Rethinking the Baby Boomer market

Posted On October 3, 2013

Businesses spend quite a bit of time trying to understand what’s next…from the workplace demands of the next generation of superstars to the buying habits of the famed “18-24 target market” of potential brand loyalists.  However, demographics tell us that “what’s next” may well be what just was.  That is, the power of last generation’s new target market—Baby Boomers—is still the most powerful consumer market, and the older Gen Xers are right on their tails.  Businesses need to keep up.

By 2017, nearly half the US population will be 50 or older. They will have the more purchasing power than any other generation has had at this age, and they will want to use it in ways that are not “old.”  This is the message in a recent Financial Times article, Why companies are failing to cash in on flood of aging Baby Boomers worth US$15-trillion.

Much has been written about how Baby Boomers are eschewing the traditional retired life, whether that means working longer to make ends meet, launching into a second career to fulfill one’s dreams or moving to the city instead of the retirement community, Boomers are doing things differently and companies need to figure out what that means from a consumer standpoint.  And they need to do it fast.

When creating new products for this “new” market, or selling existing products/services to this group after many years, it is important to remember that while the fundamentals of the generation may be the same, they are still evolving and growing.  You may have always sold to Baby Boomers, but do you know them now?

The FT article reminds us “When it comes to aging, myths abound. Here’s one: Older consumers buy the same brands they’ve always bought, so why bother catering to them? ‘If that theory was true, I would drive a Chevy Impala and wear English Leather,’ said (gerontologist Ken) Dychtwald, 63.”  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Categories: Advertising, Baby Boomers