Hey, brand warriors, are you guilty of ageism? The youngest baby boomers are turning 55 this year, and 50 percent of the U.S. population will be over the age of 50 this year. But Boomers are getting short shrift when it comes to products and services aimed at their unique needs and interests. This Silver Set today outspends other generations on consumer goods and services by an estimated $400 billion each year. They account for half of all US consumer spending. And yet they are targeted by typically just 5-10 percent of consumer marketing.
Boomers are not like any elderly folk we’ve seen in the past, and not just because they have more money to spend for longer than ever before (and not just on healthcare). They’re checking off far-flung bucket-list destinations, learning new skills, working out and dressing in up-to-the-minute fashions. They’re also engaging enthusiastically with social and environmental causes.
If you want to tap into those salt-and-pepper dollars, you’ll need to get woke about this savvily seasoned demographic.
Here are 5 key trends to incorporate into your brand thinking.
- The Silver Startup Tsunami. Boomers are businessmen and women, and they’re twice as likely as Millennials to plan to start a business in the next year. This means they need new products and services that help take those who grew up when calculators were the size of a tablet into the possibilities of the gig economy.
- Oldsters can be Hipsters. They want freedom, connection and stimulation. Boomers are rejecting living and community arrangements that make them feel old and ailing, and expect to continue living life to the fullest. This means everything from comfortable shoes that don’t look like lifeboats, to retirement homes in bustling urban centers with Pilates and mindfulness classes. They want to maintain active relationships with neighbors, coworkers, family, friends, and community members—both in person and online.
- The New (Old) Age of Healthcare. Choice and independence are demands, not requests. Aside from a wider variety of living arrangements, Boomers want to tailor the healthcare and home care services they use. They want to rely on others as little as possible for personal care and getting around. This means better public transportation, ridesharing, and pedestrian facilities. It also means apps and gizmos suited to older eyes, brains and bodies.
- Fit, not fading. Wellness is about more than staving off disease. Boomers want better help with managing long-term illness, and a choice of activities that will maximize their chances of leading a productive and fulfilling life, spiritually, as well as physically.
- Studying to combat senescence. Boomers want to keep growing, personally. Learning new skills and diving into new areas of knowledge are luxuries they may not have had before. Now’s the time to expand internal horizons, not get tunnel-vision on the way to the grave.
This isn’t about a niche market that could be nurtured into opportunity; this is about a whole solar system of brands currently not on the star map. One thing’s for sure--if you don’t point your magic brand ray gun at this affluent, dynamic demographic, someone else will. Most likely the competition.
At Ideon, we’re keeping an aggressively keen eye on this under-served bunch of (replacement) hipsters. You should too. Ask us how your brand can catch a ride on the Silver Tsunami?