According to Mark Beasley, chairman of the Mature Marketing Association and director of RHC Advantage there are over 23 million people aged over 50 in the UK and this number is constantly going up as the population ages – over the next 20 years the number of seniors* is expected to increase by 50%, which means there a huge potential for business in this market. And the scenario is similar in the US (see Fig. 1)
(Fig 1. Source: Becca James, Internet Marketing Inc., 2016)
However, despite Baby Boomers spending the most money across every product category out of any other generation in the US, they are only targeted by 5-10% of marketers who often fall back on clichés in doing so (Venture Capital Review, 2013, Issue 29). Beasley urges businesses to recognise that this group is “too large to be ignored, too complex to be stereotyped and too diverse to be second-guessed”.
More interesting is the fact that both in the UK and the US over 2/3 of seniors use the internet and Baby Boomers in particular check their online accounts daily. Ironically, the older generation loves new devices as much as millennials, yet they’re overlooked by marketers most of the time.
Research shows that in the UK alone, more than half of people aged 70 as well as 68% of 50-59 year-olds are on Facebook (Marketing Week 2014, ‘Targeting the Baby Boomers’). While this generation is less likely to be addicted to their smartphones, they tend to use the web in order to inform themselves – so the best way to engage with them is through in-depth reviews and blogs rather than video content.
The elderly thus seem to be healthier and wealthier than we tend to think so chasing this segment should become more of a priority for businesses.
*Seniors are considered to be 65+ years-old, while Baby Boomers are individuals born between 1946-1964.