Home > Communications > Independent View

Driving Baby Boomer Sales

Author: Nicole Collida
July 8, 2014

A message to the Alliance from...
The Nielsen Company
Nicole Collida
Nielsen Retail Director 

In a two-part Independent View series, Nielsen addresses marketing to two very different yet equally important generational groups: Baby Boomers and Millennials. Today, Nelsen's Nicole Collida begins with Baby Boomers.

Why are Boomers important? Well, for starters, they have an extremely strong influence on the world as it exists today. They drove the vast middle class and the modern consumer markets that fuel economic growth. And today, Boomers will also redefine how we age. Advances in technology and health care will help this generation to live longer than ever before. In fact, National Population Projections show about 20 percent of the total population will be over age 65 in the year 2030. This power surge of gray consumers will change how we build brand loyalty and market ourselves effectively.

Just check out these statistics about the Boomer generation:

• They make more trips to retail outlets on average and spends less per individual trip.
• They state that they are less prepared on average for retirement than the generations that came before them.
• Forty-one percent say they will work past age 65 (vs. the global average of 23 percent).
• Over 50 percent are concerned about losing self-reliance for basic needs and losing physical or mental agility.
• Forty to 50 percent lose sleep over the growing financial burden of medical costs and aging comfortably.

These are major concerns, and smart retailers and manufacturers will address these needs to retain Boomer consumers.

So, how do we win with Baby Boomers? There is no easy answer, but in a recent Nielsen survey Baby Boomers identified four key areas that are currently misses for their generation.

Retail Services: Half to two-thirds of consumers state that their retail outlets do not meet their needs with things like easy-to-reach shelving, promotions geared toward smaller families, and/or large print advertising and signage. 

Packaging: Between 32 percent and 44 percent of consumers say products are hard to find, nutritional information isn't labeled clearly, and that product labels aren't easy-to-read. 

Healthy Eating: The U.S. accounts for more than a tenth of the obese population worldwide. Boomers are concerned about staying physically and mentally fit and eating healthy. 

Marketing: Traditionally, marketers focus on youth. Sixty-two percent of consumers say it's hard to find advertising that reflects older consumers. Marketers should not emphasize the generational gap, but instead focus on the intelligence of the mature brain and on older consumers' advantages.

Baby Boomers are a highly influential, high-dollar generational segment that is both large and growing. Don't be afraid to jump on and ride the aging population wave—or, better yet, use this research to drive it!

Stay tuned to learn more on the elusive Millennial consumer in an upcoming Perspective. You can reach me at Nicole.Collida@nielsen.com to continue the conversation!

Nicole Collida