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 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


Baby Boomer Women Growing Networks Online and Offline

For women 50 plus, social networks are continuing to expand – not contract .Defying the stereotypes of increasing marginalization as they age, not only are their networks growing, they are growing online. That’s the conclusion of a new white paper released by  


The study found:

  • The personal networks of women 50+ are large and growing.
  • They are in personal contact with at least 46 people each month.
  • 65% share information online with others in their network.
  • They are comfortable relying on referrals from strangers online if the source is knowledgeable/experienced.  They rely on references on websites like (70%), Ebay (54%) and Tripadvisor (27%).


It also found that Vibrant Women are open to trying new brands and experiences and motivated by a variety of psycho-social factors including:

  • Financial status –even with the recession, Vibrant Women continue to have discretionary income.
  • Life stage transitions 9such as last chilled leaving home, starting a business, losing a parent or spouse)
  • Physical changes (menopause, aging, surviving breast cancer)
  • New family roles (grandparent, caregiver)
  • Social Awareness (travel, volunteer work) 

The study is base on a survey of 1,000 boomer women with household incomes greater than $75,000.


Baby Boomer Word for 2009 – Recalibration

Recalibration— that’s the theme for consumers in 2009 as consumers reset the scales after a decade of dualities, highs and lows, according to Steve French, Managing Partner, Natural Marketing Institute (NMI).

Consumers are designing the “Middle Way” defined as a lifestyle approach grounded in comfort, safety, sustainability and moderation.  and boomers are leading the charge!

For marketers, it is important to understand how boomer paradigms are shifting, said French at the opening session of the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit.  Here’s how attitudes are shifting:

From consumption to sustainability

From possessions to purpose

From retirement to employment

From trading up to trading off

From perceived value to real value

The findings were based upon research conducted in January and are par of NMI’s Healthy Aging Boomer Database.(

“Boomers are being forced to look in the mirror and they want to change the reflection that is looking back,” French said. “they are trading off or even down:  successful “down market” products will make benefits tangible and relevant.”

Baby Boomers Cutting Back and Reassessing Priorities Just Like Everyone Else

How are boomers feeling these days?   Newly released research says just like everyone else boomers are cutting back, re-assessing priorities and taking a new outlook at life.

Yesterday (25%)— Life was better in the  1950’s.  Use messages of reassurance and decision reinforcement; comfort and validation in “the new normal” and acknowledgement.Just like everyone else boomers are cutting back, re-assessing priorities and taking a new outlook at life.

Today (30%) – We live in exciting times. Use messages that talk about living the good life, embrace the moment, celebration of self, and you deserve this.

Tomorrow (45%)– tomorrow will be better than today. Use message of hopefulness and optimism, a new day is coming, connection, religious themes and tie-ins, buy local and aspiring to a “stable future” rather than “retiring rich.”

Steve French,  from the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), will present NEW research fielded in January at the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit ( on March 19 in Las Vegas.  He’ll be looking at how boomer paradigms are shifting with the new economy. The research looks across products and industries. Attendees will get a special summary report of the research.

The Focalyst  research was conducted in Sept. 2008. and is being repeated in March and September, 2009.

Baby Boomers Fastest Growing Group for Text Messaging


The fastest growing demographic for texters (people who text message) is 45-64. More evidence that baby boomers are rapidly adopting new technologies.

“Text messaging is no longer just a young person’s activity. The average age of a texter is 38 years old – up from 19 years old in 2003. The fastest growing demo is 45-64,” says Jeff Hasen, CMO at HipCricket.  “ Part of the reason is that kids and grandkids don’t often use phones for talking – if you want to communicate with Johnny or Sue, you need to speak their language. In 2008, for the first time, the number of texts sent in the U.S. exceeded the number of calls.”

Jeff will be speaking at the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit ( on March 19 in Las Vegas on a panel about text messaging fits into an integrated marketing campaign.

 Women are active text users.  Here are the stats for women 45-54 (comScore, 12/08)


  • 51% sent a text in last month
  • 23% sent a text almost daily
  • 39% took a photo
  • 5.7% accessed weather info
  • 4.7% accessed news
  • 11.8% received info on their phone about a product, service or brand

Hear more from Jeff about mobile marketing and boomers at the What’s Next Boomers Summit (

Businesses Seeking Boomers Should Add Social Media to Marketing Mix

 More businesses are turning to the Internet to find and engage with baby boomer customers.  Boomers are using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and social networking sites in increasing numbers.  Business leaders will gather at the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit ( on March 19 to find out how to effectively reach baby boomers online.


“Boomers are a natural fit for social networks and technologies. They have the time, the life experience, and—more and more these days—the need for social tools to help them accomplish their own goals.” said Matthew Lees, Vice President, Analyst, Patricia Seybold Group.


