I Want My HGTV

What do sex, independence, tech savviness and HGTV have in common? All scored big in our new survey on mature consumer behavior and decision-making, as it relates to purchasing personal technology and consumer electronics.

Among the findings, Boomers report more independent purchase behavior than previous generations, many mature consumers self-identify as being tech-savvy, and Boomer women report the important role technology plays in their lives.

Several compelling lifestyle findings have emerged, among them:

  • A TV in the bedroom is more important than regular sex for Boomer women: Women's interest in sex is linked to and parallels their feelings about their relationship. Sex was ranked more important to men regardless of how they ranked their feelings of closeness toward their partner. In response to the question, "What would you not be willing to give up?," both Boomer and Generation Ike female respondents said it was "television in the bedroom" versus the males' top response that it was "sex on a regular basis."



This finding comes on the heels of a new report by, challenging the stereotypes of sex and the older woman, and showing women taking control of their sexual lives. Arianna Huffington has said, "Sleep is the new sex," and has asserted, "Simply getting more sleep was the one thing that could improve the status of all women in [America]." Just last week, in a joint report by The New York Times and the "Today" show, we learned that 25% of couples sleep in separate bedrooms or beds; the National Association of Home Builders expects that by 2015 60% of custom homes will have dual master bedrooms. It seems like the sexual revolution has run headlong into "I Love Lucy."

  • Boomers report more independent purchase behavior: Boomers within a couple/spousal relationship report more independent purchase behavior, which is much different from mature consumers of the past -- the Ike and WWII generational cohorts. The more independent acting (with separate bank and retirement accounts) the Boomer partners are, the more money they spend without consulting each other. This is notable in product categories such as electronics.

Ten years ago, when we were targeting the WWII cohort for financial services products and housing, we talked to couples as a unit, frequently talking to the male head of household with a nod to the wife's influence. Part of this shift is due to the financial power of Boomer women. They have something their foremothers didn't have -- access to education, opportunities and careers. The balance of household power has shifted.

These results help us understand whether couples are really shopping for big-ticket items together or acting as individual consumers, particularly in categories traditionally considered male-dominated such as gaming and electronics. Consider that not that long ago, a family purchased a desktop computer to be shared by a household. Now individual family members control their own decisions regarding smartphones, laptops and tablet computers.

Markets must recognize the opportunity they may be missing by not speaking to women, or by assuming "household behavior" versus individual spending.

Our survey report, "Mature Consumer Behavior and Purchase Decisions on Consumer Electronics and Personal Technology Products," is available for download at the blog, Boomers in the Wild.

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