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The New Seniors


Baby Boomers represent more than 80 million consumers in the United States and account for 70% of the country’s wealth.  They have a total of $3 trillion in annual disposable income, and to add to that already staggering number they will be inheriting an additional $14-20 trillion in the next 20 years.

That was the good news; this is the great news.  Neilsen has reported that with more than 20 hours per week and $7 trillion dollars per year spent online, Boomers are spending more of their time and money online than any other generation.  In recent years social networks were adopted among this generation with surprising speed.  Now 42% are on a social network and 53% of those are on Facebook.  Boomers also make up over 16.9 million users of mobile internet, and that number is projected to grow to 25.4 million by 2015.

Baby Boomers Mobile Internet Usage

Boomers have redefined every typical life stage they have entered thus far.  Now they are becoming senior citizens.  Currently, less than 5% of ad dollars are targeted to adults age 35-64 years old.  And those that are targeted to older adults are generally about age related financial and healthcare products.  Boomers do not want to be targeted because they are getting older, they should be targeted because of their values and identity like any other consumer.

The opportunities this void creates for reaching Baby Boomers in the digital space are endless.  Not only is there huge potential to market pretty much any existing category to Boomers, but there is also the opportunity to create new products specifically for this generation.

The travel category is a prime example.  Baby Boomers book about 42% of their travel online.  And as they get older, they are not looking to travel on the cheap as Mediapost.com published.  This generation accounts for 80% of the luxury travel industry and spends $157 billion on leisure travel each year.

Neilsen has deemed a subcategory in this generation the Techno Boomers because of their affinity for owning the latest phone, tablet, or computer.  Boomers account for 41% of Apple computer purchases, and they make up a large portion of the market share for PC purchases as well.  In fact, 55% of purchasers of the HP TouchSmart desktop are Boomers.  When HP discovered this they altered the model to include bigger icons and an angled screen to prevent arm fatigue.

As they become senior citizens, Baby Boomers are redefining retirement.  They are looking at retirement as an opportunity to pursue passion they have or the vocation they really wanted.  The first generation of youthful older adults is not going to spend retirement in a rocking chair.  They are going to go back to school, to open an art gallery, or to see the world.

After growing up with Madison Avenue practically chasing them, they now feel abandoned as marketers continue to focus on the youth market.  Digital is a prime location to reach this demographic in any category because it is where they are spending their time.  Whether it is on their mobile phone, iPad, or computer, the Baby Boomers are an audience that has yet to be completely tapped into.  How do you think digital marketers will adapt to reach this new audience?


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