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Turning back the hands of time: 40s the new 30s and 60s the new middle age, finds out ACNielsen survey

04-December-2006
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Turning back the hands of time: 40s the new 30s and 60s the new middle age, finds out ACNielsen survey

As we continue to advance into the 21st century, the world's Internet consumers are happy to turn back the hands of time, with 60 per cent agreeing that 40s are the new 30s, and over half considering 30s the new 20s, while 60s are the new middle age. These findings were revealed by a survey conducted by ACNielsen.

An official communiqué stated, "In the largest Internet survey of its kind conducted in 41 markets globally, ACNielsen asked consumers about their attitudes towards age and cosmetic surgery, as they get older."

In general, over half of those surveyed embraced the idea of 'turning back the clock'. In general, women are more open to the idea of turning back the clock than men, for example, 57 per cent of women as against 51 per cent men agreed that 30s were the new 20s, 64 per cent of women as against 58 per cent men thought 40s were the new 30s, and 60 per cent of women as against 52 per cent men thought 60s were the new middle age.

As far as Indians are concerned, they are also not very different in voicing their approval for 'turning the clock back'. About 70 per cent of both Indian men and women agreed that 30s were the new 20s and 40s were the new 30s. However, when it came to terming 60s as the new middle age, substantially more women (64 per cent) than men (47 per cent) agreed.

The rush to 'turn back the clock' is most keenly felt by consumers across Europe and Asia Pacific. Of the top 10 markets that agreed that 40s were the new 30s, Austria was highest, and from among Asia Pacific countries Japan, Korea, and India were among the top 10. Of the top 10 countries agreeing that 30s were the new 20s, six were from Asia Pacific – Korea (73 per cent), Japan 72 per cent, and India (69 per cent). Similarly, of the top 10 countries agreeing that 60s were the new middle age, four countries were from Asia Pacific. Japan, Korea and India lead the region with most people agreeing to these statements.

"We are living longer than previous generations, significantly increasing the number of years we are old, relative to the years we are young. When we look around we see a lot of examples of people doing extremely well when they are in their 50s-60s. Amitabh Bachchan in his 60s is more sought after an actor in Indian than any younger actor, examples of Indian politicians reaching the peak of their career much after they past their youth are plenty. People are now conscious about their health and wellness and the mushrooming of heath care and grooming facilities and the queue there of people in their 30s and 40s surely tells the story," said Sarang Panchal, Executive Director, Customised Research, ACNielsen, South Asia.

When it comes to remaining in the parental home until the late 20s, opinion was divided between the East and the West. In Asia Pacific the extended family is still very much part of the cultural landscape. Of the top 10 markets agreeing that it was perfectly okay to remain in the parental home Singapore (88 per cent) leads followed by India (83 per cent).

"In India, we come from very close knit family, where children are not treated as adult but pampered till as late as late 20s. In India, unlike Europe, it is culturally more acceptable for children to remain in the family home into their 20s," pointed out Panchal.

But while people these days are happy to turn back the clock in terms of their attitude to their age, are they as likely to 'enhance their appearance' to look younger? Despite a majority of respondents who would not consider cosmetic surgery when they're older, one in five was open to the idea. Globally it tends to be teenagers or 20 somethings who are most receptive to cosmetic surgery. For Indians, too, 88 per cent of the people are not willing to undertake any cosmetic surgery when they are older. The difference in openness between the sexes is starker when it comes to using cosmetic surgery to look younger with 32 per cent women saying they might consider this option to look younger as against 16 per cent men.

"India's adaptability in younger generations towards fashion, trends, lifestyle is growing at a faster pace that the older generations. Cosmetic surgery, the newest fad, is catching them much sooner than their older counterparts. As a relatively new service, and India being not a mature market for cosmetic surgery, the chances of reference check is also significantly low. All these could be attributed to the reasons behind keeping the older generation out of trying something which is as critical in terms of making a hole in the pocket and experimenting with your look," said Panchal.

Among the top 10 markets which would not consider cosmetic surgery, Hong Kong (94 per cent) ranked number one, followed by Indonesia (92 per cent), Malaysia (91 per cent), Japan (91 per cent) and India (87 per cent). At the other end of the scale, among the top 10 markets most likely to consider cosmetic surgery, Russia ranked number one, with just under half saying they would, followed by Greeks and people in the Baltics. Korea (28 per cent) was the only non-European market making the top 10 list.

"Living in the first decade of the 21st century, the goalposts have moved. Our perspective on what constitutes a 'young adult', 'old' or 'middle-aged', and the lifestyle and behaviour appropriate to each of these phases in our lives has changed accordingly. Stereotypes are being broken, requiring marketers to find new ways to communicate, and connect with, their target consumers," observed Panchal.

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