Boomers are the largest demographic segment of the population today. The 78 million Boomers spend about 2 trillion annually, and due to shifting demographic patters, many marketers who have traditionally focused their efforts on 30- to 44-year-olds are turning their focus to the Boomer market. JWT BOOM, in partnership with BoomerEyes/C&R Research, has released the fourth annual Boomer Heartbeat – the annual trend monitor that explores Boomers and their life stages — today and as they evolve in the coming years.
The number of people aged 50-64 will increase by 8.1 million, while the number of 30-44 year olds will actually shrink to 2.7 million. This shift has broad implications for the economy, as well as individual businesses that need to accommodate this age wave.
A sizable proportion of Boomers is very new to the Empty Nest lifestyle, and so is experiencing a time of great change and new opportunities. While about one-third of Empty Nesters are sad that their children have left the home, the majority cite freedom, more time for themselves and the opportunity for closer relationships with their spouse as the benefits of Empty Nesting.
Like Gen Xers and Matures, Boomers are using the Internet and their computers for a wide variety of needs. At the top of the list is email, which is nearly universal. Online shopping appears to be the norm as well, with about 7 in 10 consumers shopping from the convenience of their home. As Boomers age and health-related issues become more common, nearly three-fourths are seeking health-related information online.
In addition, about half of all Boomers are playing games and downloading pictures. Downloading music and dating are far less common. And while 32% of Boomers are visiting online communities, blogging is far less common, with only one in ten Boomers having ever blogged.
Work plays a major role in the lives of most Boomers, as approximately two-thirds of them are still working. Among Boomers that are employed, 75% work full-time, 18% part-time and another 5% are working in a more limited capacity. Although most are still working full-time, as a group they are transitioning into the next phase of their lives. As a result, a new category of work is emerging for Boomers in their late 50s and beyond – working while in retirement. While last year Boomers were generally more pessimistic about their debt and retirement savings, this year’s study indicates that their outlook has improved, with those perceiving that their retirement savings is above average having increased from 13% to 18%.