4 Ways Boomers Will Choose Brands in the 'Age of Aging'
Soon more than half of U.S. adults will be over 50 — and that’s a force marketers need to address
By Peter Hubbell
Originally Posted On July 19, 2013
Jan. 1, 2014, will mark the beginning of a new year and
the dawning of a new era: the “Age of Aging
.” It’s the year when the last of the nearly 80 million boomers will turn 50.
America at 50/50
Four years later, America will be 50-50 agewise. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that by 2018, half of the U.S. adult population will be over 50. At that point, boomers will control 70 percent of all disposable income.
The aging of America is a powerful, irreversible force. It will drive changes in virtually every aspect of our world, from the way we live and work to the things we buy and value to the very concept of age
itself. And just as boomers have shaped our cultural and economic landscape
since they were born, there’s every reason to believe they’ll continue doing so in the later years of their lives.
The search for well-being
Physical, emotional and spiritual health will be central to our happiness and productivity.
Boomers are taking better care of themselves
, living longer
and staying more active
than any generation in history. They are extending their lives and enhancing their lifestyles. However, millions of boomers will still need to confront the physical consequences of getting older
Marketers are preparing for this with a dizzying array of “anti-aging
” products, but the key to their success is not product alone. The companies will also need to understand the psychology
While boomers know they’re getting old, they don’t want to be told
they’re old. They’re seeking empathy, understanding and a decidedly positive portrayal of their lives. Brands need to understand them and respond with real, authentic communication.
A quest for a simpler life
The complexity of life has increased exponentially. Paradoxically, as we enter the “Age of Aging,” the reverse is likely to be true.
Two converging dynamics explain why: Technology is simplifying
our lives at the same time that aging boomers are seeking streamlined lifestyles. The 50+ crowd is simplifying their lives because they want to — and because they can
As boomers are confronted with imposing modern realities, they will compensate by choosing to experience them on their own terms.
Whether it’s the latest smartphone
, operating system, photo-sharing service, blog, social platform, e-book or cloud-based-whatever, boomers will decide to use the tool that best accommodates and respects their need for plug-and-play simplicity.
In pursuit of a simpler life, boomers will eschew the multitasking
that Millennials crave. For boomers, simplicity equates to quality of life.
A pursuit of lifelong growth
Boomers are not getting
older, they’re growing
older. This generation is defying the unrelenting progress of aging with a fierce determination to continue learning and advancing.
They see this time as the afternoon of their lives, not the night, and feel there’s still much they want to accomplish. Boomers are starting, not stopping.
This is a positive, purposeful generation looking to enrich themselves internally. According to a recent article in Time magazine, boomers are “The Holy Enrollers.” They’re the fastest growing age group at U.S. divinity schools
, accounting for 20 percent of all students.
For brands and their marketers, “growth” is a growth business. Boomers love to discover new things
and they’ll pay a premium for products and services that can help sustain their physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth.
A renaissance at home
With boomers retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day, a trend that will continue unabated for the next 17 years, the “me-centric” generation is about to become the “home-centric” generation.
Look for an uptick in home repair
and renovation, as well as a change in eating habits
. Lunch? See ya later, brown bag.
With more free time on their hands, boomers will dramatically increase their consumption of media and entertainment. The idea of a “screened porch” will come to have a whole new meaning – it’ll be the place where retirees will sit outside to watch movies and TVs on their tablets, phones and computers.
The Age of Aging is here and marketers who choose to ignore its potential do so at their own peril.