Pls. stop ignoring the $15T 50+ market?

January 8, 2017

Blog, Future Trends, Longevity, Senior Discounts, Your Money

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There are far more older adults alive right now than in all of human history combined.  George Burns was once quoted as saying, “If you live to be one hundred, you’ve got it made. Very few people die past that age.”  The times are certainly changing and due, in part, to medical advances and technological breakthroughs people are living much longer than they ever anticipated they would.

The size and buying power of the Baby Boomer and Senior demographics are staggering, but many companiess mistakenly vastly underestimate the viability of today’s mature adults.  Consider these eye opening statistics:

  • The 55+ age group controls more than three-fourths of America’s wealth
  • Globally, the spending power of consumers age 60 and older will hit US$15-trillion by the end of this decade, up from US$8-trillion in 2010
  • Although Boomers and seniors have seen a slight decrease in their median family net worth, they still have a net worth that is 3x that of the younger generations
  • Baby Boomers account for nearly $230 billion, or 55% of consumer packaged goods sales each year
  • 96% of Baby Boomers participate in word-of-mouth or viral marketing by passing product or service information on to friends and family members

I received quite a response when I recently posted a list of awesome discounts for 50+ consumers on my website and it got me thinking about what other trends businesses need to adopt in order to make their products and services baby boomer and senior friendly. Advertisers might still be obsessed with the 18-35 set, but the senior population is one of the fastest growing demographics in America. If you want to see a boost in your business and stay ahead of the game, then you absolutely need to cater to this segment of the population.

The Market is Trending Towards Baby Boomers

One example that I’ve used in the past is ski resorts for senior skiers and boomers, but it certainly doesn’t stop there. In addition to providing products and services that are targeted to mature adults, you also need to invest in advertising that appeals directly to this demographic. I thought the Dodge Super Bowl commercial this year was awesome.  I love how Dodge released a statement saying, “You call it attitude, we call it character. Sometimes in order to get the most out of life you need to keep your eyes open and your mouth shut – we are dropping 100 years’ worth of wisdom on our official 2015 Super Bowl commercial”- brilliant marketing and clearly it’s about time we showcased our elders in a respectful manner!  Super Bowl commercials are often considered one of the biggest market indicators in terms of where the consumer mindset is headed, so if they’re targeting baby boomers and seniors with their marketing, then you should be too!

The Buying Power of Women Baby Boomers

Need more convincing?  Think about the largest segment within the 50+ population – women.  Women not only wield enormous purchasing power since they make the major decisions in their households, but according to “BOOM: Marketing to the Ultimate Power Consumer — The Baby-Boomer Woman,” this group accounts for 80% of the consumer goods market. I have NO idea why businesses don’t seem to care that women age 50 and older control a net worth of $19 trillion and own/control between two-thirds and three-fourths of the nation’s financial wealth. These ladies are also expected to be the beneficiaries of the largest transfer of wealth in our country’s history, in part due to double inheritances from parents and husbands.  Still can’t figure out why that’s significant? Ok here’s another tid bit of information, despite the 2008 recession, baby boomer spending was up an astonishing 45% as compared to the previous ten years, that’s why!  HELLO??!!??

Baby Boomers and the Family

Of course, that doesn’t mean that mature adults spend their money willy nilly.  In fact, boomers and seniors are more concerned than ever about their futures and their family’s future, as evidenced by an insightful post on Forbes about how baby boomers are starting to spend less on frills.  Family is self-reported as being “one of the highest priorities” among the 50+, so services and products that cater to those emotional ties and feelings will resonate with them – especially since grandparents are providing more financial support to their grandchildren than ever before.  In fact, a recent AARP study reported that grandparents say they regularly contribute to several major expenses: 53% to education costs; 37% to everyday living expenses; 23% to medical or dental bills.  Financial institutions seem to have recently woken up and some are capitalizing on this trend by providing retirement and pension plans that older adults can pay into, or manage, for their loved ones.  For instance, to help your grandkids build a nest egg with a Roth IRA, they need earned income, whether it’s money from selling lemonade or hours of babysitting. “Roth IRAs can be a fabulous tax-free growth opportunity for grandchildren because they are investing early and investing young,” says James Lange, author of Retire Secure!: Pay Taxes Later.  Targeted services like these are definitely the key when it comes to appealing to maturing parents and grandparents.

It’s Time to Focus on Baby Boomers!

As you can see, the 50+ population is still a swiftly developing consumer market, and it’s hitting an all time high in terms of global aging. While catering to baby boomers and seniors may not necessarily fit into every business’s products and services portfolio, these examples show that this segment is definitely a demographic that deserves closer attention from you and your business. I think you’ll be surprised at how well boomers and seniors will respond to your company if you just take the time to make it baby boomer and senior friendly with products and services specifically geared toward them.  Companies who ignore the 50+ do so at their own peril. All business entities must recognize that as Americans are aging they are accumulating wealth, and their spending power is growing at a pace that’s leaving younger generations far behind.  Any company that has a service or product that might appeal to the 50+ consumer but doesn’t have a strategy for making their offering relevant to this group needs to be prepared for a rough ride over the next twenty years.

 

For more 50+ marketing from Dr. Alexis read this feature article.

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Comments

  1. Posted by Greg Shaw February 9, 2015 11:19 am

    Why is it that everyone wants to put the label (“Baby Boomer”) on people born between 1946 and 1964? Why not just use the term older people because it is relative across all age groups. Time we change the dialogue.

    • Posted by Alexis Abramson, Ph.D. February 10, 2015 7:20 am

      I agree that the term “baby boomer” is very over used – but most folks in their 50’s (and lots in their 60’s) don’t consider themselves to be “old” so they don’t like the term older people either. Any other suggestions?

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