Friday, August 27, 2010

Senior Boomers

I understand marketers’ obsession targeting youthful consumers between the ages of 18 and 49. Rationale: This group has not yet committed to their favorite consumer goods while older folks have. Marketers, time to shift your focus to Baby Boomers, soon to become Senior Boomers in the next decade.

Read On:
Baby Boomers according to the US Census Bureau is someone born during the Post-World War II baby boom between 1946 and 1964; an estimated seventy-six million Americans who now range in age from 46 to 64. Some facts marketers need to take into account as Baby Boomers mature in the next decade:

· Market researchers forecast that the younger generation known as Millennials or Gen Y will have fewer children, leading to smaller households, thus fewer consumers to lure over the next decade. On the other hand, the over-fifty crowd will grow 21% in numbers.

· Baby Boomers have an estimated annual spending power of $1 trillion. More specifically, the over-50 crowd outspends the under-50 crowd by $400 billion. As a frame of reference, Walmart net sales in 2009 were $401.2 billion.

· Myth: Boomers are too old to embrace technology. Wrong! A recent Forrester study indicated that 60% of Baby Boomers are avid social media users. Their usage is up 40% throughout the various social media platforms versus a year ago. They also account for 40% of customers paying for wireless (don’t forget most are still paying for their children’s mobile phones) and 41% of the customers buying Apple computers.

· An estimated 40% of all Baby Boomers are grandparents; over 55% of all grandparents alive today are Boomers. On the flipside, due to divorce, some grandchildren have more than one set of grandparents. Bodes well for the amount of disposable income spent on grandchildren over the next decade. Advertisers need to evoke the emotional chord of Boomer grandparents.

Sounds like advertisers need to now recognize the shift in demographics/market dynamics and focus their marketing dollars. Senior Boomers are going to be where the buying action is over the next decade. Senior Boomers are going to be the young “old”.


  1. Jimmy,

    A couple of other thoughts.

    Seniors have more experience (wisdom?) and may be less likely to respond to exaggerated appeals. Factual appeals and/or examples may play very well.

    Many of the "boomers" will not settle into a rocking chair at age 65. They will turn their energies to other areas, which may open up new markets for astute marketers, i.e., a social network for boomers who are involved in non-profits?

    Reinforcing your comment about grandchildren. The strongest power in the world is between a grandmother and grandchildren. Companies that can harness this power will do well.


  2. I have met the Senior Boomers and "they are I." Agreed.

  3. Senior Boomers? I think not! We'll always be the Originals, Baby... and it's time we start leading this sad-sack economy back to prosperity again!

  4. I am SO glad I'm considered Gen Y. We are like middle children. Boomers and X'rs get all the attention.

  5. Jim,
    Your article makes total sense as there is great talk in the financial services industry with the wealth passing from baby boomers to the next generation. It is the baby boomers who are sitting on the wealth and will be (if not already) spending it soon.

    Good piece.


  6. I don't think it's necessarily related to Gen Y in particular. Companies have been marketing their efforts to the 18-24 subset for some time given how, of all the demographic groups, they have the most disposable income.

    In 10-15 years, Gen Y will be caught up trying to save money for their first home, paying taxes, and other issues the rest of us contend with and which makes our access to disposable income much more limited.

    I agree, though, that the "senior boomers" represent a potential lucrative market, given how many are now having to reconsider plans to fully retire, opting instead for financial reasons to settle for part-time retirement. This means a whole segment of the population that won't be sailing off into the sunset, but still being active consumers and users of services they use right now.

  7. Nice read, as usual! I would say here that while I agree with all of your datapoints, it's also true that Boomers have been shell shocked by what happened in this recent economic meltdown and are counting what's left of their 401Ks, etc. They will be a harder sell though I agree they should still be targets.