chapter  10
20 Pages

Why Do Older Consumers Tell Us They Are More Satisfied?

ByCarolyn Yoon, Fred Feinberg, Norbert Schwarz

A common consumer complaint is that “they don’t make things the way they used to” (e.g., Moore, 2005). From appliances to furniture and cars, products presumably were sturdier and more reliable in the past. Combined with older people’s general tendency to reminisce about the “good old days” (Bohlmeijer, Roemer, Cuijpers, & Smit, 2007), this complaint might lead one to believe that older consumers are less satisfied with what the marketplace has to offer than younger consumers, who presumably do not know any better. Nothing could be more misleading. Empirically, older consumers reliably report higher customer satisfaction levels than younger consumers, irrespective of demographic characteristics or business sector (Fornell et al., 2005). Moreover, this finding is robust and holds across different countries and cultures (e.g., United States, Sweden, China) and different response modes (e.g., self-report questionnaire, telephone interviewing).