Boomers Aren't Dead Yet: Insights Report October 2013
don’t foRget the BooMeRs
TO STAY FRESH AND RELEVANT, MARKETERS OFTEN SEEK THE NEXT
BIGGEST CONSUMER TARGET...
...CULTIVATING RELATIONSHIPS NOW THAT DRIVE TOWARD LONG-TERM BRAND LOYALTY.
The most recent generation to see this attention — and one worthy of focus with their
significant purchasing power and social influence — is the Millennial segment (age
18-34). We wrote about them in our last paper, and agree that they are a massive
generation that is set to change the face of marketing as we know it.
Yet, we CAN’T FORGET THE BABY BOOMERS. These consumers (born 1946-1964) are
the parents of “generational influence” and proved to be one of the most marketingfriendly consumer groups in history. THEIR SIZE AND PURCHASING POWER CARVED
THE PATH UPON WHICH MILLENNIALS NOW WALK, and taught marketers a thing or two
about the value of paying attention to the wants and needs of the people buying their
products and services.
THIS GENERATION IS ALIVE AND WELL, with still critically important “chops” in their share
of purchasing power — THE “SILVER TSUNAMI” that, while it may be slightly different
in the types of products and services in which they are interested, is still impactful and
worthy of continued attention.
In general, there are some misperceptions that exist about Baby Boomers, as well as
some still-strong marketing opportunities that speak to the VALUE THIS GENERATION
BooMeRs hAven’t stopped BooMIng
MYth: Boomers have already lost significant size and spending power and share of the market.
ReAlItY: Boomers number roughly 80 million and exert considerable financial control of the marketplace (and will
continue to do so for years to come).
BOOMERS ARE SET TO
70 34 15
WILL BE AGED
WHILE THE 18-49
EXPECTED TO GROW
BY 2030, the 50+
OF ALL INCOME.
O F T H E U. S.
POPULATION WILL GROW
IN THE NEXT 20 YEARS.
Source: Nielsen and BoomAgers Report, 2012.
theY ARen’t who You thInK theY ARe
While much research has been conducted over the years to understand and predict Boomer
behavior, they have proven to be highly adaptable to change. Much of what you might have
thought about Boomers may be inaccurate or dated.
MAnY BelIeve BooMeRs ARe…
But In ReAlItY, BooMeRs ARe…
…following traditional pathways to
retirement and looking to settle down.
…bridging the gap between their careers and
retirement with non-traditional activities.
…“set in their ways,” less active
and less open to change.
…seeking new experiences and building new
connections that enrich their lives.
…stingy with their money and losing
significance as consumers.
…influential consumers willing to spend their
hard-earned money on things that matter.
…increasingly out-of-date and
out-of-touch with modern society.
…young-spirited, fighting to stay
current and relevant.
new pAthwAY to RetIReMent
tRAdItIonAl lIfe stAges
Previous generations have followed a sequential pathway through
three distinct life stages: education, then work, then retirement.
BooMeR lIfe stAges
Boomers have rewritten the traditional path and blurred the lines between life stages. In effect,
they are exercising their freedom of choice, while still remaining committed to their goals.
• “If I stop learning, I stop living.” Many Boomers seek opportunities for continued learning and knowledge,
not only to sharpen skills for their current job, but to set the stage for personal enrichment and pleasure.
• As of 2012, 45% of adults aged 45-64 participated in adult education. MetLife Mature Market White Paper, 2012
• Financial strains resulting from the Great Recession, their children’s education costs and elderly
parent caregiving, many Boomers are postponing retirement.
• The number of workers over 65 is expected to grow by 80% by 2016. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
• Boomers are dipping in and out of retirement, mixing later life leisure with ongoing
work life to help themselves financially and stay active and relevant.
• 80% say they will continue working, even upon retirement. Del Webb Survey, 2013
Boomers are changing the face of aging.
It is not about gettIng older, but finding ways to gRow older.
• As the healthiest, happiest, most educated, and most active generation ever to
come into retirement, Boomers are not ready to settle down as they age.
