Who Are The Boomers, Really?

Who are the Boomers? Depending on your source of information, the Boomer generation is confident, insecure, lonely, sociable, responsible, unprepared, couch-bound, active, powerful, adventurous, happy and pessimistic.

A constant stream of data about Boomers is tweeted, posted, emailed and printed, some of which conflicts with other messages out there.

For instance, there’s the issue of where Boomers will live in retirement. We’ve heard that they’re downsizing from houses to condos and apartments. But we’ve also heard that they’re upsizing to large homes — and that they’re actually remodeling their current homes and staying put. Or maybe they’re moving to the city, as part of the “Urban Boomer” trend, which is all about walkable culture. But we’ve also heard about their exodus to small towns with a lower cost of living. 

Then there’s the Boomer emotional state. Headlines report on the lonely “adult orphan” Boomer, the one-third of this generation that’s single or widowed, with no support system. Yet there’s also plenty of news about the overwhelmed, stressed Boomer who’s sandwiched between elderly parents and adult children, all living under one roof. 



And few topics have been more discussed than the Boomers’ financial state. Some headlines tell us about their fiscal firepower, yet other research shows a plunge in economic satisfaction and lack of preparedness for retirement.

And, of course, there’s the constant taking of the Boomer health temperature. We hear that Boomers are living longer and exercising slightly more than they did a decade ago, yet obesity and cholesterol medication use have gone up. Is this generation active or ailing? 

It’s not to say that broad information about this generation isn’t of value — but it’s also important to uncover deep insights about your specific customers, in your specific market.

That’s why we believe in doing research on the ground. As a firm specializing in the mature market, we’ve conducted two studies in which our researchers moved into senior living communities for 30 days and lived alongside residents — eating, shopping, socializing and interacting with them in order to garner insights on life in a retirement community. 

In our latest study, we’re looking outside community walls to understand the decision-making process of potential residents — what triggers the start of the investigation process, what factors influence the decision, and what their expectations are vs. the realities they face once they’ve moved in. We’re breaking the data down geographically and demographically, so individual communities can gain insights into the motivations of their specific customers, in their specific markets. 

Although the 50,000-foot view can show us the big picture, we also believe in the value of zooming in much closer. How do you gain insights about customers in your market?

2 comments about "Who Are The Boomers, Really? ".
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  1. Jeff Weidauer from Vestcom, August 24, 2015 at 9:58 a.m.

    Exactly - the idea of using the concept of a generation – whether Boomer or Millennial or wahtever – is as out of date as smoking sections in airplanes. There is no way to gain any actuionable informatiuoin when talking about tens of millions of people, and in our current, highly-trackable world, there's no reason to look at the macro picture anyway. 

  2. Arthur Koff from, August 24, 2015 at 1:02 p.m.

    I am 80 and certainly not a boomer, but I hear from hundreds of boomers and retirees each month via our Website. 

    From what I am hearing two areas are of particular interest as far as this article is concerned.
    1. Many boomers plan to stay in their current residences or age in place see
    2. The research and planning for a move into some kind of assisted living or senior living facillity is often driven by the children or even grandchildren of the "senior" who will be living in this facillity and most marketing is directed to them as opposed to the senior himeslef or herself. See Retirement Homes  Nursing Homes  Retirement Communities

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