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The Lost Generation: Baby Boomers

Today, most retailers are watching the Millennial generation develop into full-fledged consumers, placing an increased emphasis on how to market and engage with them.

While following the traditional marketing bias of aggressively courting the 18-49 target audience – being lured in by the prospect of a younger consumer, ripe with lucrative, long-term potential – retailers are neglecting an arguably more lucrative source of business: Baby Boomers.

As this generation began aging out of the popular 18-49 cohort, retailers started losing interest and now spend less than 5% of their advertising budgets toward them.

Obviously, Millennials should not be disregarded, but even while shrinking in size, the Baby Boomer generation makes up the same percentage of the U.S. population as Millennials and should not be ignored.

Not only are Baby Boomers the wealthiest generation, holding 70% of the disposable income in the U.S., but they also spend roughly 50% of all CPG dollars (including apparel).

At about 77 million strong, this generation represents a significant opportunity for retailers. Many Baby Boomers who have become empty nesters or retired have the disposable income to spend and are spending it on themselves.

The problem is that most retailers don’t understand this new landscape and traditional marketing approaches are not effective with this consumer segment. These approaches lack the perspective required to understand who these consumers are and what they need.

Today’s Boomers are experiencing a unique combination of life events – including getting married, getting divorced, starting new careers, going back to school, becoming grandparents and taking care of their aging parents.

Because of this, it is especially difficult to segment this group and it is a fatal mistake to view this generation as a single, monolithic entity with lockstep needs and purchasing patterns.

Baby Boomers are not interchangeable consumers. Age is an overly simplistic way to view this generation.

In fact, in a recent study by, almost 50% of Boomers felt they had been unfairly treated as “old” and 72% said they knew someone who had been – whether that’s from in-store marketing or ad campaigns.

The retailers who want to grow in this new era must gain a much better understanding of the needs of the Baby Boomer consumer and target their products, tailor their messaging and adjust the in-store experience accordingly.

In order to deliver the right message to these consumers, retailers need to first learn the subtle nuances that define each segment within this generation to successfully connect with them, build lasting relationships and develop loyal customers.

However, to do this effectively and accurately, granular-level insights must be obtained into who your customers are so you can identify patterns of behavior among the specific groups that make up the Baby Boomer generation, how they differ in particular regions of the country, and which corporate messaging, promotions and pricing will have the biggest impact on each group.

Interested in learning more about the impact Baby Boomers can have on your business? Or want to know how you can achieve greater success by truly knowing your customers? Then we should talk.

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