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Baby Boomer Trends for Marketers

Don't write off the Boomers as they age -- they are still a huge market segment for electronics, travel, food...and more

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Baby Boomers Consumer Trends

The Baby Boomers' perception is that they're graying technophobes who don't know how to work anything more complicated than a VCR clock, but reality is far different, according to the latest research from JWT Boom.

Baby Boomers are Information Enthusiasts

Boomers are online at nearly equal rates as Gen Xers and Gen Y, but they're using it differently.

Baby Boomers are using computers and the Internet for e-mail, shopping and searching for information, particularly for health-related information. In addition, about 50% of Boomers are using their computers to play games and download pictures.

The primary difference between Boomers' computer use and that of younger generations involves social networking, Bitter says. Only 32% of Boomers are visiting online communities, and only about 10% have ever written a blog. Bitter expects the latter number to increase as Boomers adjust to blogging as a way to stay in touch with far-flung friends and relatives.

Don't Mess with Boomer Pride!

With an estimated $2 trillion in annual discretionary spending, Boomers are an untapped market for advertisers, and they are a bit bitter about feeling pushed aside for a younger demographic when it comes to marketing. "Boomers are the first generation to create the consumer culture we now have in this country," Bitter says. "Every lifestyle they've passed through they were catered to. The idea that no one [cares] about them kind of pisses them off."

But Boomers aren't totally ignored, a wide range of products such as cars, GPS systems and pharmaceuticals are targeted squarely at the Boom generation.

Baby Boomers are Still Important Consumers

A 2007 survey of marketing executives revealed that 88% of marketers believed Baby Boomers were their most important demographic, according to the Marketing Executives Networking Group. However, Generation X, Hispanic, women and Generation Y were also cited as increasingly important demographics, according to the group.

Nearly two-thirds of Boomers are still employed, with 75% of them working full-time and another 18% working part-time. Many of them didn't expect to fully retire, but instead were thinking about transitioning into a phase of working while in retirement.

Baby Boomers are Optimistic

Boomers are more optimistic about their futures than previous generations had been, feeling that it will somehow all work out.

Think Filling those Empty Nests with Adventure!

And they're looking forward to the "Empty Nest" phase of their lives, when their children will be grown and self-sufficient. Of those experiencing an Empty Nest lifestyle, only a third were sad that their children were out of the house, while the majority cited more freedom and the opportunity for a closer relationship with their spouse as benefits.

Targeting new Empty Nesters is a huge opportunity for marketers, Bitter says. "It's such a provocative time in people's lives," she says. "There's a lot going on. They have a bump in disposable income, and they're thinking about where they want to live for retirement."

SOURCE: MediaPost's Marketing Daily

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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