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50+ Reasons Why Your Business Should Target the 50+ Consumer

By Bradley Stockwell

Marketing Director Merchant Capital Source

The Baby Boomer population is the largest age group in U.S. history yet somehow they seem to be counted out by many marketers. Is it because they’re frugal? Because they aren’t digitally savvy? Boomers are actually quite the opposite. Such as in 2012, Boomers (47-65) spent an average of 27 hours online per week. That’s two more hours than Millennials (16-34) who spent an average of 25 hours per week! Not only do they spend more time online, they also spend more money. Boomers outspent younger adults 2:1 online in 2012 on a per-capita basis. If you’re not reaching the 50+ crowd, maybe it’s time to rethink your marketing strategy and here’s 50+ reasons why.

Size:

  1. 77 million people were born between 1946 and 1964, which is defined as the baby boomer era (U.S. Census).
  2. The first baby boomer turned 65 on January 1, 2011.
  3. An American turns 50 every 7 seconds—that’s more than 12,500 people every day (U.S. Census).
  4. The senior age group is now, for the first time, the largest in terms of size and percent of the population in the U.S. This age group grew at a faster rate than the total population between 2000 and 2010, according to a 2010 Census brief.
  5. More people were 65 years and over in 2010 than in any previous census. Between 2000 and 2010, the population 65 years and over increased at a faster rate (15.1%) than the total U.S population (9.7%).
  6. By 2015, those aged 50 and older will represent 45% of the U.S. population (AARP).
  7. Baby Boomers make up 35% of the American adult population (Scarborough).
  8. By 2030, the 65-plus population will double to about 71.5 million, and by 2050 will grow to 86.7 million people (U.S. Census).
  9. In 2050, the number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to be 88.5 million, more than double its projected population of 40.2 million in 2010.

Wealth:

  1. The 55+ age group controls more than three-fourths of America’s wealth (ICSC).
  2. 78 million Americans who were 50 or older as of 2001 controlled 67% of the country’s wealth, or $28 trillion (U.S. Census and Federal Reserve).
  3. Boomers and seniors have seen a decrease in their median family net worth, however they still have a net worth 3x that younger generations (Economic Policy Institute).
  4. Boomers’ median household income is 55% greater than post-Boomers and 61% more than pre-Boomers. They have an average annual disposable income of $24,000 (US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey).
  5. The 50+ have $2.4 trillion in annual income, which accounts for 42% of all after-tax income (U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey).
  6. Adults 50 and older own 65% of the aggregate net worth of all U.S. households (U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey).
  7. Boomers are slightly more likely to have a college degree than members of the younger Generation X.

Spending Habits:

  1. Baby Boomers outspend other generations by an estimated $400 billion each year on consumer goods & services (US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey).
  2. In 2012, the 50+ crowd spent $87 billion on new cars.
  3. The average age of new car buyers is now 56.
  4. In 2009, spending by the 116 million U.S. consumers age 50 and older was $2.9 trillion, up 45% in the past 10 years (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  5. Baby Boomers account for nearly $230 billion, or 55%, of consumer packaged goods sales (Nielsen).
  6. Boomers outspend younger adults online 2:1 on a per-capita basis (Forrester Research).
  7. Americans over 55 spend 50% of all vacation dollars in America (ICSC).
  8. 55-64 year old outspend the average consumer in nearly every category, including: food away from home, household furnishings, entertainment, personal care, and gifts (US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey).
  9. Women over 50 spend $21 Billion on clothes annually (US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey).
  10. Baby boomers take great pride in the appearance of their homes as 27% have had landscaping done in the past year and they are 21% more likely than all American adults to have spent $10,000 or more on home improvement in the past year (Scarborough).
  11. The NAHB predicts that the aging in place remodeling market to be $20-$25 billion. That’s about 10% of the $214 billion home improvement industry.
  12. 96% of baby boomers participate in word-of-mouth or viral marketing by passing product or service information on to friends (ThirdAge and JWT Boom).

Online Habits:

  1. One-third of the 195.3 million internet users in the U.S., adults aged 50+ represent the Web’s largest constituency (Jupiter Research).
  2. Two-thirds of Americans 50+ buy from e-retailers online (Pew).
  3. In 2012, baby boomers (47-65) spend 27 hours per week online, 2 hours more per week than Millennials (16-34) at 25 hours per week (WSL/Strategic Retail).
  4. 89% of seniors 65+ have personal email and use it regularly (Nielsen).
  5. 72% of baby boomers have broadband internet in their homes (ThirdAge and JWT Boom).
  6. 36% of adults 50+ own a smartphone (Pew).
  7. 35% of current tablet users are boomers
  8. 44% of smartphone owners age 50+ access the Internet or check email daily from their device (Pew).
  9. Adults 45+ account for 34.7% of current tablet users (comScore TabLens).
  10. From 2004 – 2009, the number of seniors age 65+ actively using the Internet increased more than 55% (Nielsen).
  11. 27.4 million people age 55 and over engaged in social networking with nearly 19 million of those people using Facebook (comScore).
  12. Adults 50+ spend an average of $7 billion online annually (SeniorNet).
  13. 72% of adults 55-63 and even 47% age 73+ shop online (Forrester).
  14. 41% of internet users 50-64 and 27% age 65+ say they watch videos online (Pew).
  15. The Internet is the most important source of information for baby boomers when they make major market purchases, such as automobiles or appliances (Zoomerang).
  16. 42% of all travel industry purchases happen online, and adults 50+ account for 80% of all luxury travel spending (Pew Internet and American Life Project).
  17. 82% of adults aged 50+ who use the Internet research health and wellness information online (Pew Internet and American Life Project).
  18. The top four online websites for people over 60 are Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube (AARP).
  19. 65% of all adult Internet users engage in social media. In 2011, baby boomers increased their usage of social media by 60% (WSL/Strategic Retail).

Health Habits:

  1. In the next ten years, U.S. baby boomers will increase their annual spending on wellness-based services from approximately $200M to $1 trillion (Paul Zane Pilzer, The Next Trillion).
  2. Americans 55+ are the fastest-growing age group among gym members, up more than 266% since 1987 (IBISWorld).
  3. 82% of adults aged 50+ who use the Internet research health and wellness information online (Pew and American Life Project).
  4. Throughout 2012, more than half of U.S. online consumers used fitness electronics, and more then one-third planned on buying a health-related gadget in 2013 (CEA).
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