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US Marketing to Baby Boomers market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Marketing to Baby Boomers market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Definition

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

  • Baby Boomers: the generation born between 1946 and 1964. In 2016, they are between the ages of 52 and 70

This Report is the last in a series of four that focus on marketing to the key generations. Findings in this Report can be supplemented by analysis presented in Mintel’s Marketing to the iGeneration – US, April 2016, Marketing to Millennials – US, May 2016, and Marketing to Generation X – US, June 2016.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Dana Macke, a leading analyst in the Lifestyle & Leisure sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Baby Boomers are aged 52-70 and are making the transition from parents to grandparents and from full-time employment to full-time retirement. Although Baby Boomers have entered the second half of their lives, they don’t necessarily feel “old” and want to continue to have exciting, active, and fulfilling lives. Dana Macke
Associate Director - Lifestyles & Leisure

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Who are Baby Boomers?
          • Figure 1: Births in US (millions), Mintel generational cutoffs, 1910-2009
          • Figure 2: Share of US population by generation, 2016 
        • Why are Boomers an important target audience?
          • The issues
            • Baby Boomers behind on retirement saving
              • Figure 3: Attitudes toward the future, by generation, February 2016
            • Older generations feel underrepresented in advertising
              • Figure 4: Attitudes toward advertising, index to all, February 2016
            • Baby Boomers demonstrate a relatively conservative outlook
              • Figure 5: Views on society – All issues, by generation, February 2016
            • The opportunities
              • All generations shopping online
                • Figure 6: Willingness to purchase online, February 2016
              • Free shipping and product reviews are impactful
                • Figure 7: Attitudes toward shopping, index to all, February 2016
              • Alternative services can provide value for Boomers
                • Figure 8: Baby Boomer behaviors, February 2016
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomer generation
                  • Baby Boomers are likely to have married, but many now live alone
                    • Boomers paved the way for educated women
                      • Some working, some retired, and others somewhere in between
                      • The Baby Boomer Generation by the Numbers

                        • Baby Boomers surpassed by Millennials in population share
                          • Figure 9: Share of US population by generation, 2016 
                        • Racial diversity was impactful for Baby Boomers
                          • Figure 10: Generations, by race and Hispanic origin, 2016
                        • Marriage was the expectation for Boomers
                          • Figure 11: Marital status, by age, 2015
                          • Figure 12: Median age at first marriage, by gender, 1940-2015
                        • Aging consumers face the prospect of living alone
                          • Figure 13: Single-person households as a percentage of total households by generation, 2015
                        • Baby Boomer women the least likely group to hold college degrees
                          • Figure 14: Level of education completed, by generation, March 2016
                          • Figure 15: Percentage of Americans who hold bachelor’s degrees, by age and gender, March 2016
                        • Baby Boomers split between full-time work and full-time retirement
                          • Figure 16: Baby Boomer employment status, February 2016
                      • Key Trends – What You Need to Know

                        • Advertisers aim for true-to-life portrayals
                          • Boomers flock to Facebook
                            • Family vacations get funded by grandparents
                              • As they age, Americans focus on financial and physical health
                                • Boomers want to actively exercise the mind
                                • What’s Working

                                  • Advertisers hit on Baby Boomer values of home, health, family
                                    • Figure 17: “Reflection of the Real You” – Wayfair Commercial, March 2016
                                    • Figure 18: KNOW You’re Prepared for the Unexpected, March 2015
                                    • Figure 19: 2016 Subaru Outback | Subaru Commercial | Memory Lane, February 2016
                                    • Figure 20: Wedding | Made to Move | Osteo bi-Flex, January 2016
                                  • Reframing “pampering” as “wellness”
                                    • Facebook recognizes growth by attracting Boomers
                                      • AARP fights “youth obsessed” ad culture
                                        • Less-affluent Millennials lean on supportive Boomer grandparents
                                          • Figure 21: Vacation companions, November 2015
                                      • What’s Not Working

