If there's one thing that unites Boomers of all shapes and sizes, it’s consumerism. From the very beginning, marketers recognized the possibilities presented by this uniquely large generation. At every age of their lives, Baby Boomers have been the largest demographic to target, and marketers have perused them diligently.
In the 1950s, teenage and younger Boomers bought hula hoops and Frisbees. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, they settled down and sent housing prices soaring Today, there’s an explosion in computer gadgets meant to ease a generation into their golden years. Baby Boomers have driven the economy as they aged with their massive spending power. Now, as they oldest Boomers hit 60, marketers are tasked with keeping up with the unrelenting demographic shift.
In the 2000 Census, there were an estimated 35 million people in America 65 or older. By 2030, that number is expected to more than double to 71.5 million Americans. That group will contain almost 20 percent of the nation's population, where today the 65 and older group makes up only 12 percent.
Not only will they be the largest Golden Years demographic in history, they will be the richest, controlling 40 percent of the nation's deposable income and 77 percent of private investments. Clearly, this is the demographic that advertisers will want to tap.
So looking ahead, where are the growth industries for companies wanting to market to the Boomers? One good guess is health care. The Baby Boomers have spent their lives being healthy, eating healthy, exercising and basically refusing to grow old. Just because they are becoming chronologically older doesn't mean they intend to let go of their fit and healthy lifestyle. Also, the generation that followed them is much smaller and won't provide nearly enough elder care workers to help take care of the Boomers in their golden years. Many companies see a huge opportunity in the making.
But these are the Boomers we're talking about, the generation that fell in love with gadgets and computers. So a company that can create a seemingly futuristic gadget that deals with health care is at the top of the game.
In Japan, where the percentage of seniors is rising even faster than in America, you can purchase a toilet seat that will weigh you, take your temperature, and test your urine and blood for blood sugar and cholesterol levels. The seat then automatically sends the results to your doctor's office.
It may sound like something out of “Star Trek,” but as more Baby Boomers cross into their 60s and 70s, the need for more high-tech health-care devices will become a reality.