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Turning back the hands of time

Turning back the hands of time: ACNielsen

40s the new 30s, 30s the new 20s, and 60s our new middle age…
- Cosmetic surgery an option for one in five Kiwis
- Living in the parental home into your late 20s ok for one in two Kiwis

Auckland, December 1, 2006 --- As populations in the 21st century continue to age, New Zealand’s Internet consumers agree with the rest of the world that they’re happy to turn back the hands of time, with 61 percent of Kiwis agreeing that your 40s are the new 30s, 59 percent agreeing your 60s are the new middle age, and over half who consider your 30s the new 20s, according to a survey by ACNielsen, the world’s leading market research company. (Charts 1-3)

In the largest Internet survey of its kind conducted in 41 markets globally, ACNielsen asked consumers about their attitudes towards age, cosmetic surgery as they get older, and living in the parental home into your late 20s.

In New Zealand, over half of those surveyed embrace the idea of ‘turning back the clock’. Particularly, 60 percent of women agreed that your 30s are the new 20s, compared to 46 percent of men; 68 percent of women thought 40s the new 30s, compared to 55 percent of men; and 65 percent of women thought 60s the new middle age, compared to 53 percent of men.

“As you may expect, opinions were stronger based on respondents’ current experience or forthcoming expectation of the age group in question. So people in their 20s and 30s were most in agreement that 30s are the new 20s – 55 percent of 21-29 year olds and 58 percent of 30-39 year olds agreed that your 30s are the new 20s,” observed Susanna Baggaley, Executive Director, ACNielsen Customised Research New Zealand. Similarly, 64 percent of 30-39 year olds and 71 percent of 40-49 year olds agreed that 40s were the new 30s, and 80 percent of those 50+ agreed that your 60s are the new middle age!

“We are living longer than previous generations, significantly increasing the number of years we are old, relative to the years we are young. Or it may just be that we are - at least in our minds - staying young for longer,” said Baggaley. “It could be argued that we are taking longer to ‘grow up’, staying on longer in further education, and often remaining in the parental home into our mid twenties”.

And 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 Kiwi respondents who would not consider cosmetic surgery when they’re older, one in five were open to the idea. (See Chart 4) 18-24 year olds are the most receptive to cosmetic surgery (37%), possibly a result of growing up in a world where it is widely accepted and even ‘normalised’ through the media.

“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.”

When it comes to remaining in the parental home until your late 20s, opinion was dramatically different on either side of the Tasman with only 46 percent of Kiwis agreeing it was perfectly ok compared to 64 percent of Aussies.

“It was the younger age groups between 18 and 29 who had differing opinions on this topic”, commented Baggaley. “One reason may be that Kiwis are accepting that to go to University sometimes means moving away from their home town. In Australia, it is quite common for students to attend university in the city they dwell enabling them to live with their parents for a longer period of time.”

The ACNielsen Online Consumer Confidence and Opinion Survey is the largest half-yearly survey of its kind aiming at gauging current confidence levels, spending habits/intentions and current major concerns of consumers across the globe. The latest survey, conducted mid year, polled about 22,780 Internet users in 41 markets from Europe, Asia Pacific, North America to the Baltics.

Markets Covered:
Australia (Aus), Austria (AT), Belgium (Bel), Canada (Can), China (Chn), Denmark (Den), Finland (Fin), France (Fra), Germany (Ger), Greece (Gre), Hong Kong (HK), India (Ind), Indonesia (Indo), Ireland (Ire), Italy (Ita), Japan (Jpn), Korea (Kor), Malaysia (Mal), Netherlands (NL), New Zealand (NZ), Norway (Nor), Philippines (PH), Poland (Pol), Portugal (Por), Russia (Rus), Singapore (SG), South Africa (SA), Spain (Spa), Sweden (Swe), Switzerland (Swi), Taiwan (TW), Thailand (TH), Turkey (TR), United Kingdom (UK), United States (US), Czech Republic (Cze), Hungary (Hun), Vietnam (Vnm) and the Baltics (Bal) which covers Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

About ACNielsen
ACNielsen, a VNU business, is the world's leading marketing information provider. Offering services in more than 100 countries, the unit provides measurement and analysis of marketplace dynamics and consumer attitudes and behavior. Clients rely on ACNielsen's market research, proprietary products, analytical tools and professional service to understand competitive performance, to uncover new opportunities and to raise the profitability of their marketing and sales campaigns. To learn more, visit


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