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By Ryan

Baby Boomers

Reshaping Conventional Wisdom


Baby Boomers have long since been one of the most important age groups for businesses looking to grow. They are the 77 million people born between the years 1946 and 1964. Due to the sheer size of the group, they have been a powerful driving force in the American economy and an attractive audience to marketing professionals for decades.

Conventional [marketing] wisdom states that as people get older, they create well-established buying preferences and brand loyalties. That's why traditionally-speaking, marketing professionals begin to shift their attention away from older consumers and towards younger buyers somewhere around the age of 50. The general consensus was, that sometime around this age individuals had created such deeply entrenched habits that it was not worth the extra marketing effort to try persuade them away from their fixed preferences. To some degree, this concept still remains true. However as we come to the end of the second decade in the 21st century, many marketing professionals have begun to question this kind of conventional wisdom. They have begun to look at older generations in a new light.

There are three main reasons why Marketers have developed a reinvigorated interest in the Baby Boomer generation. One reason is their amazing buying potential. Today Baby Boomers control more than 70% of the country’s disposable income. And, according to the multinational consulting firm Deloitte, “Boomers will continue to be the wealthiest generation in the United States until at least 2030”. That makes them an enticing audience to marketers not just because of their notable size, but also because of their lasting spending power.

Wealth In America to 2030

Another reason why marketers are re-examining the Boomer generation is because of their impressive activity beyond retirement. Or rather lack of retirement. According to a recent pew research study, “In 2018, 29% of Boomers ages 65 to 72 were working or looking for work, outpacing the labor market engagement of the Silent Generation (21%) and the Greatest Generation (19%) when they were the same age.” As this group continues to be an active force in the labor market, they’re more likely to go back to school, pursue new hobbies, and find new ways to spend that extra income.

Lastly, marketing professionals are re-discovering the Boomer generation out of necessity. Marketers cannot give up on boomers just yet, because the alternatives just aren’t there. The relatively smaller number of Generation X consumers—only 50 million strong—are just entering into their prime earning years, therefore they aren’t poised to overtake the Baby Boomers as America’s wealthiest generation until well after 2030. On the other hand, the much larger and much younger generational cohort, the Millennials, are projected to present an entirely different set of challenges for businesses. Given their current low base of wealth, this group of American consumers are projected to remain far below their predecessors [Boomers’ and Gen Xers’], at least the foreseeable future.

In the years ahead, marketers will continue to reach out to Boomers out of strategic necessity, at least until the next generation (Gen-X) takes the title of wealthiest generation or until the 74 million Millennial consumers are able to use their massive numbers to become one of the largest and most influential generations to date. How has your business had to adapt to this changing marketplace? Do you have a Boomer strategy? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think.


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