When I hear the word “trendsetter” I think of a mid-twenty year old fashionista or an artsy musician paving the way by inventing and finding the latest fad, living the unobtainable lifestyle that no one wants to admit but everyone secretly wishes was theirs. If I had a large marketing budget, I undoubtably would have thrown a big chunk of it toward convincing these people to like my product... oh and don't forget about those easily influenced teeny boppers! As I become more and more educated on the topic of marketing to the 55 and older population, I find myself reorganizing and reassessing this prematurely conceived belief. This is precisely why you should never lay money down blindly on advertising or marketing without doing the research or contacting a professional.
A common myth of advertising is that the 13-20 year olds drive the market. Fashion, music, make up, entertainment and accessory industries, especially, all seem to be using mass media to cater to this young demographic. But let’s think about the income of this demographic, the buying power and/or the influence over what the media is actually trying to sell. Although the youth tends to splurge their limited funds on a majority of disposable products, which can be an advertiser’s fantasy, the reality is that they are more constricted, more dependent on outside influences and more driven by interchangeable fads and temporary trends that mass media creates. So building a loyal brand relationship with this demographic can be difficult and selling products to them may become more of a “One hit Wonder” than the expansive love affair of producing 8 top Billboard albums.
So, seniors as trendsetters in society? Strange to think, let alone write it down as fact- but did you know that over half the spending on women’s apparel is by women over the age of 45? Statistically, seniors, as a demographic, control 50% of all discretionary income and own about 80% of the wealth in financial institutions. What does this mean? They are at a point where they are comfortable, ready for adventure and eager to spend money on goods and services to enhance their quality of life. Having saved money their whole lives, they are at that age where they want the luxurious vacations, the hi-tech kitchen appliances and any other lavish investment that meets their whims and needs without compromise.They are done waiting!
Targeting the 55 and older generation with merely senior related products could be a humongous lost opportunity for many businesses. Not only are seniors a strong economic force with their own spending but also with showering their families and friends with gifts and support. According to a 2002 survey done by the US Administration on Aging, over 35 billion dollars a year was spent on this generation’s grandchildren by seniors in the US. And this was almost 10 years ago, before the Baby Boomers even starting to shift over into senior status!
So, once again, seniors as trendsetters? Yes and undeniably so. This is the generation wants to embrace the good things that life has to offer - and more importantly, has the money to do so!
More surprising statistics:
- Out of an average of 13 new cars purchased in a lifetime, 7 of those are purchased after age 50.
- 54% of boomers expect to keep their vehicles 4 years or less
- Over 50% of over the counter drugs are bought by people over the age of 50
- Anti-aging product sales are growing by about 30% per year
- 55+ is the fastest growing demographic for health club memberships.