“The fact that they’ve been relatively slow to embrace social media underscores more of an opportunity than any innate inability or aversion. But they don’t want to be marketed to. Those organizations that can use social media to engage with, learn from, and support boomers will find especially receptive partners and, consequently, greater business success than those who see social media simply as another marketing channel.”.” Lees added.  Lees will present information at the Summit about boomers online and insight on how to effectively reach them.


Baby boomers are also actively engaged in user generated content such as ratings and reviews. “While it’s true that Millenials (the 13-24 generation) share content at double the rate of baby boomers (56%), 31% of Baby Boomers share their own user generated content. This could be in the form of reviews, blog posts, comments, discussion forums, etc.” noted Sam Decker, Chief Marketing Officer of Bazzaarvoice.  Decker will be at the Boomer Summit speaking about boomers and user generated content.

David Weigelt, co-author of Dot Boom, Marketing to Baby Boomers Online through Meaningful Online Engagement will speak about how to connect with boomers online.  The book unites a developmental marketing approach and a new definition of online engagement specific to baby boomer consumers — a combination that provides an actionable framework for connecting with these consumers online.


In the current economy, more businesses are seeking effective ways to reach the 58 million baby boomers online.  The What’s Next Boomer Business Summit ( will include: New research on the new attitudes of baby boomers in this economy; how to market successfully to baby boomers online; search engine and key word strategies that work; how to create online boomer communities that build trust and sales; and, new ways to reach the 44 million caregivers.  


Other speakers include:

Entrepreneurship and social media: Guy Kawasaki, Author, founder Alltop


Networking -Ellen Levy, Vice President Corporate Development & Strategy, LinkedIn


Demographics – Jody Holtzman, Senior V.P., Research & Strategic Analysis, AARP


Money -Sandra Timmermann, Executive Director, MetLife Mature Market Institute


Caregiving – Andy Cohen, Founder & CEO,


Online communities – Elisa Camahort Page, Founder & COO, BlogHer


Boomer women online – Carol Orsborn, PhD, Senior Strategist,


Boomer volunteers – Sarah Christian, Director, Strategic Partnerships, VolunteerMatch


Brain fitness – Jeff Zimman, Co-founder & Chairman, Posit Science


Search engine strategies – Bill Leake, CEO, Apogee Search


Leading edge boomers – Jennifer Keating Magee, CEO, Keating Magee


New research– Steve French, Managing Partner, Natural Marketing Institute


Program, speaker and registration information is available at    Registration is just $325 until March 12.  The Summit is held in conjunction with the Aging in America Conference of the American Society on Aging and the National Council on Aging, March 15-19, 2009..


Attendees include brand managers, corporate strategists, entrepreneurs, non-profit executives, marketing agency executives and publishers responsible for growing their boomer business.


Sponsors include: AARP, Microsoft, Council on Aging Silicon Valley, Wells Fargo, Alltop,, EquityKey, HeartMath, Immersion Active, Keating Magee, LiveWorld, MetLife Mature Market Institute, Myine Electronics, Posit Science, The Stress Institute, Verizon,, VolunteeerMatch, Retirement Living TV, ReadHowYouWant, HipCricket, Life Stages Financial, and Moving Mavins.  Southwest Airlines is the official airline sponsor of the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit.

Watch Out Social Networking: The Baby Boomers are Coming


The 78 million baby boomer generation promises to fuel the growth of social networking.  Marketers take note and you better start figuring out how this generation will use social media.

The number of Internet users visiting social networks at least once per month increased an estimated 11% in 2008, to 79.5 million, and will rise another 11% in 2009, to 88.1 million. Between 2008 and 2013, the number of social network users in the US will increase by an estimated 44.2%, to nearly 115 million, according to a new report by eMarketer.

With penetration already high among teens and young adults, there is little room for further growth among those demographics. Growth will come from members of Generation X and baby boomers, but there will also be increased activity in the tween market. User engagement has yet to hit a plateau. In fact, people who join social networks in 2009 and beyond may become frequent users more rapidly than those who first joined a year or two ago.

Key social networking trends to watch in 2009 include the expanding user demographics and continued rise in engagement, the impact of mobile social networking and Twitter, and whether the substantial growth of Facebook in the second half of 2008 can continue, the report said.

How baby boomers are using social networking will be a key theme at the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit on March 19 at Bally’s in Las Vegas (  Speakers will cover what caregivers are doing online (, women over 50 ( and grandparents (  User generated content and boomer communities online will be covered by speakers from Bazaarvoice, VolunteerMatch, LiveWorld and BlogHer.  Keynote speaker is Guy Kawasaki who will talk about the importance of using new marketing tools to build your business. The meeting covers business and marketing strategies to reach the 78 million baby boomers.  for the full agenda and registration information.