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Guest opinion: Rise of the ‘Trusted Consumer’

Neil Addley, founder and managing director of JudgeService

For the last few years marketing has centred around what millennial consumers are looking for. To me, this reflects marketers’ general obsession with youth culture and their adoption of new technologies. It also means older audiences who enjoy the latest tech are often overlooked.

The internet is 25 years old, so even those who were in their mid-20s when the digital revolution started are probably now 50 years old. Advertisers, however, continue to feature young men and women in their marketing, but by doing this, they risk alienating a large and profitable demographic, the Trusted Consumer.


The average millennial is still struggling to pay off student debt, at the same time as trying to find the money for a deposit on their first property. With indications that inflation levels will rise over the coming months, triggering a rise in interest rates and pushing up mortgages and rent prices, the millennial’s budget will be squeezed even further. So realistically, they will have less money to spend on the latest cars.

The Trusted Consumer, however, represents the more mature audience: the over 55s whose children have left home and who have the disposable income to be able to enjoy the latest gadgets and cars. Recent data shows that over 55s in the UK have more money in property than the entire GDP of Italy – a stunning £1.5 trillion, according to This is Money.

The typical Trusted Consumer will have a secure pension, or relatively high salary, and whether they are white collar or blue collar workers, they are in well established positions. They are less likely to be affected by worries of inflation, as they probably own their own home and have seen their children grow up.

With the children out of the house, they can enjoy themselves, spending their money on holidays, entertainment and motoring. As interest rates rise, the Trusted Consumer will be in a winning positon, with stronger returns on their savings.

In the uncertain post-Brexit marketplace, the Trusted Consumer is most likely to be able to continue purchasing vehicles and therefore is an important customer for dealers to take care of.

What are Trusted Consumers looking for?

We have established that the Trusted Consumer is financially stable, but before they splash out, they want to know more about the vehicles on offer, for peace of mind.  

Compared to other demographics, the over 55s are much more interested in mechanical preparation and want to ensure the provenance of vehicles. These include checks on mileage, finance and write-offs.

Over 55s are also more likely to cite a franchised dealership as the most trustworthy place to buy a used car. As well as carrying out the standard checks on price and mileage, the savvy Trusted Consumer will also study listed photos of the vehicles and will check dealers’ reviews online before they even set foot in the showroom.

The Trusted Consumer is the least likely demographic to buy a car without seeing it, with only six per cent having done so, compared to 17 per cent of 25-24 year olds.

Targeting Trusted Consumers

So we know who the Trusted Consumer is and what they want, the key now is making sure they know who you are.

In terms of targeting Trusted Consumers, there are a range of digital options available to franchised dealers. If you are using Google, you can do simple things like upweighting your campaign to target over 55s.

It is also worth knowing that Trusted Consumers are the fastest growing demographic of users on Facebook, so make sure you are effectively using your social channels to engage with this audience. 

At Trusted Dealers, we have strong results that show that effectively targeting these consumers on our social channels brings people to the website who are more likely to click on our advertising, stay on the site longer and ultimately enquire about buying a car. We have also used postcode matching to establish that these consumers do go on to buy cars from our members.

Our targeted activity on Facebook has produced higher levels of engagement for the Trusted Dealers page than almost any other classified site, over the past six months. According to comScore, Trusted Dealers has the second highest level of engagement, in terms of page views per visitor, to the market leader.

So next time you draft a social post or review your advertising, remember the Trusted Consumer and their untapped potential.  

Author: Neil Addley, managing director of NFDA Trusted Dealers

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