Nielsen, in collaboration with BoomAgers, released a report this week entitled “Introducing Boomers: Marketing’s Most Valuable Generation.” Generational differences has become increasing important as of late, as it’s often associated with gaps in technology adoption and usage. This report claims these gaps are more myth than reality and are based on outdated axiomatic ideals dreamed up by Madison Avenue some 50 odd years ago.
Indeed, the authors say the Adult 18-49 target audience was first put on the advertising pedestal in the early 60s because of boomers, as they were reaching adulthood at this time and represented a “new generation” (Pepsi!) of consumers who were “media-loving, eternally optimistic [and] self-indulgent.” Not to mention vast – at 80 million strong this segment was larger than any in American history. Advertisers loved them.
But times have changed. The majority of boomers no longer fall within the A18-49 demo (the youngest are now 48). And marketers are more bewitched by millennials; media professionals even more so, given the breakneck speed of technological innovation in the past handful of years. While the fascination with the younger cohort is warranted, this report argues that it should not be done at the expense of those that preceded. Here are several reasons why:
- Boomers still encompass a huge segment of America (44%). In fact, Nielsen/BoomAgers say by 2017, 50% of the total US population will be 50 and older.
- Boomers make up 70% of the total US disposable income and 49% to total CPG sales.
- 40% of customers paying for wireless services are boomers.
- 41% of those purchasing Apple computers are boomers.
- 33% of all online users are boomers.
- 33% of all social media users are boomers.
- 33% of boomers are heavy internet users (20+ hours/week).
In fact, there is a large subset of boomers, called Techno Boomers, whose technology adoption does not vary too greatly from the average consumer, which is represented by the grey line in the below chart.
While it is true that technology adoption happens first in younger generations, it is boomer adoption that takes something mainstream. Just because they aren’t early adopters, doesn’t mean they’re out of the game.