The Most Valuable Generation in the History of Marketing

August 3, 2020


In 2012, A.C. Nielsen published a white paper titled, Boomers: Marketers’ Most Valuable Generation. Nielsen postulated that as more Boomers aged out of their prime income earning years, they would move from a life dedicated to making money to one that is directed to spending money. The resulting Boomer lifestyle required two simple ingredients: money and the time to spend it. Boomers, as a cohort have plenty of both!

The Exploding Senior Market

Before delving into the factors that led Nielsen to dub Boomers as the most valuable generation in marketing history, let’s look at the bigger picture for perspective.

While Millennials claim the title of largest demographic cohort in America, Boomers aren’t far behind. Their absolute numbers are impressive. Americans are now turning 75 at a rate of 10,000 a day! That rate will continue for at least ten more years. The senior population – which extends backwards to those 65 and older – now totals over 50-million, and is projected to climb to more than 71-million by 2030. That number is more than the combined population of 25 states!


Where the Money Is

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, seniors control more than 70% of the total net worth of American households – $7-trillion of wealth. To put this in perspective, if Americans 50+ were a country, they would constitute the world’s third largest economy – behind the U.S. and China, but ahead of India, Japan and Germany.

They are also responsible for roughly 50% of all consumer spending. Here are some other “fun facts” about this most valuable generation. They purchase:

  • 80% of all luxury travel
  • 71% of all over-the-counter medicine
  • 55% of all major appliances
  • 52% of all women’s apparel
  • 51% of all new cars and trucks
  • 50% of all health club memberships
  • More than 25% of all the toys sold
  • More per person in the grocery store than any other age group.

Get the picture? And senior spending is projected to continue growing dramatically in a variety of product and service categories. AARP predicts between now and 2050, senior spending on technology will increase 361%, outpacing healthcare spending growth at 301%; leisure & hospitality at 285%; and clothing & footwear at 258% growth.

Seniors worked hard for their wealth. Now they feel entitled to live well in reward for a life well-lived – the “American Dream.”

So why aren’t marketers noticing?

Given this exploding market that is ready to spend wealth accumulated over their lifetimes, A.C. Nielsen reports that the senior cohort is the target of only 10% of all marketing activity. That’s 10% to reach a growing consumer group that already represents 50% of all consumer spending.

There is an enormous opportunity for businesses that recognize and pursue “The Most Valuable Generation in the History of Marketing.”