Why you should market to Boomers.

Friday, February 14th, 2014

What do Boomers Buy? Anything they want! 

Travel, cars, theater and concert tickets, golf and baseball games, dining out and cooking in, clothes and cosmetics, spas and salons, technology, workout gear and fitness club memberships, home furnishings and homes, classes  - cooking, eco gardening, art, accounting, tai chi –  gifts and outings for the family, especially the grandkids. Boomers love to shop.

According to the U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES), Boomers spend about $400 billion more than any other generation on consumer goods and services every year. The CES reports that baby Boomers “buy more new cars, spend more on the cars they buy and even buy cars for their kids and grandkids.”
A Baltimore Examiner story on “Baby Boomers are shopping and spending,” noted that the 50+ consumer spent $87 billion on new cars in 2013 with the average age of new car buyers at 56.

AARP (American Association of Retired People, which addresses the issues of folks once they reach age 50) calls the population the ‘longevity economy’ with 100 million consumers “generating $7 trillion a year in goods and services.” If Boomers were a country, they would represent the third largest economy in the world after the U.S. and China.

No denying Boomers are a huge consumer group with greater financial and physical health than the “older generation” has had at any other time in history, a target audience with more disposable income and a firmly-established tradition of spending for personal enjoyment. Marketers are beginning to look at their purchasing power and attempt to better understand the motivations, needs, aspirations, and desires of this influential consumer. It’s time to admit that there’s much more on the Boomer shopping list than Depends and Viagra. Yet Nielsen reports that advertisers spend less than five percent of the budget to target them. And, a recent blog from Forbes: Next Avenue asked “Super Bowl Ads: Why are Boomers Being Sidelined?”

Retailers such as Chico’s, J. Jill, NYDJ, and Halsbrook have led the way in identifying with the lifestyle of Boomer women.  Their marketing messages talk style, energy, ease, quality, and yes, eco and cause-related issues.

Fast Company offered up some sound insights in a piece on “Leadership Now” last summer.  Here are five key takeaways from their article:

  1. Boomers are online and mobile – More than half are on Facebook and they are online shoppers.
  2. Boomers connect with youth – They are actively involved with their grandkids – with emphasis on the word “active.”
  3. Boomers are adventurous – They invented the concept of “road trips, ecotourism, fitness running, etc., and now have the time and money to spend on their passions.
  4. Boomers are self-reliant – They redefined their youth and are now redefining retirement to fit their needs.
  5. The Boomer DNA is a Young View of Things – Boomers created the concept of a “youth culture” and continue to express their worldview through that prism.

One more Undeniable Fact:  Boomers eat, drink, play, sleep, laugh and cry.  They do everything the Millennials or the Gen X-ers do. They just have more money.