Are companies missing a trick by ignoring baby boomers?
We unconsciously assume that social media is something for the young to enjoy, particularly sites like TikTok and Instagram. Certainly not a route into the purses and wallets of ‘baby boomers’, i.e. those born between 1946 and 1964 who would be respectively 57 and 75 today.
With plenty of disposable income and a tendency to remain loyal to brands that treat them well, there’s profit to be made from this older age group; however, social media appears not to be somewhere they can be found—at least, according to many marketers and advertisers.
Considering that around a fifth of the nation’s population is made up of boomers, it’s not wise to ignore them. According to Ana Costa of The Drum Network, new start-ups are realising the strength of boomers’ buying power, enough to shift their marketing focus towards them. That bigger brands have yet to get this memo is to their detriment.
With more time to spare, perhaps, than younger generations, boomers spend longer on brands’ pages and scrolling through their social media feed than people half their age. Over the last decade, many day-to-day services have shifted online—the older generation have had to move with the times and become more computer literate and/or adept with their smartphones. Says Charlotte Jenkins on The UK Domain, ‘They spend 27 hours a week online which is just two hours fewer than those aged 16 to 34. 92% of baby boomers prefer to shop online rather than buying products in-store.’
The image of a hapless OAP unable to differentiate one end of their iPhone from another is largely a myth. Charlotte says, ‘1 in 4 boomers use their mobiles to shop. More—around 31%—prefer to make purchases on their desktops and laptops.’ Boomers should be factored into brands’ messages across social media if they have a product or service this age group would use or desire.
Luxury brands would certainly be on the radar of boomers, who have the time, expectations and spare cash to afford high quality items and experiences. Ana Costa states that some boomers have become influencers to their age group and beyond, particularly within the fashion scene and by people keen to exert their own sense of style. Take Günther Krabbenhöft, an influencer described as a ‘dapper gentleman’, who’s become something of a celebrity at 104 years old. He’s often seen with his friend, 70 year old Britt Kanja; the two of them turn heads wherever they go.
Understanding the outlook of boomers will help marketing agencies target their products and services towards them. They have buckets of experience, but they still want to eke out as much joy and adventure out of life as they can. They don’t fall for false advertising or the shallowness of beauty like the younger generation; instead, they wish to celebrate their age rather than feel ashamed of it. They want to still be of value to society and the last thing they want to feel is that they’ve been written off. When marketing to them, ensure your messages are accessible, but don’t see this as an extra hassle, just an additional route to reach this audience.
The buying power of boomers is significant. However, stereotypes and judgments of their generation sees companies ignore them when marketing their products.
Given the time, wealth and reach they represent, brands are certainly missing a trick should this be the case.
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