• Instead, having come of age during a period of activism and social reform, they aren’t just
open to change, they are accustomed to it, often seeking ways to elevate their experiences.
• Rather than the traditional move to golf course communities upon retirement,
Boomers are looking for living arrangements that foster active lifestyles.
+ chAngIng geogRAphY: Relocating to cities with vibrant culture, outdoor
activities and social happenings.
+ lIvIng Young: Looking for exciting and healthy activities that promote
NEW ENTREPRENEURS BY AGE
+ cultIvAtIng new: Building new relationships, experiences and connections to
expand and grow in all areas of their life.
KAUFFMAN INDEX OF ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTIVITY, 2012
Activities that enhance
health and well-being.
• Although many continue to work even after retirement, not all are
Nearing retirement, Boomers plan to focus on:
DEL WEBB SURVEY 2013; TRILOGY LIFESCAPE SURVEY
doing so out of necessity.
+ In 2011, Boomers produced the most new entrepreneurs of any
generation, demonstrating their need for enrichment and
+ 51% plan to avoid boredom and maintain a sense of purpose by
working. 46% say they “like to work.” Del Webb Survey 2013
old MeAns gold
While Boomers face financial constraints, their ability and willingness to spend money has not been reduced,
but is simply more pragmatic and discerning toward what matters most.
dRIve choIce of RetAIleRs
foR BooMeRs - 60% MoRe
• Unlike their parents, BooMeRs gRew up In A post-wAR peRIod of optIMIsM And
Affluence, resulting in deep-seated “consumerist” values that persist today.
• However, having faced a variety of fortunes and misfortunes in their lives, they demonstrate
pRActIcAlItY and sAvvIness in their decision-making.
Source: The Brodeur Partners’ Retail Relevance 2012 Study.
• While MARKeteRs ARe depRIoRItIzIng the potentIAl of thIs geneRAtIon As
“consuMeRs,” the reality is that they must keep fighting for their attention.
• Contrary to popular belief, Boomers are no MoRe oR less BRAnd loYAl oR pRIceconscIous thAn otheR geneRAtIons.
• However, to cultivate a relationship with them, Boomers expect to Be RewARded foR
theIR coMMItMent to brands.
J.D. POWER AND ASSOCIATES’ AUTO OFFLINE
MEDIA REPORT, WINTER 2012 NIELSEN AND
BOOMAGERS REPORT, 2012.
of All cpg
less thAn 5 of Ad dollARs ARe tARgeted to theM.
Source: Nielsen and BoomAgers Report, 2012.
• As their children finally move out of the house and they move into later life, BooMeRs ARe looKIng foRwARd to spendIng theIR
hARd-eARned MoneY on theMselves.
• Over 2/3 plan to spend more time on their hobbies post-retirement.
• In particular, they are attracted by activities and brands that are updated versions of pRoducts theY gRew up wIth — enabling them
to tap into the happy emotional times of their youth.
how do we engAge BooMeRs?
coNstaNt stiMulatioN •
tHirst for KNowleDGe •
• eNaBliNG a BalaNceD life
• coNtiNueD learNiNG
New experieNces •
social coNNectioNs •
pHysical/MeNtal eNricHMeNt •
• eleVateD Quality of experieNces
• creatiVity outlets
practicality + iNDulGeNce •
atteNtioN aND wooiNG •
appreciatioN for loyalty •
• exclusiVe offeriNGs aND cHoice
respect aND Value •
• youNG-as-you-act iNclusiVity
Commitment to BOOMER Relevance
APPLIED MOTIVATORS / CONNECTION
3New/Quality of Experiences
3Respect and Relevance
• In 2011, Toyota launched a campaign for Venza, which satirized
• Toyota recently launched a new Avalon campaign targeting
misconceptions about Boomers’ tech incompetence and boring
younger Boomers, in an attempt to lower the average Avalon
owners’ age from 67.
• Toyota was effective in celebrating the outgoing and active nature
of Boomers, in contrast with younger consumers’ tech obsession.
