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Marketing to Boomers - Canada - August 2016

"At age 51-70, Boomers are currently the largest generation in the Canadian population and growing. There is a certain level of comfort with getting older as older Boomers find ways to deal with the symptoms of aging head on. As a segment, they feel disconnected and are misjudged for being inactive online. Moving into retirement, the majority of Boomers seek stability in their lifestyles."

- Carol Wong-Li Senior Analyst, Lifestyles and Leisure

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Boomers feel disconnected from other generations
  • Boomers are more tech savvy than they get credit for
  • Younger Boomers may need help preparing for the future

Typically thought of as a generation that is outdated and irrelevant, Canadian Boomers are anything but. While aging brings with it unique needs in terms of healthcare, Boomers are affluent and remain a key – and active – consumer group. Companies that shy away from using technology or e-commerce platforms as avenues to connect with this segment will alienate a segment that already feels misunderstood. Most importantly, the gap between Boomers and Millennials is not so wide, particularly as both generations place an emphasis on experiences over ‘things’.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Executive Summary

      • The issues
        • Boomers feel disconnected from other generations
          • Figure 1: How Boomers see themselves, June 2016
        • Boomers are more tech savvy than they get credit for
          • Figure 2: Use of online services, June 2016
        • Younger Boomers may need help preparing for the future
          • Figure 3: Attitudes towards retirement preparation, June 2016
        • Opportunities
          • Boosting brain power of Boomers
            • Figure 4: Attitudes towards the signs of aging, by gender, June 2016
          • Like Millennials, Boomers value experiences over things
            • Boomers and Millennials – Not as different as they appear
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • Boomers are the largest generation of the Canadian population
                  • Boomers are staying in the workforce longer
                    • Debt is a greater burden for today’s Boomers than ever before
                    • Market Factors

                      • Boomers make up one quarter of the population
                        • Figure 5: Canadian population, by generation share, 2015
                      • The Boomer population is on the rise
                        • Figure 6: Population aged 0 to 14 years and 65 years and older, as of July 1, 1995 to 2035*
                      • Health considerations of an aging population
                        • Weight management is a priority
                          • Figure 7: Body mass index, self-reported rate of being overweight or obese among Canadian adults, 2010-14
                        • Growth of elderly population will put greater strain on the healthcare system
                          • Growth of Boomer population will buoy industries
                            • Boomers currently make up nearly a third of the workforce
                              • Figure 8: Canada’s labour force survey estimates, by generation, 2015
                            • Boomers are retiring with more debt
                              • Economic factors
                                • Debt and Boomers
                                • Key Trends – What You Need to Know

                                  • Brands increasing exposure of Boomers
                                    • Questioning the need to inflate the artificial generation gap
                                      • Retirement stage may be less rosy
                                        • Boomers could use more tech support
                                        • What’s Working?

                                          • Marketers featuring Boomers
                                            • Engaging one cup at a time – Tim Hortons
                                              • Figure 9: Tim Hortons True Stores TV Commercial, “Dad’s Place”, 2016
                                            • Fashion brands showcasing Boomer women
                                              • Addressing physical effects of aging with real people – Depend Fit-Flex Underwear
                                                • Figure 10: Depend Real Stories TV Commercial, “How Kimberly got Back Out There”, 2016
                                                • Figure 11: Depend Real Stories TV Commercial, “How Sloan became Dad of the Year Again”, 2016
                                            • What’s Struggling?

                                              • Marketing to Millennials is creating a generation gap
                                                • There are common interests
                                                  • A new take on marketing to Boomers
                                                    • Boomers are carrying greater debt load into retirement
                                                    • What’s Next?

