Boomers’ Empty Nest Lifestyle an Opportunity for Marketers

January 16, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older

The 78 million Boomers in the US are the largest demographic segment of the population and spend about $2 trillion annually, while the fastest-growing segment over the next five years will be the 60-64-year-old cohort, consisting of the leading edge of Boomers, according to a new report (via MediaPost).

JWT BOOM, in partnership with BoomerEyes/C&R Research, released the fourth annual Boomer Heartbeat – the annual trend monitor that explores Boomers and their life stages.

The number of people age 50-64 will increase by 8.1 million, while the number of those age 30-44 will actually shrink by 2.7 million, according to Lori Bitter, president of JWT BOOM.

The current study focused on three key issues: the impact of being an Empty Nester; the role of technology and media in Boomer’s lives; and  the role of employment and the workplace in Boomers’ lives. Among the study findings:

Empty Nesters Embracing the Life Stage

A sizable proportion of Boomers is new to the Empty Nest lifestyle and so is experiencing a time of great change and new opportunities:

  • About one-third of Empty Nesters are sad that their children have left the home, but the majority cite freedom, more time for themselves and the opportunity for closer relationships with their spouse as the benefits of Empty Nesting.
  • Other valued benefits include a better quality of life now that they have more time to take care of themselves, and the time and money to enjoy doing new things that they never would have done before.

Empty Nesters have new needs, desires and activities as they rediscover themselves and their partners – presenting a great opportunity for marketers to show how their products and services fit into this new life stage, according to the study.

The Role of Technology

While Boomers have witnessed much change during their lives, the technology revolution and its near constant introduction of new products is one of the most influential changes impacting their lives:

  • Two key primary benefits of technology that are resonating most strongly with Boomers are that technology is saving time and making lives easier.
  • Like Gen Xers and Matures, Boomers are using the Internet and their computers for a wide variety of needs:
    • At the top of the list is email, which is nearly universal.
    • Online shopping appears to be the norm as well, with about 7 in 10 consumers shopping from the convenience of their home.
    • As Boomers age and health-related issues become more common, nearly three-fourths are seeking health-related information online.
    • In addition, about half of all Boomers are playing games and downloading pictures. Downloading music and dating, however, are far less common.
    • Though 32% of Boomers are visiting online communities, blogging is far less common, with only one in ten Boomers having ever blogged.

Work Status and Retirement

  • Work plays a major role in the lives of most Boomers, as approximately two-thirds of them are still working.
  • Among Boomers who are employed, 75% work full-time, 18% part-time and another 5% are working in a more limited capacity.
  • Although most are still working full-time, as a group they are transitioning into the next phase of their lives; as a result, a new category of work is emerging for Boomers in their late 50s and beyond – working while in retirement.
  • Last year Boomers were generally more pessimistic about their debt and retirement savings; this year’s study indicates that their outlook has improved, with those perceiving that their retirement savings is above average having increased from 13% to 18%.

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