Marketing to Baby Boomers - UK - February 2015
“Whilst many Baby Boomers enjoy financial stability, health is a major consideration for all in this generation. Brands could benefit from focusing on this aspect through their marketing, offering help, guidance and advice to Baby Boomers with existing conditions, or positioning products as helping to keep potential health issues at bay.”
Jack Duckett, Consumer Lifestyles Analyst
This report covers the following areas:
- Opportunity to help Baby Boomers lead healthier lives
- Scope to feature more Baby Boomers in marketing
- Encouraging Baby Boomers to trade up
Baby Boomers (ie adults aged 50-68 in 2014) are the second largest generation in the UK, accounting for nearly a quarter of the total population. It is widely considered that this generation have benefitted from growing up in Britain post-World War II, where economies have strengthened. This has put many of them in a financially stronger position than other generations, which should make Baby Boomers a key target for brands.
However, whilst there has been a drive to make older consumers feel more included in marketing in recent years, with retailers seeking to benefit from the higher level of disposable income possessed by many older consumers, there has been a tendency to group all adults over the age of 50 into one group. Instead, it needs to be recognised that the habits and attitudes of Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) vary from those of the older Swing Generation (born in or before 1945), and that a different approach may be necessary to harness interest from these consumers.
This report will look at how Baby Boomers find out about new products, examining how this changes depending on different retail segments. The report will also discuss Baby Boomer attitudes towards the food and drink, clothing/shoes, beauty and personal care and technology retail markets, and the possible marketing angles these give rise to. Finally, the report will examine some more general attitudes, particularly looking at how Baby Boomers feel they are represented in marketing.
The size and relative wealth of Baby Boomers renders the generation a key commercial target. However, with a significant proportion of Baby Boomers feeling excluded by advertising and an even higher proportion feeling stereotyped where they are included, it is clear that brands need to reassess how they approach Baby Boomers with their marketing.
Another challenge posed by the generation is their emphasis on getting the best deal when shopping. In order to encourage Baby Boomers to trade up and spend more, brands could now look to use marketing to highlight how more expensive products offer greater quality and longevity. In the food and drink market this could mean that brands look to highlight the health benefits that more expensive products carry, whilst in the clothing and footwear market brands could look to highlight durability in their campaigns.
A number of beauty and personal care brands have already featured a number of high profile Baby Boomer celebrities in their campaigns, but in order to keep this generation engaged with the market as they age it is important that brands move to make this more mainstream.
Finally, Baby Boomers are much more tech-savvy than the older Swing Generation and it is important that marketing in this industry avoids confusing the two generations, and stereotyping Baby Boomers as technologically illiterate. Technology brands seeking to appeal to Baby Boomers could highlight the functional benefits that upgrading technology brings.
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