                                                      • Technology to support seniors
                                                        • Fighting the mental signs of aging with virtual reality
                                                          • Video conferencing keeps hospitals free and seniors at home
                                                            • Keeping an eye on senior health with the IoT (Internet of Things)
                                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                              • Boomers feel misunderstood by other generations
                                                                • There is comfort with aging, though help would be welcome
                                                                  • Three quarters use search engines as a pre-purchase touchpoint
                                                                    • Boomers are more tech savvy than they likely get credit for
                                                                      • Looking ahead, not many want to change their lifestyle
                                                                      • How Boomers Perceive Themselves and Their Generation

                                                                        • Boomers value responsibility
                                                                          • Figure 12: How Boomers see themselves, June 2016
                                                                        • Valued characteristics echo societal norms
                                                                          • Figure 13: How Boomers see themselves, by gender, June 2016
                                                                        • Marketing efforts should appeal to these characteristics
                                                                          • Figure 14: P&G TV Commercial, “Thank you, Mom”, 2016
                                                                          • Figure 15: Gillette TV Commercial, “This Father’s day, go ask Dad”, 2016
                                                                        • There is a sense of comradery with other Boomers
                                                                          • Women feel aligned, less so for younger Boomer men
                                                                            • Figure 16: How Boomers see other Boomers, by gender, June 2016
                                                                          • Marketing efforts need to balance togetherness and individuality
                                                                            • Boomers feel misunderstood
                                                                              • Not getting credit for the positives
                                                                                • Figure 17: The perception of Boomers, June 2016
                                                                              • Boomer men are most likely to feel disconnected
                                                                                  • Figure 18: Correspondence analysis – Boomer perceptions, June 2016
                                                                              • Boomers on Aging

                                                                                • Older Boomers are more comfortable with aging
                                                                                  • Figure 19: Attitude towards getting older, June 2016
                                                                                • Younger Boomers need help getting better prepared
                                                                                  • Boomer women are actively addressing the signs of aging
                                                                                    • Figure 20: Attitudes towards the signs of aging, by gender, June 2016
                                                                                  • Using technology to address mental aging for Boomer women
                                                                                  • Pre-purchase Touchpoints

                                                                                    • Three quarters are turning to search engines
                                                                                      • Figure 21: Sources of information, June 2016
                                                                                    • Boomers seek pricing and product information online
                                                                                      • Figure 22: Internet use for research, June 2016
                                                                                    • Boomer behaviour reflects that of younger generations
                                                                                      • Women’s quest for deals leads them to use print resources
                                                                                        • Attention please! Men aged 51-60 continue to be early adopters
                                                                                          • Figure 23: Internet use for research, Younger Boomer men vs overall population, June 2016
                                                                                      • Boomers on Technology

                                                                                        • Boomers are active online
                                                                                          • Figure 24: Use of online services, June 2016
                                                                                        • Men aged 51-60 are ahead of the average Canadian on managing finances and buying electronics online
                                                                                          • Opportunities abound for online retailers of clothing
                                                                                            • Boomers are polarized on the impact of technology
                                                                                              • Figure 25: Attitude towards getting technology, by age, June 2016
                                                                                            • Boomers are essentially on par in using alternative services
                                                                                              • Figure 26: Use of alternative services, June 2016
                                                                                            • The influence of having children at home
                                                                                              • Catering to seniors may yield gains
                                                                                                • Onboarding is an opportunity
                                                                                                • Looking Forward – Retirement

                                                                                                  • Boomers feel they are on track for retirement
                                                                                                    • Figure 27: Attitudes towards retirement preparation, June 2016
                                                                                                  • A work in progress for younger Boomers
                                                                                                    • Looking ahead, most Younger Boomers strive for stability in lifestyle
                                                                                                      • Figure 28: Attitudes towards retirement living, Boomers aged 51-60, June 2016
                                                                                                    • Experiences before things resonates with Boomers too
                                                                                                    • Canadian vs American Boomers

                                                                                                      • Canadian media need to do more to connect with Boomers
                                                                                                        • Canadian Boomers more likely to feel disconnected
                                                                                                          • Figure 29: How Boomers see themselves, Canadian Boomers vs US Boomers, June 2016
                                                                                                          • Figure 30: How Boomers feel they are seen by others, Canadian Boomers vs US Boomers, June 2016
                                                                                                        • Use of technology may be a factor
                                                                                                          • Figure 31: Use of online services, Canadian Boomers vs US Boomers, June 2016
                                                                                                        • Canadian companies need to provide more options and resources
                                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                          • Data sources
                                                                                                            • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                              • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                                • Correspondence methodology
                                                                                                                  • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                    • Abbreviations

                                                                                                                    Companies Covered

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                                                                                                                    Marketing to Boomers - Canada - August 2016

                                                                                                                    £2,684.63 (Excl.Tax)