Grandparent Market – Where the Money is for Marketers?

Grandparents.  70 million of them in the US.  They buy $2 trillion worth of goods and services annually.  High levels of income and eduction. And they spend alot of money on their grandchildren.  And a whole lot of them are baby boomers!

The new report from grandparents.com takes a comprehensive look at the grandparent market — who they are, how they spend their money — and why marketers should pay attention.

Here are some of the facts:

  1. Three in every ten adults are grandparents.
  2. Medican age of a first time grandparent is 50 for women and 54 for men.
  3. By 2010, more than half of grandparent’s will be baby boomers.
  4. By 2010, households headed by 55-64 year olds will earn the highest average income, surpassing that of families headed by 45-54 year olds for the first time.
  5. Grandparent spending on grandchildren has grown an average of 7.6% per year since 2000.
  6. Grandparents make 45% of the nation’s cash contributions to nonprofit organizations and account for 42% of all consumer spending on gifts.

If you attended the Boomer summit in Las Vegas you might have had a chance to hear Jerry Shereshewsky talk about this market.  This is new research and well worth a read if this is your target market.

Find the report here

posted by Laura Rossman

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Are baby boomers ready to look their age?

Will the change in the economy lead to changes in the way we think about aging –again.  So much has been written in the past decade about 60 becoming the new 40; how boomers will change aging etc.

This from Peggy Noonan at the Wall Street Journal OpEd page on Saturday April 18 in a column about return to simplicity…

“People will be allowed to grow old again. There will be a certain liberation in this. There will be fewer facelifts and browlifts, less Botox, less dyed hair among both men and women. They will look more like people used to look, before perfection came in. Middle-aged bodies will be thicker and softer, with more maternal and paternal give. There will be fewer gyms and fewer trainers, but more walking. Gym machines produced the pumped and cut look. They won’t be so affordable now.”

I think the changing economy and retirement reality will influence boomer thinking about a lot of issues.  Some out of necessity– like money and work– and some because the pendulum did swing too far — just as in too much credit maybe too much emphasis on youth. 

What do you think?

posted by Laura Rossman

Baby Boomers in Europe use Social Media

We know baby boomers in the US are increasing using social media –FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, to name a few.  And the same trend is going on in Europe according to a new report from Forrester Research.

Forrester’s Blog says, “For example, more than one-third of European online consumers ages 43 to 63 already read social media such as blogs and forums on a regular basis, and around one-tenth are already uploading their own content — such as videos and music — onto the Web. Overall, 47% of Younger Boomers (online adults ages 43 to 52) now engage with social media on a regular basis, and 41% of Older Boomers (those ages 53 to 63) do. Boomers in the different European countries exhibit different behaviors, just as their younger compatriots do – for example, 69% of Dutch 43- to 52-year-olds (and 60% of 53- 63-year-olds) use social media on a regular basis, whilst only around a third of German Boomers do. ”  More stats on the Forrester  interactive marekting blog.

More evidence that social media is a tool that boomer and senior marketers should pay attention to.

Baby Boomer Restaurant Visits Up?

The demographics of the restaurant business are changing with the economy.  The kids are staying home: baby boomers are eating out more.  That’s according to a recent survey by the NPD Group.  NPD’s CREST®, which has tracked consumer purchasing and consumption patterns at commercial restaurants since 1975, shows that in 2008, restaurant visits by parties with kids declined by three percent, and restaurant visits by young adults, the most lucrative restaurant market, dropped from 254 per capita in 2007 to 233 in 2008.

One group that has increased their visits to restaurants over the past year is Baby Boomers, ages 50 to 64, according to NPD’s foodservice market research. In 2008, the number of per capita visits by adults, aged 50 to 64 was 209, up from 204 in 2007 and 201 in 2003.

“Restaurant operators need to understand that their customer profiles are changing and it’s just not about the economy,” says Riggs. “There are long-term behavioral shifts occurring and they need to have a greater understanding of who their customers are and what those customers are looking for in their restaurant experience.”

