The media made a lot noise last year when Millennials (people born from 1981 to 1997) surpassed Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964) as the largest living generation in the United States. Advertisers were rejoicing because Millennials are the coveted 18 to 45 year old age group – and now the biggest target.
But size doesn’t matter when it comes to marketing. It is money. Baby Boomers may be older, but as a group they have more disposable income and are practiced consumers.
According to a recent Huffington Post article, “Baby Boomers currently account for nearly $230 billion in sales for consumer packaged goods, out-buying age groups in products like coffee, magazines and diet soda. What’s more, they will control 70 percent of the nation’s disposal income and stand to inherit $15 trillion in the next 20 years.” (Based on a study conducted by Nielsen Marketing.)
- Baby Boomer wants and needs aren’t focused on retirement homes and vitamin supplements.
- The fastest growth in “gadget” use is among people age 55 and older.
- Boomers have been the fastest-growing segment of health-club memberships since 1998 (American Sports Data) and 25 percent of health club members are age 55 years and older.
- Boomers are social. The number of online dating sites for people age 50 and older is growing rapidly. SeniorMatch.com claims nearly 4 million members.
- Food, health and wine. One study found Boomers spend more money per week on food than any other group and are willing to skip dessert for a glass of wine.
CFM’s research among Baby Boomers has found the group is more interested in quality and exemplary service than price. However, Boomer consumers will switch products and brands if expectations aren’t met.
Consumer companies are struggling to figure out the market, but the rewards are worth the effort. As Jody Holtzman, head of AARP’s Thought Leadership unit stated emphatically, “You’d have to be an idiot to turn your back on this humongous growth market.”