Boomers are concerned about their health and rightly so. Of the 75+ million Americans who make up the boomer generation, about 3 million are hitting retirement age every year for the next 20 – and they are focusing on their future. With that in mind, marketers of everything from exercise to food to pharmaceuticals can and should be speaking to the boomer crowd.
Here are a few markets in the healthcare & wellness space that would benefit from paying attention to how they address the needs of today’s boomers.
1) Boomers and their personal health: Boomers are living longer but they may not be healthier. According to 2013 research by Concordia University with data from government sources, it turns out that the average American over 65 has multiple chronic conditions, including hypertension (72%), arthritis (51%), heart disease (31%), cancer (24 %) and diabetes (20%), accounting for one third of all healthcare spending in America. With that said, the market for drugs that address these ailments is real and growing. According to an article in Time, adults aged 55-64 are taking more drugs than ever before, with a 29% spike in the use of anti-diabetic pills and a 54% increase in cholesterol-lowering drugs.
2) Boomers and Wellness: Boomers are more active than any generation before it at this age: dating, hitting the gym, traveling, moving, doing DIY home improvements. They remain as engaged as possible in the fight against aging. As a result, fitness programs geared to boomers are popping up around the country. People aged 55 and older are one of the fastest growing segments of gym membership, according to IBISWorld. In fact, the same study predicts the boomer generation will help push the fitness category to nearly $30 billion by 2018.
3) Boomers and Beauty: Research firm BCC Research estimated that the global market for anti-aging products and services including anti-aging cosmetics, plastic surgery, dermatology and anti-aging disease management was $261.9 billion, up from $249.3 billion in 2012. The firm projected this number would reach $345.8 billion by 2018.
4) Boomers and Medical Information: Like everything else, boomers are shopping for doctors and medical resources online and they are making their decisions based on everything from empirical data to advertising to advice from friends, family and their social sphere. They research options for treatments and medications, side effects and risks, challenge assumptions and rely on conversations to make their healthcare choices.
5) Boomers and Self Care: As we experience dramatic shortages in medical personnel, and hundreds of thousands of boomer doctors and nurses retire in the next 5-10 years, the fact that boomers are willing to – and indeed compelled to – address their own day to day health will almost be a necessity. According to emarketer, boomers are fueling the markets for exercise, vitamins, dietary supplements, fortified foods and anti-aging products as they focus on staying active and preserving their physical appearance and weight.
6) Boomers and Food: Four in five boomers are more food conscious, more attentive to food labels, and know more about the origins of their food products than they did in the past, according to a recent survey by Whole Foods. In 2013, 76% of those aged 65 and older said they avoid chemical/artificial ingredients because they’re “concerned about health” — that’s more than any other age group.
Boomers are motivated and energized in their quest to remain healthy as long as possible, leaving marketers plenty of opportunity to reach them and provide products that answer their needs. The challenge, as always, remains how to reach them. We will continue to see innovation in the use of both traditional and online media as savvy marketers experiment with new platforms and new messages that will help boomers make informed decisions about their well being.