Baby Boomers are the generation born between 1946 and 1964, following the Silent Generation and preceding Generation X. According to the US Census Bureau, 24 million Baby Boomers are now 65 and older and 33 million more will join them by 2023. This huge generation was caused by an explosion in birthrates after World War II because of the strong postwar economy.
Fertility trends in the 2017 Lancet report showed that women in every country in 1950 had an average of 4.7 children, however, in 2017, it fell to just 2.4. As a result, “By 2050, there will be more people aged 60 or over than adolescents and youth aged 10-24 years,” according to UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Therefore, Baby Boomers are a highly enticeable consumer group for marketers as they make up a substantial portion of the world’s population and have $2.6 trillion in buying power, as reported by Fona International.
As well as Millennials, Baby Boomers are also responsible for many trends as they transition from working life to the retirement phase. According to a study from Nielsen, “Baby Boomers account for nearly $230 billion in sales for consumer packaged goods products, representing 55% of total sales.” This generation is often at varying stages of their lives, which makes them a difficult consumer group to target, but with the majority of Baby Boomers occupying a home without children, they are an enticing consumer group, having more discretionary income to splurge on products for themselves.
Today, Baby Boomers are living longer due to improvements in healthcare and a growing understanding of health. They are also leading more active lifestyles; yet, the rates of chronic disease are noticeably higher. This is likely caused by the dietary shift to fast and convenient food that occurred in the 1950s, which made processed foods more readily available and convenient to consume, soaring obesity rates to the highest level in this generation. This is likely to be a large contributing factor in the rise of obesity-induced conditions, namely diabetes and heart-related conditions.
As Baby Boomers have become more conscious of health, this generation along with Millennials are now driving the clean label trend, seeking natural and recognisable ingredients in the products they buy. Clean label has become more than ingredient purity, it also alludes to increasing transparency in supply chains, as well as cleaner and minimal processing steps.
This generation is also fueling the demand for functionality as they aim to address their individual ailments, to maximise their health and longevity. As reported by Fona International, “72% of Baby Boomers are reading labels on food or beverage products to know that the product is healthy.” This shows the importance of ingredients to this health-conscious consumer group who now seek a whole host of benefits from the products they buy, from improved energy levels to better alertness, heart health, cognitive function and joint health to name a few.
Baby Boomers are primarily driven by two factors: personalised health and environmental impact. As they enter the retirement phase, they are re-evaluating existing brands they use, becoming more receptive to alternative brands and focusing their attention to product labels.
This generation are also more digitally connected than ever before and 53 percent of global consumers (aged 55-64) use a desktop or laptop computers every day to check prices or brand/product information before making a purchase, according to Global Data’s 2018 Consumer Survey. Despite being less brand loyal, value and quality are very much important to this generation. They also want to feel good about the products they buy and despite being a “savings-focused” generation, 52% of Baby Boomers aged 50-64 are willing to pay extra for sustainable brands according to Nielsen.
Altogether Baby Boomers are a generation that should not be forgotten and with their large disposable income, they are a prime target audience. Products should be tailored to their individual needs and appeal to the eco-conscious of consumers, to help them live-longer and live-better. A survey by Global Data shows, “30 percent of 55-64-year-old consumers in Europe say they are always influenced by how well the product/service is tailored to their needs and personality and 37 percent say it often influences their product choice, which shows the importance of personalisation.