10 Key Facts Savvy Marketers Know About Boomers

Driving revenue in today’s ultra-competitive marketing landscape requires clear-thinking and objective decision-making. Chasing Millennials has proven to have limited payoff because that generation continues to have limited financial means. On the contrary, the case for Boomers and older consumers as the lifeblood of the American economy continues to grow. According to the U.S. Census, Americans 50+ now spend more on consumer products and services than those under 50. 

Here are 10 more key facts making the case for Boomers as the most valuable generation for marketers today: 

1. 50+ spend more per capita. People 50+ are responsible for 51% of all consumer spending. They represent just 45% of all adults, so we know they spend more per capita than younger adults—so much for the notion that spending slows down after age 50.

2. 50+ spend more across a variety of mainstream segments. That people 50+ spend more on healthcare than younger consumers is no surprise, but they are also responsible for a greater share of spending on new cars and trucks (57%), personal care products and services (53%), household furnishings and equipment (52%), and entertainment (51%).



3. 50+ spend more than Millennials and Gen X. People 50+ spent 3.3 trillion on consumer goods and services in 2014—that’s $200 million more than was spent by people under age 50.

4. 50+ were critical in lifting us out of the recession. Since the recession, consumer spending among people 50+ has increased $726 billion, while spending among people under age 50 has dropped by $238 billion, a clear indication the 50+ age group ushered us out of the recession and is keeping our economy stronger now.

5. 50+ continues to be a rapidly growing population. Over the next ten years, the 50+ population will grow by 15.2 million — nearly 3 times the rate of the 18-49 population, ensuring that the 50+ consumer will only become increasingly relevant across most product and service categories. 

6. 50+ have a higher net worth. The median net worth of people 50+ is $304,000, which is 75% greater than it is for people age 18-49, $174,000.

7. 50+ own a majority of all investments. People 50+ own over 60% of all investments, including 68% of mutual funds, 70% of stocks, 76% of money market funds, and 89% of annuities. 

 8. 50+ support brick-and-mortar businesses. Over the past 3 years, 50+ have been kept a broad range of brick and mortar retailers in growth mode. During that period, Walmart gained 5.7 million more customers age 50+, 8 times the growth (700,000) of their 18-49 customer base. Other big brands garnered significant increases in 50+ customers, while watching their 18-49 customer bases drop, including: Home Depot (up 2.6 million 50+, down 2.1 million 18-49), McDonald’s (up 2.4 age 50+, down 7.6 million age 18-49), and Kohl’s (up 1.9 million 50+, down 1.9 million 18-49). 

9. 50+ are avid online shoppers. Outside of using email, making purchases is the #1 online activity among people 50+. Much of this is happening on mobile devices. Half of all people 50+ now own smartphones, with double-digit growth over the past 2 years occurring among people 50-59 (+52%), 60-69 (+92%), and 70+ (+127%).

10. 50 will soon be the age of the average American. The average age of American adults is now 47, just 3 years shy of the age at which they will age out of the coveted 18-49 demo. By 2025, the average age of the American adult will be 50. 

Due to our culture’s obsession with youth, Boomers will continue to cede the media spotlight to Millennials, but it will be a long time before they give up their spot as our nation’s dominant consumer group. Savvy marketers will prioritize evidence, not popularity, when deciding the best way to deliver profits and grow share of market.

7 comments about "10 Key Facts Savvy Marketers Know About Boomers".
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  1. Jon Currie from Currie Communications, Inc., October 22, 2015 at 4:34 p.m.

    This is great. But, here's a real fact. They don't care. They only want to sell "boomers" (a term I despise almost as much as seniors) meds and insurance. Apparently once you reach 50, you no longer buy cars, homes, phones, beer, food, etc., etc. They DO NOT care.

    I gave up the ghost on this one a long time ago. Read any article on audiences or ratings, it is always the same diatribe: The key demo 18-49. The demo that matters 18-49. The marketers main demo 18-49. whatever. Occassionally, they will stretch the demo to 25-54. They will spend Billions trying to sell Jaguars and every conceivable product to some kid still in high school who lives off of mommy and daddy. Imagine substituting "key demo of 18-49"  for "whites, or tall people, or Protestants" Just say it. Not pretty is it?

    The reality is this. Marketers are all chasing the golden fleece of millennials, etc. while ignoring the reality of who really has money. This is an old saw based on some non-science that says once you turn 50, you are incapable of changing brand preference, so you have to get them young. So try to sell BMWs to kids in kindergarten so they can one day borrow money from dad when your in college to afford one. It's utter nonsense. And it will not change in my lifetime.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, October 22, 2015 at 5:51 p.m.

    Marketing is a whirlpool.

  3. Ellen Gutierrez from Islander Imports, October 23, 2015 at 9:51 a.m.

    I totally agree with Paula Lynn.  I have beenin the advertising business for 25 years and its all the same 18-49, 18-49, 18-49... Once you hit 50 your dead in this world where millennials rule.  I get it... they are the "up and comers," the ones who determine the trends, culture creators and rule breakers who everyone wants to follow.  However I believe just targeting them is short sighted.  But that's the name of the game in advertising.  Embrace the reality or get out of the business...  The latter idea is liberating.  The question is, can those of us who have been in the game for so long afford to leave it to pursue someting else?  As an advertising exec who just turned 50 and is looking for job after suffering a layoff due to budget cuts, it so exciting to consider alternate career paths.  But will they pay the mortgage? That's the real question. 

  4. Pamela Lockard from DMN3, October 23, 2015 at 12:24 p.m.

    My only caution about the stats iin this article is that you really must us some heavy-duty segmentation to reach the older segment with money. There is a growing part of this market that has no savings and little disposable income -- especially single and aging women. For Medicare Advantage, lack of disposable income is not a problem -- the government is funding it. For services requiring disposable income of $50,000 or more a year, marketers should target, target, target! For another view of Boomers, check out this post.

  5. charles shillingburg from APN Staffing & Employment Solutions, October 23, 2015 at 1:16 p.m.

    Sounds like a real opportunnity for those that do embrace the Boomers, as you will have a much greater share of voice, if others are not targeting them.

  6. Jon Currie from Currie Communications, Inc. replied, October 23, 2015 at 2:42 p.m.

    BS. Marketers have no problem and love to chase 18-24s with every conceivable product. What money is there really for a 19 year old? Seriously.

    The average person over 50 has multiple times the money of the average 22 y.o. Fact. Not hard to find, not hard to reach. Once we hit 50 we don't go into Depends and Viagra land on overdrive.

    How many 19 yos have recently bought a Mercedes? What is the average age of a luxury car buyer? But look at the ads. It's all beautiful 20 and 30 somethings cavorting or doing doughnuts. Really?

    Sorry. IT IS NOT HARD to reach people over 50 with money. But it is hard to get someone under 25 who has any at all.

  7. Jon Currie from Currie Communications, Inc. replied, October 23, 2015 at 2:44 p.m.

    NO One "embraces" boomes for anyhing but meds and insurance. End of story.

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