Who are the Baby Boomers?
The Baby Boomers generation is generally classified by the children born after World War II; specifically anyone born between 1946 and 1964. The veterans, as we know them today came back from war, settled down, got married and had children. This was a great time in America as their economy was improving vastly as opposed to other nations of the world. It was a time of affluence, particularly in the Western side of the world. The “boom” describes the greatly increasing birth rate at these times. As seen in the following diagram, birth rates were higher than ever during 1946 and 1964, with a very close second in the late 1980’s and very early 1990’s.
Currently, there are 78 million baby boomers in America, accounting for 40% of the adult population. This gives motivation to marketers to want to sell to this age segment. Persons 45 and older are responsible for 55% of the total consumer spending in the U.S. Marketers are striving to segment the market in such a way, that they will be able to target this age group and market directly to them. There is a vast difference in the ages of Baby Boomers. 1946 to 1964 accounts for a maximum age difference of 18 years. It is important to notice that those who are the older boomers, also called the ‘Golden Boomers’ would have different needs to be satisfied that those that are younger. This age segment can then be further segmented into the golden boomers who, today would be between the ages of 65 and 56, and the younger baby boomers being 55 and 47. Sub-Segmented Baby Boomers
The maturing market segment as classified by Moschis, Lee, Mathur, & Strautman, in their book “The Maturing Marketplace; Buying Habits of Baby Boomers and Their Parents”, can be broken down into four main categories. Firstly, there are the Healthy Indulgers (18%) who are the more affluent and focus more on enjoying life than their careers. They tend to engage in purchasing activities that revolve around their own independence. Secondly are the Healthy Hermits (36%) who have experienced some attitude-changing occurrence in life such as the death of a spouse, and are in turn socially withdrawn. Marketing strategies that focus on conformity work well amongst this segment as they try not to stand out. The following two categories are less affluent than the previously mentioned segments. They are also the segments that look forward to their own house or appartment, as opposed to the previous that intend to move into a retirement home or a nursing home.The third group are the Ailing outgoers. These represent 29 % of the baby boomers. These are people who have accepted their “old age” but are still willing to get the most out of life and tend to be influenced by money-saying incentives. Lastly are Frail Recluses (17%) who are very similar to the ailing outgoers, however they have accepted spirituality into their lives and keep high spirits through their strengthened faiths. Information that is very interesting to the marketer is that not all individuals stay in one group in their life time. A healthy hermit might be influenced to join a church and increase their knwoledge of faith, thus leading to a switch to be more likfe frail recluses. Also, these segments don’t have set boundaries, and persons are more likely to be classifed by one of those four sub-sections by leading, defining characteristics, rather than completely defined through all the expected qualities. The experiences that each person goes through is what really puts them in any particular group. The Baby- Boomer Misconception
A problem that many companies face is their set perception of older generations. There is a stigma that they don’t really have an opinion on what they buy and they will buy the products anyway. This is a sure way to failure when having goods produced for this age segment. Another mistake commonly made by firms is the misconception that “Baby Boomers have never grown up.” They...