• Success was achieved, with over 70% of Venzas sold to Boomers.
• The “Let’s Go Places” tagline encouraged Boomers to try new
• The campaign utilized optimized messaging for tablets and
mobile devices, knowing that boomers are tech-savvy.
innovation FOR boomers
• Heineken utilizes its Ideas Brewery to crowdsource innovation. The April 2013 “Challenge” asked consumers around the world to
APPLIED MOTIVATORS / CONNECTION
3Variety/Thirst for Knowledge
provide ideas for a new beer concept targeted at people age 60+ that would fit their lifestyle wants and needs.
• This brand demonstrated keen insight on the mindset of this target via the categories in which ideas had to flow to qualify for the
+ Quality experiences
+ Learning and re-discovery
+ More time for social activities
• The winning idea was “Fahrenheit 60+,” a series of new tastes/brews with a unique story behind each within the Heineken brand.
connectIng: nutRItIon And nostAlgIA
• Declining category sales (fewer children and Millennials who sit down for cereal at breakfast) is driving cereal manufacturers to find
ways to make their products relevant again in expanded ways with adults. Specifically with Boomers who are still engaged with this
product for breakfast and as a snack.
ApplIed MotIvAtoRs / connectIon
• Specific brand actions are leveraging trends among Boomers — happy nostalgic memories and increasing interest in health and
+ Lucky Charms is a brand “built” on Late Boomers (introduced in 1964), and with still-remaining value from a nostalgic
standpoint to this generation. New communication that helps adults remember “how good of a cereal it is” are resulting in
increased sales and growth in usage by adult audiences, including Boomers.
— “We know that adults have always loved Lucky Charms and by reconnecting them with the brand, we have reignited
their love of one of their favorite things from childhood.” (Carla Vernon, General Mills’ Marketing Director for Lucky
+ Kellogg’s is introducing multiple products with nutrition-based innovation, including:
Raisin Brand Omega-3 and Special K MultiGrain. Its Kashi brand will roll out a new Heart
to Heart product with flax and omega 3.
• These brands are attempting to stay relevant and evolve with consumer wants/needs.
pItfAlls of IgnoRIng BooMeR InsIghts
• In April 2013, Amazon launched its 50+ Active & Healthy Living store, a hub for Boomers to shop for health, beauty and
ApplIed MotIvAtoRs / connectIon
pRActIcAlItY And vARIetY
• Items grouped on the site are likely accurate in their practicality for this audience, and the site does, in fact, contain items for both young
and old consumers, such as health/exercise, technology and travel.
• However, it also is “loudly visible” in what could be perceived as “products for the elderly,” i.e., mobility, incontinence, wrinkle creams,
• Amazon has received significant negative feedback from those who feel the brand is generalizing the “needs” of the 50+ age group.
• The concept has legs, and depending on Amazon’s success with this idea, other retailers may follow suit. However, based on comments
from the retail industry and consumers across multiple independent resources, additional work is needed to better align the concept
with the reality of this consumer segment.
If nothIng else, Know thIs…
• In the mad dash to engage with Millennials, DON’T FORGET ABOUT
BOOMERS — they are an important consumer group.
• Opportunities for products/services and engagement exist with this
generation that go far beyond a narrowed focus on “gray hairs.”
• They represent A LARGE POPULATION BASE THAT HAS TREMENDOUS
• To be successful, marketers must understand their emotionally-charged
motivators, and implement actions that will relevantly connect and
cultivate loyalty. This means:
– DON’T STEREOTYPE this generation and the products and services
– Don’t use IMAGERY AND COMMUNICATIONS CHANNELS that are
not in touch with the reality of this consumer base.
– Remember their YOUTHFUL MINDSET, which helps them feel and
stay “young” longer.
– Respect their value and acknowledge their practical and
DISCERNING DECISION-MAKING EXPERIENCES.
– Engage with them in ways that REWARD THEM WITH CHOICES,
inclusivity, creativity outlets and new/elevated experiences that enhance