                                        • Opportunities exist for easy, affordable, tech support
                                          • Boomers still working toward retirement savings goals
                                            • Maintaining a healthy weight becomes a challenge with age
                                              • Figure 22: Percent of people aged 20 or older who are overweight or obese, 2001-02 to 2013-15
                                          • What’s Next

                                            • Low-impact fitness meets the needs of an active, aging population
                                              • Employees take over when Boomers sell their businesses
                                                • Baby Boomers’ anti-aging focus is the brain
                                                  • Boomers plan “bucket list” travel
                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                    • Baby Boomers self-identify as “responsible” and “realistic”
                                                      • Boomers aren’t an entirely conservative cohort
                                                        • Retirement saving is a continued challenge
                                                          • Boomers mind their aging brain
                                                            • Boomers embrace, and try to understand, new tech
                                                              • One in four Boomers want to follow the sun
                                                                • Online shopping is the norm for all generations
                                                                  • Advertisers have work to do in understanding the Boomer target
                                                                  • How Baby Boomers Perceive Themselves and Their Generation

                                                                      • Baby Boomers value “responsibility” above all else
                                                                        • Figure 23: Baby Boomers’ perceptions of themselves, February 2016
                                                                      • Boomers’ perceptions of others align with self-perceptions
                                                                        • Figure 24: How Baby Boomers perceive themselves and others in their generation, select attributes, February 2016
                                                                        • Figure 25: How Baby Boomers think others perceive their generation, February 2016
                                                                      • Methodology
                                                                        • Figure 26: Baby Boomers’ perceptions of themselves, their generation, and how they think others perceive their generation – Correspondence analysis, February 2016
                                                                        • Figure 27: Baby Boomers’ generational perceptions, February 2016
                                                                      • A wider gap between Boomer men and women
                                                                        • Figure 28: Baby Boomers’ self-perceptions, by gender, February 2016
                                                                      • Black Americans share characteristics across generational groups
                                                                        • Figure 29: Baby Boomers’ self-perceptions, by race, February 2016
                                                                    • How Baby Boomers View Society

                                                                        • Baby Boomers are conservative – but not entirely
                                                                          • Figure 30: Views on society – all issues, by generation, February 2016
                                                                        • Boomers the least likely to support non-traditional family dynamics
                                                                          • Figure 31: Baby Boomers’ views on society – Family composition, February 2016
                                                                      • Attitudes toward the Future

                                                                          • Only half of Baby Boomers are on track with retirement saving
                                                                            • Figure 32: Attitudes toward the future, by generation, February 2016
                                                                          • Baby Boomers focus on keeping the mind young
                                                                            • Figure 33: Attitudes toward aging, by generation, February 2016
                                                                          • Boomers only slightly behind Gen X in tech understanding
                                                                            • Figure 34: Attitudes toward technology, Baby Boomers and Generation X, February 2016
                                                                        • Perceptions of Retirement Communities

                                                                            • A quarter of Boomers plan to relocate to a warmer climate
                                                                              • Figure 35: Attitudes toward moving in retirement, by key demographics, February 2016
                                                                            • Warm climate and mobility top the list for retirement preferences
                                                                              • Future residents prioritize wellness features of retirement communities
                                                                                • Figure 36: Perceptions of retirement communities, February 2016
                                                                              • Women have high hopes and expectations
                                                                                • Figure 37: Attitudes toward retirement communities, by gender, February 2016
                                                                              • Income influences preference on few community amenities
                                                                                • Figure 38: Attitudes toward retirement communities, by household income groups, February 2016
                                                                              • Retirement preferences reflect current lifestyles
                                                                                • Figure 39: Attitudes toward retirement communities, by area, February 2016
                                                                            • Baby Boomer Behaviors

