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Whether full time mums, empty nesters, newly single or going it alone, strong themes emerged for brand owners from all sectors to sit up and listen

Global brand strategy, innovation and design agency Dragon Rouge have conducted research on Mid-Life Women to understand their diverse attitudes and behaviours, their needs, their evolving aspirations and lifestyles, and their perception of what brands are delivering.

The research provided surprising insights.

These women know what they want and make it clear. Beware the marketer who gets it wrong – they take no prisoners and have a long memory. ‘Crunch’ notwithstanding, they are still putting money and time with brands that earn their loyalty and they are old and wise enough to anticipate the green shoots of recovery and plan forward, without compromising quality of life.

Whether full time mums, empty nesters, newly single or going it alone, strong themes emerged for brand owners from all sectors to sit up and listen to.

The care crunch

Care worn and care torn, most women never stop being mothers – and then they’re looking after their own. The care burden simply shifts its focus: the older generation, quasi dependent kids or those that won’t fly the nest.

Mind the Thelma and Louise gap

Mid-life can be the new teens – over 25% of our sample were both planning and actively travelling. But not some Costa Brava trip – they’re backpacking, hostelling, going off the beaten track – defying their kids mockery and having a second youth or the youth they never had.

The power of no

Older, wiser, at peace with their age – these ladies have embraced ‘permission to decline’. They’ve dropped universal people-pleasing traits, won’t suffer fools and feel time is theirs to choose how to spend it. No is no longer a dirty word.

Mrs and Mrs Smith

Whether happily married or newly single, the most common life partner is the girlfriend. From city breaks, to new skills, book clubs, to setting up business – these women are spending more time with girlfriends and spending more with them too. Are marketers missing a trick targeting the empty nester couple?

Bringing change to The Change

Historically the ‘elephant in the room’, mid-life women is up ‘n’ atcha when it comes to The Change. And that’s what they want. A change to negative preconceptions; a change to obtuse language and marketing; a change from hours of online research, word of mouth and advice-seeking these ladies pursue to approach this stage of life positively, with a ‘business as usual’ attitude. Significantly, all our women wished to firstly approach managing menopause naturally – not medically. Through diet, supplements, exercise, positive mental attitude. In charge, informed, in the prime of life.

You must be Ms-taken

If there’s one thing that gets mid-life women collective goat, it’s being taken for a ride when there’s no man about. So speak to them like they make the decisions (even if the reality is not) and never await the man in the next door room’s views – because you won’t get them. They make more purchasing decisions than ever, cherry picking those of interest and handing over (a heavily edited) set of duller tasks to their other halves.

New world order

For a time of life laced in stereotypes, mid-life women are least easy to classify by lifestage. While your twenty something may be career building, getting on the property ladder, the mid life woman could be in multiple life stages simultaneously: restarting education, a carer, newly dating and menopausal – and food for thought – the new mid life crisis is more likely to be in the 60s or 70s, not 40s!

The mid-life woman has proven to be the most fascinating and promising audience – so we ask the question – are mid-life women actually the future hero consumer?

If you want to know more on how brands need to handle, address and serve this demanding and discerning audience; what really matters to them in life, products and services; and which brands have got it sorted, email Kerry O’Connor or call on 020 7262 4488.

About Dragon Rouge

The Dragon Rouge Group founded in 1984 and the London office opened in 1991 by co-founders Ian Farnfield and Dorothy Mackenzie. The group consists of six international offices with 300 people internationally and 50 in London.
Dragon Rouge has in-depth knowledge and proven expertise in brand strategy, design and innovation. With us you will find a unique fusion of strategy and creativity, smarter insights and brilliant ideas focused on helping products, services and corporations to be the best they can be. To find out more visit our website


Research conducted amongst 40-60 year old women, including qualitative (40 women across 6 segments in London and South East) and quantitiative (200 women nationally)

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