The baby boomer market is big. The Census Bureau estimates that there are 78.2 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964, or what is known as “baby boomers.”
If you are trying to reach this market, it is important to avoid the mistake of lumping all the baby boomers together as one market. They’re not: they exhibit different consumption behaviours and are different. In fact, think of this market as consisting of 3 segments: the pre-retirees, the active retirees, and the oldest segment (those in their 70s and 80s).
Baby boomers are living longer and staying healthier than past generations. They are working longer too, whether it is because they love to work or they have to work (e.g. they don’t have enough funds to support their retirement). They are leading more active lifestyles, enjoying more activities than ever.
If this is a market you are interested in, the best opportunities lie in two areas: travel and education.
A National Travel Association study showed that baby boomers recorded the highest travel volume in the United States. Even the recreational vehicle (RV) industry is receiving a huge boost from the baby boomers. According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, “more RVs are owned by 35-to-54 year olds than any other age group.” The Association of Travel Marketing Executives provided a profile of the baby boomers and why they are now an important growth segment of the travel industry. According to ATME, baby boomers consider travel as a necessity and not a luxury; they see themselves as forever young; they want to have fun (and have the resources to have fun), among others.
Education is another area that serves the biggest opportunity for businesses who want to target baby boomers. A record number of boomers are returning to school – some because they want to start a second career, others because they want to continue working. They feel the need to be able to compete with younger workers, and getting new skills such as computer proficiency can help them stay on their jobs.
If you’re looking at what business you can start to reach this market, one way is to search the web (for example, “baby boomer travel”) to see what businesses are out there already. If you replicate their business, do you think that the business can work in your locality or if you will compete in the same space (e.g. on the Web), do you think you can offer something better? Better yet, come up with something unique and be the first mover in the market.
You may want to read the following:
- Baby Boomers: A Profitable Niche for Small & Home Based Businesses
- The Older Population: Discover this Growing Market for Small Businesses
- The Aging Population and Its Effect On Small Business