Why You Should Be Targeting Grandparents This Holiday Season

Yes, it’s the holiday season again. From now through January, most businesses are trying to find ways to reap their share of the most frenzied shopping time of the year. While some marketers will look for this season’s killer product or promotion to drive sales during the year-end spending spree, who you target and not what you’re selling may be the difference between a hugely profitable holiday sales season and making less than spectacular numbers. 

Many retailers and brands typically focus on parents (the spenders) and children (the influencers) but the often overlooked grandparent – mostly Baby Boomers – might get you more bang for your marketing buck this year. Boomers represent close to 80 million U.S. consumers and have 70% of the disposable income in the U.S. If you really want to talk to the audience that can both afford and is looking to spend money on toys, consumer electronics and non-essentials, look no further. 



Baby Boomers represent 35% of the U.S. population, the largest market segment and the wealthiest, with spending power projected to reach $15 trillion by the end of the decade. No group reads more, watches more TV or listens to more radio. And they are actively engaged with technology. Seventy-one percent of Boomers spend time online every day, 53% are on Facebook and 66% use text messaging. In fact, Boomers spend an average of $650 per month on technology, more than Gen X or Millennials.

But with less than 5% of advertising spend aimed specifically at this age group, advertisers are either not seeing the opportunity or don’t know how to engage this audience. So dedicating a part of your holiday marketing efforts at this group could really pay off.

Grandparents are Grand Givers

According to, 72% of Boomers state that being a grandparent is the most important and satisfying thing in their life. This translates to big numbers in terms of buying for grandchildren: Boomers spend $52 billion on their grandchildren alone. And herein lies the secret to harnessing Baby Boomers for holiday marketing: don’t focus on deals and the best prices, focus on tapping into the incredibly strong bond between grandparents and their grandchildren. 

The way you can potentially take advantage of this is by starting to pay attention to Boomers in your marketing outreach. Few brands focus on this group because advertisers are obsessed with youth culture and figure that Baby Boomers, who consider themselves “forever young,” will respond in kind. But that isn’t always the case. 

Doing a just a few, simple things have the potential to really pay off in your holiday marketing efforts. 

Here are some easy ideas to get started:

  • Add a layer of messaging aimed at the grandparent/grandchild relationship. You can capture attention by helping Boomers solve the “What do we get for the grandkids this year?” challenge. Emphasize that you’re there to help and that you can help them look good while expressing their love through gift giving.
  • Recommend specific gift solutions through direct campaigns. Boomers still read and respond to snail mail and are also some of the most active email users.
  • Get Boomers excited about mobile apps and services for grandchildren vs. traditional toys. Remember they have a growing propensity for technology. 
  • Use social media like Facebook and a company blog to educate Boomers on the latest trends in toys and gifts by age group so they can look smart and connected without having to ask their grandkids what they want. E-tailers can curate gift content in the same way and strike a chord with this audience.
  • Create inviting holiday environments for brick-and-mortar stores that create the tastes and smells of the holidays without going overboard with decorations the way that big box retailers tend to do. Highlight the convenience of in-store shopping and personalized attention to find the perfect gift. 

Silver Shoppers

It’s not just about the grandkids. Your business may not focus on gifts for children and teenagers but Boomers are huge consumers in their own right. Boomers account for 42% of all consumer packaged goods spending! But where most marketers fall down is that they are not always able to create lasting emotional connections with older consumers.

That’s the true litmus test of a brand. Boomers don’t want to just buy products they need or, for that matter, spend solely on their children and grandchildren. They have the money and the desire to splurge on things they truly want and are redefining what it means to grow older. The more you can tap into these desires, the more successful you’ll be in tapping into their massive spending power this holiday.

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