Today, every fifth adult in the United States is a female over 50. They are the healthiest, wealthiest and most active generation of women in history who control half of the country’s discretionary income and 75% of the country’s wealth. That’s a lot of spending power for one generation of women. It’s a mystery why marketers ignore Boomer women, even during the holidays, but ignore them they do.
During the holiday season, this generation of women likes nothing more than to spoil their families. They buy food to create memorable family meals, and gifts for family members, spending a collective $35 billion on grandchildren alone. It seems clear that marketers would target this group as much as any other. Instead, they spend less than 10% of their holiday marketing budgets targeting Boomers. It’s time for marketers to put Boomer women on their “nice” list this holiday season.
Dash Away Stereotypes
One reason marketers and retailers ignore Boomer women is the belief that they’re not tech savvy enough to keep up with the changing retail environment. With so many businesses moving to online models, the focus is on younger audiences, particularly millennials. But Boomers are much more tech savvy than given credit for, actually spending more online than millennials—up to $7 billion annually. Many may prefer the tactile experience of shopping in a store, but they’re perfectly comfy with e-commerce.
They’re not just using their desktop or laptop computers for shopping and researching brands, either. 60% of Boomers have a smartphone, and 73% use their smartphone to shop daily. These Baby Boomers are active on social media as well. Of adults between the ages of 50 and 64, 72% are on Facebook, and of adults 65+, 62% are using Facebook, making it easy for retailers to reach them with their marketing messages.
Being ignored for years has resulted in many Boomer women abandoning brands to which they’ve been loyal for decades. And now those brands are in the position of having to figure out how to win these consumers back. An excellent first step for brands and retailers wanting to reclaim their loyalty is to take the time to understand what drives Boomers to make a purchase. What are their needs, and the emotional triggers that prompt a purchase? Believe it or not, their needs are similar to those of other generations. They want convenience, an emotional connection to the brand, and to hear a great story that resonates with their lives. And a loyalty program that offers real benefits and lets them know you appreciate their business.
Be of Good Cheer All Year
Sure, Baby Boomers are tech-savvy and often purchase online, but many still prioritize good old-fashioned service above all else. Marketers and retailers can provide that service by sending follow-up emails that provide the opportunity for Boomers to give feedback and make their voices heard. They need to set aside their preconceptions and stop looking at Boomer women through dated stereotypes. Most importantly, they need to recognize that these women are not one homogenous group. All Boomer women are not grandmas or caregivers. Engage them, and let them know you want to build an ongoing relationship with them.
In today’s world, our economy is heavily influenced by Boomer women. Marketers need to recognize that these consumers are not stuck in the “good old days” and that they don’t prioritize buying the brands with which they grew up. Take the time to build a relationship with these consumers. Make it clear that they’re important to you, and they’ll reward you with the $3.2 trillion they spend each year.
I agree with your sentiment but feel the need to caution you as including all women over 50 as Boomers. On the younger side you are talking to X'rs who definitely do not want to be lumped in with Boomers nor do they have the same likes/dislikes and are often the oldest of their siblings versus the youngest like Boomers. These are women who started school with title 9 already in place. Those in business are not thinking about retirement but more about moving into the C suite. Many are still raising young children as they had them later in life. X'rs have had a computer on their desk their entire working life. Business casual has always been th dress code. While they may not be like Millenials its a mistake to lump them and their buying power in with Boomers.
Totally agree, Kris, that it's important to recognize that women can't be segmented strictly by age. It's important to recognize lifestage as well as chronological age. Today's women are experiencing life in a less linear fashion; having babies in their forties, starting new careers in their 50s, and often re-enterting the date scene in their 60s.
While some of the facts and statistics might be a little questionable, the author's basic premise is exactly right. There has been too much emphasis on millennials and e-commerce by marketing execs that should know better.
great article, thanks, and I shared on my social media. Can you please give me the source for your stats? ... controlling 50% of discreationary income, 75% of wealth and $3.2 trillion buying power... love to know your source. Thanks.