Boomers Are Still Top Consumers!
Don’t You Forget About Me: Boomers Are Still Top Consumers!
According to the U.S. Census Bureau population estimates, persons 50+ account for 36% of the total U.S. population as of 2020. In spite of these numbers, they are more often than not overlooked by advertisers and marketers across all mediums, who instead choose to focus most of their attention on targeting mainly Millennials and also Gen Z consumers.
The strategy that relies on marketing to Millennials especially does make sense, given that they are now the largest segment of the U.S. population. But this obsession of appealing to them and only them is leaving the second-largest segment in the dust. Who are the forgotten ones? The Boomers.
Here’s a little refresher: Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, making them between 58 and 76 years old at the present time. This generation, often put on the back burner when it comes to radio advertising initiatives, accounts for approximately 76 million people and remains a significant part of the population. They had previously been the largest generational group in the U.S. all the way up until the 2019 Census data was released and Millennials stole that title.
For almost every radio station in America, the demo of 25-54 is the only one that matters for the purposes of analyzing their audience. Few actually include 55-59 year-olds in an audience survey because they are afraid of the “aging out” phenomenon. But let’s consider this: Boomers still come in second place in the size category. Yes, they trail a bit behind Millennials, but the tangible value remains. Traditional radio continues to be very popular with the Boomers, who spend the most time listening each week. According to Nielsen data, radio reaches 86% of adults 55 and older, a sizable portion of the Boomer generation. Furthermore, Nielsen numbers show several AM/FM radio formats deliver significant weekly reach among persons 50-64: Adult Contemporary (41%), Country (28%), News (28%), Oldies (25%), and Classic Rock (22%).
The truth of the matter is that traditional marketing efforts have historically turned their backs on consumers once they reach about 50 or 55. Many fall victim to the myth that these individuals spend less overall and are also less likely to invest in new products or technologies. In reality, Boomers continue to have massive spending power – just look at the data! Unfortunately, they continue to be a largely ignored (and underexplored) affluent group.
So, what do we know about Boomers that can help advertisers see the value of this audience? For starters, the Boomer audience dominates spending potential. The Federal Reserve says Boomers represent 50% of all wealth in the U.S. and they also represent 54% of all disposable income, according to Acxiom data. This generation’s estimated spending power of $70 trillion easily wipes the floor with the $33 trillion that the Federal Reserve projects in Gen Z disposable income by 2030. According to the VAB, Boomers are also quite active, more active than Millennials actually, which may surprise you to hear. They spend more time than Millennials doing leisure activities, sports, and even shopping.
Baby Boomers are very familiar with the concept of competition. They grew up with it always in their minds. Advertisers can make good headway with this generation by clearly and effectively explaining what sets them apart from other competing products and services. Boomers want to know WHY doing business with you, as opposed to the other guy down the street who seems to be offering the same stuff, is a clear advantage. Trust is also key with Boomers. To gain this generation’s attention and persuade them to spend their money with your company, you must earn their trust. Did you know that according to Radio Advertising Bureau’s Senior VP Insights Annette Malave, 80% of Baby Boomers who are radio listeners will purchase a product from a trusted company EVEN if that product is more expensive?
In short, go where the money is! If the advertiser is not actively targeting this “forgotten generation” in their radio campaigns at the moment and is instead running away from Boomers faster than a cat on a mouse, try convincing them of the real potential for increasing their ROI in 2023.