                                                                                • Alternative services have yet to reach Boomers
                                                                                  • Figure 40: Baby Boomer behaviors, index to all, February 2016
                                                                                • Image trend may still become popular with the Boomer crowd
                                                                                  • Figure 41: Behaviors – Communicating through imagery, by generation, February 2016
                                                                                  • Figure 42: Mobile device ownership, by generation, February 2016
                                                                                • Men may be more likely to handle finances
                                                                                  • Figure 43: Baby Boomer behaviors, by gender, February 2016
                                                                                • Digital disconnection is a consideration for all generations
                                                                                  • Figure 44: Attitudes toward personal connections, index to all, February 2016
                                                                              • Online Purchases

                                                                                  • Baby Boomers familiar with online shopping
                                                                                      • Figure 45: Online purchases, February 2016
                                                                                    • Boomers shop online, but not at the same pace as younger consumers
                                                                                      • Figure 46: Willingness to purchase online, index to all February 2016
                                                                                    • Boomers aren’t immune to the sway of online reviews
                                                                                      • Figure 47: Attitudes toward shopping, index to all, February 2016
                                                                                    • Boomer women prove-out their shopping preference online
                                                                                      • Figure 48: Willingness to purchase online – Select items, by gender, February 2016
                                                                                    • High-income Boomers searching for goods online
                                                                                      • Figure 49: Willingness to purchase online – Select items, by household income, February 2016
                                                                                    • Male Boomers more aligned with traditional gender roles
                                                                                        • Figure 50: Attitudes toward shopping, by gender, February 2016
                                                                                    • Baby Boomers’ Perceptions of Quality

                                                                                        • Boomers appreciate craftsmanship above all
                                                                                          • Figure 51: Perceptions of quality, index to all, February 2016
                                                                                        • Subtle differences in how racial groups perceive quality
                                                                                          • Figure 52: Perceptions of quality – Select items, by race, February 2016
                                                                                        • Luxury goods may attract Boomers with less disposable income
                                                                                          • Figure 53: Perceptions of quality, by household income, February 2016
                                                                                      • Baby Boomer Marketing Preferences

                                                                                          • Baby Boomers have ideas for you, advertisers
                                                                                            • Figure 54: Attitudes toward advertising, index to all, February 2016
                                                                                          • Boomers of all kinds find little representation in advertising
                                                                                            • Figure 55: Marketers understand my age group, by key demographics and generations, February 2016
                                                                                          • Investment in the Baby Boomer audience warranted
                                                                                            • Figure 56: Marketing preferences, index to all, February 2016
                                                                                          • Women more open to a variety of advertising
                                                                                            • Figure 57: Marketing preferences – Select items, by gender, February 2016
                                                                                          • Black Baby Boomers show a preference for diversity and energy
                                                                                            • Figure 58: Marketing preferences – Select items, by race, February 2016
                                                                                          • Married Boomers less likely to look for diversity in advertising
                                                                                            • Figure 59: Marketing preferences – Select items, by marital status, February 2016
                                                                                        • How Lottery Winnings Would Be Spent

                                                                                            • Vacation is Boomers’ ultimate reward
                                                                                                • Figure 60: How lottery winnings would be spent, February 2016
                                                                                              • Big-ticket items more appealing to traditional Boomers
                                                                                                • Figure 61: How lottery winnings would be spent, by generation, February 2016
                                                                                              • Women looking to invest in the home
                                                                                                • Figure 62: How lottery winnings would be spent, by gender, February 2016
                                                                                              • Lottery winners of all income levels share the same goals
                                                                                                • Figure 63: How lottery winnings would be spent, by household income, February 2016
                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                              • Data sources
                                                                                                • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                  • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                    • Generations
                                                                                                    • Appendix – Market

                                                                                                        • Figure 64: Population by generation, 2011-21
                                                                                                        • Figure 65: Generations, by race and Hispanic origin, 2016
                                                                                                        • Figure 66: Marital status, by age, 2015
                                                                                                        • Figure 67: Median age at first marriage, by gender, 2005-15
                                                                                                        • Figure 68: Median household income, by age of householder, 2014