Remember the Boom(ers)

During challenging economic times, it's always a good idea to get back to basics; to audit your current strategies, and to remember who it is that has the most buying power, particularly if you sell products or services with a high price tag. Still the winner of that category: The Baby Boom Generation.

Yes, you need to keep a watchful marketing eye on the 18-35 crowd who will become the big spenders. But, don't forget who's got the cash right now. By all accounts, it's the Boomers, folks born between 1946 and 1964. In the U.S., there are 78 million of them who collectively spend about $2 trillion a year! While Boomers may be getting older, they should never be forgotten.

So What Do We Know About Them?

We know that approximately 54% of them (age 45-54) are self-employed. They make up 27% of the country's 9.6 million self-employed, and that number has grown 6.5% from 2000. This group of entrepreneurs, in some cases, has undergone career changes. Many report that after spending years working for big corporations, they decided to follow their own dreams. Their growing numbers could mean they will have a dramatic influence on our economy and on job creation in time to come.

75% of Boomers continue to work full-time. As this generation continues to age, they may be creating a whole new category - those who continue to work while in retirement. Some Boomers believe that in order to maintain their lifestyles, they must continue to earn income.

Boomers also tend to be better educated than their generational predecessors. A full 30% of Boomers 55-59 have, at minimum, a four-year degree. And, as a group, they are more apt to pursue continuing education than any group to come before them. According to the Department of Education, Boomers enrolled in adult education classes increased from 22.6 million in 1995 to 27.9 million in 1999; a 23% jump.

You Wanna Revolution?

These well educated, well-heeled consumers are no strangers to revolution either, more specifically to the technology revolution. Despite what the Xers and their younger counterparts may think, the Baby Boomer generation was the one that did "go where no one else had gone before." (Case in point, Bill Gates, now in his 50's, is a Boomer.) As a group, they are not afraid of technology and have embraced the internet as a tool that saves them time and offers them tremendous convenience. In fact, according to a recent study, seven in ten Baby Boomer consumers shop online. The interesting fact that marketers should pay attention to, however, is that Boomers look for relevant online content and positive user experiences. For Boomers, technology is a means to an end: obtaining products and services they desire, staying in touch with friends and family, and enabling them to enjoy their lives.

This article was written by Gina DeHaan, Copywriter at Active Web Group.