Both quick service and full service restaurants experienced traffic losses in 2008 with kids under 13 years old. Losses were particularly pronounced at supper, but occurred at other parts of the day as well.

Although kids’ absence from the restaurant scene is a recent phenomenon, young adults have been scaling back on restaurant visits for the past five years, with the decline from 2007 to 2008 being the steepest. According to the NPD report, Holding Onto“Generation Next”… The Coveted 18-24 Year-Old, young adults’ preferences are shifting. Health and food quality is top-of-mind with them. The study finds they feel restaurant food is often too high in calories, and there aren’t enough healthy/nutritious options. They also reference poor food quality, not freshly prepared, and no fresh ingredients when evaluating restaurant food.

 While other reports we’ve seen indicate boomers are eating out less, it is interesting to see what’s happening with younger generations and their attitudes.

Posted by Laura Rossman

 

Younger Boomers Helping Drive Twitter Growth

twitter-chart1Have we finally broken the cylce of early technology adoption always begins with the younger generation? The latest Comscore numbers show strong use of Twitter by younger boomers.

twitter-chart2

 

It is the 25-54 year old crowd that is actually driving the growth trend. More specifically, 45-54 year olds are 36 percent more likely than average to visit Twitter, making them the highest indexing age group,.  They are followed by 25-34 year olds, who are 30 percent more likely. 

And even the leading edge boomers seem to be more attracted to twitter than the younger crowd. 

Worldwide visitors to Twitter approached 10 million in February, up an impressive 700+% vs. year ago. The past two months alone have seen worldwide visitors climb more than 5 million visitors. U.S. traffic growth has been just as dramatic, with Twitter reaching 4 million visitors in February, up more than 1,000% from a year ago, according to ComScore.

It’s another reason for companies targeting boomers to take a look at adding Twitter to their marketing mix.

posted by Laura Rossman

Baby Boomer RV Dreams Keep Industry Optimistic

There are now about 8.2 million RV owners across the nation, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. Unlike the stereotype of older couples hitting the road after retirement, the average RV owner is middle-aged and married, traveling a total of 4,500 miles and 26 days annually.

The industry is betting on an expected increase in new buyers entering the market, as the baby boomer generation enters retirement.

“Baby boomers have had a really large impact on the industry already. They represent the largest group of owners in the industry,” Mark Polk, owner of RV Education 101, an education program that publishes how-to books and videos for newcomers to the RV lifestyle, told CNBC.

RV companies have been anticipating the influx in potential customers for awhile.

“All along, for the last four or five years, we’ve known the baby boomer population is coming. Every month there will be 350,000 potential customers in the baby boomers through 2030,” said Winnebago CEO Bob Olson.  “There is a potential opportunity for our customer base to grow. A portion of them will want to join the RV lifestyle. This bodes well for us in the future.”

posted by Laura Rossman

Aging at Home Gets Push from GE and Intel

Any doubt that technology that helps you age at home should be brushed aside with the annoucnement  that Intel and GE are joining forces on home health care. Clearly the aging of the baby boom population is getting the attention of big companies and big dollars.

GE and Intel are joining forces to develop devices that help your doctor monitor the health of elderly and chronically ill patients at home.  The companies are putting more than $250 million behind research and marketing.

This is a clear signal that more of us will be receiving long-term care at home in the future rather than in a facility.  That’s good news since that’s where most of us say we want to stay! If you attended the Boomer Summit you probably heard Laurie Orlov  from Age  in Place Technology Watch talk about the potential growth in this market.

GE has a system called Quiet Care that lets physicians monitor patients for potential emergencies or waning signs, including falls.  Intel has a product called Health Guide, a lap-top sized device that collects vital signs and issues patient reminders.

We are at an inflection point on health care,” Paul Otellini, Intel’s chief executive, said Thursday during a press conference announcing the alliance. “It’s a topic that affects everyone on Earth.”