Aging boomers have big impact on buying trends

17th  August


By 2030, the number of people in America over 50 years old will  surpass those under 20.

– In 1950, women gave birth to an average of five children each.  By 2000, the birth rate dropped to 2.65.

– Seventy-six percent of people ages 57 to 65 use the Internet for  accessing news and information.

– Consumer consumption tends to decline with age, with one  exception — health care.

A declining birth rate and a rising life expectancy are bringing  about an unprecedented demographic transformation around the world,  participants were told at a recent futuring and trends conference,  hosted by Ford at its world headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

To accommodate the needs of a tech-savvy aging population,  automobile designers and engineers are developing an array of  specialty products.

For example, a heart-rate monitoring driver’s seat is hoped to one  day reduce the number of accidents and fatalities that occur as a  result of motorists having heart attacks behind the wheel. And  because healthcare is a major issue for boomers, systems are being  developed that will provide people with self-help health and  wellness information while driving, helping people manage chronic  illnesses and disorders, such as diabetes, asthma or allergies while  on the go.

“It used to be thought that you hit midlife and you went into a  slow, steady decline,” Carol Orsborn, the writer and CEO of,told a group of lifestyles, technology and green  media from across Canada, the United States and Mexico.

But baby boomers are defying ageism, she said. Today’s seniors tend  to be far more physically active than their parents or grandparents  were.

And they’re technologically connected. So what they do, how they  think, and what they buy differs greatly from previous generations.

As consumers, Boomers are a powerful force, Orsborn pointed out,  cautioning marketers not to ignore this demographic and focus  instead on young consumers with an abundance of disposable income.

While individual boomers tend not to spend as much as Gen Ys,  boomers are becoming a greater percentage of the total population,  and in turn their combined buying power is significant.

Tomorrow’s products and services need to reflect this  every-changing world, Orsborn stressed.

For example, luxury is being redefined. The bigger-is-better or  the-more-luxurious-the-better mentality is being replaced by a  desire for simplicity. Although today’s boomers don’t want to be  poor, “we don’t mind being simple and selective,” Orsborn said.

She also pointed to the growing awareness of the importance of  women as influencers in the types of products that are bought,  noting that many boomer women have not saved enough for their  retirement, which inevitably will affect the purchases they make in  the future.

“The upside is this is a generation who have always been  resourceful and creative — and redefining success according to  their own values. They will not go down without a fight.”

For example, boomer women are travelling together and living  together.

“My vision of women in the future — make it one great pyjama  party,” Orsborn said.

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