
- More effort is needed from companies to improve their understanding of later life consumers and adapt product propositions and services accordingly. Gen X have very different attitudes and needs to Baby Boomers - and this needs to be reflected both propositionally and in how companies communicate
This whole subject connects to an even bigger subject – products and services aimed at helping families manage intergenerational wealth issues. This is another growing area, not least because of huge increases in the value of property, which is currently underserved – firms considering end-of-life services should consider the need to involve the next generation too.
Underpinning this is the reducing role of the state in later life and the greater onus being placed on individuals in terms of looking after loved ones, both in later life and at the end of life.
Financial/ wealth considerations are a factor, but emotional drivers are extremely prevalent - delivering solutions that deliver peace of mind and reduce the burden on loved ones are set to grow.
Firms looking to explore this area should also be aware of many kinds of cultural issues and differences, to do with ethnicity, religion, regionality and potentially age. A one-size-fits-all approach will not be appropriate.
- Deciding whether, and where, to play in the over-50s market, and looking to develop partnerships that would allow the delivery of new, better-integrated, better-targeted and more holistic products and services is key
- There needs to be more emphasis on re-thinking the proposition and the opportunity presented by appealing to consumers in this market going forward, given the size of the potential prize
- The need to better serve consumers (regulation) and the advances in technology is allowing for new, better-integrated, better-targeted and more holistic products and services