Cupid Takes Aim At Hearts (And Wallets)
Ah, the sacred traditions of Valentine’s Day: flowers, candy hearts, and, if you’re a Baby Boomer, perhaps romance after divorce.
That’s right, Baby Boomer divorce is occurring at historically high rates, and this provides marketers with opportunities sweeter than a heart-shaped box of chocolates. Over 20 million single Boomers represent a vast, lucrative market for a wide range of dating-related products and services.
Boomers are 68% more likely to be divorced than the generation before them, and they account for one out of every two divorces in the United States.
While it’s standard to have a negative perspective on divorce, pragmatic reasons enable Boomers to have a different view.
- For starters, Boomers expect to live longer and with more vitality than previous generations. At 50, a Boomer will likely live another 30 or more years. As
children leave home and Boomers retire, they may find that the changing needs and desires of their second adulthood no longer fit a marriage entered into at an earlier stage of life.
- Divorce doesn’t have to cause the financial strain it once did. Many Boomers have accumulated significant wealth, enabling Boomer couples to divorce while leaving both parties
financially secure. Additionally, six in ten married Boomer women are employed; for them, financial security is not an impediment to separation.
- Finally, 35% of Boomers believe marriage is becoming obsolete and many see divorce not as a tragic ending, but merely as one step in a transition to the next stage of life. This allows them to leave a marriage with less emotional wreckage than was experienced by previous generations. In fact, many Boomers maintain good relationships with their ex-spouses.
Benefitting from a more positive approach to becoming single, Boomers are readily getting back in the game. They account for one-quarter of online dating service users. Among the online population, single Boomers are 20% more likely than their younger counterparts to have used an online dating service in the last month.
A host of 50+ online dating sites have been popping up over the last decade, among them ourtime.com, over50match.com, seniormatch.com, silversingles.com, and singleandover50.com. In addition, general-population dating sites are directly targeting the older market. Lavalife launched Lavalife Prime for people 45 and older, and HowAboutWe offers discounts to people age 50 and over.
Marketers are beginning to realize that online dating is just the starting point. The courting game takes money. Looking your best, treating your date to a night on the town, preparing for a night of intimacy … it all adds up. Single Boomers have the disposable income to really make an impression—they earn 51% greater income than younger singles.
Just consider all of the products and services they will invest in when seeking a potential mate:
- clothing, shoes, accessories
- jewelry, watches
- perfume, cologne
- beauty and haircare products
- cosmetic procedures
- salon services
- diet programs, gym memberships
- home furnishings
- home entertainment (electronics, Netflix, music)
- dating services, technology (smartphones, tablets)
- new cars
- movie, theater, museum, sport and other event tickets
- vacations, weekend getaways (hotels, spas, car rental, train and airfare, cameras)
- lingerie, underwear
- bedding, towels
- sex-related items
So, what’s the best way to woo a demographic looking for new love?
You can’t speak to Boomers as you would a younger singles market. Boomers aren’t necessarily looking for someone to marry, and they aren’t looking for someone to have children with. They are looking for companionship, perhaps a lifelong partner, and, with past marriages and long-term relationship experience to draw from, they have a much better sense of what they want in a partner.
They need less guidance in choosing a partner, and more guidance on how dating opportunities may have evolved while they were raising their families. If you want them to pay attention, make sure they know you understand their dating needs and have solutions that help them find the partners and develop the relationships they are looking for at this stage of their life.
So, this Valentine’s Day, take a tip from an older, but no less romantic, Cupid. Target 50+ singles, take careful aim, and you’ll end up with results that you’re gonna love.