The Trillion Dollar Advertising Elephant in the Room

Lots of people in the media business spend their time and energy chasing what has long been considered the gold medal of demographics: young consumers. And indeed there a lot of good reasons to try to capture young hearts and minds. We’ve been doing it at Altitude for years!

However, marketers who only look to talk to young people may be making a mistake.

There was a great article last week in the New York Times last week about companies waking up to the big untapped opportunity of talking to older consumers.

After 40 years of catering to younger consumers, advertisers and media executives are coming to a different realization: older people aren’t so bad, after all… This amounts to a reversal in thinking that took hold during the 1960s, when advertisers first started aiming for baby boomers, the largest segment of the United States population. But the reasons for the shift are not just demographic, they are economic.

For decades marketers have more or less ignored older consumers in favor of younger ones. So it’s refreshing to see marketers recognize this segment and start engaging with them based on their passion for life and spending power.
The facts speak for themselves:
  • Baby boomers have $3.4 trillion worth of annual spending power
  • Someone turns 50 in the U.S. every seven seconds
  • 72 million people – about one fifth of the U.S. population – will be 65 or older by 2030
  • Homeowners older than age 55 accounted for about one-third of housing turnover in the US between 1997 and 2007
  • 70% of baby-boomer households will receive inheritances worth a total of $8.4 Trillion
  • According to a recent AARP survey of Baby Boomers, 40 percent of them plan to work “until they drop”
With such a huge population of folks who are willing and able to spend their ample money, advertisers would be crazy NOT to talk to them directly.