Baby boomers are people who were born between 1946 and 1964, according to most experts. The sheer size of this group of people is mind-boggling. There are approximately 75.8 million baby boomers. Put another way, they make up one-third of the population in the United States.
Generally speaking, baby boomers range in age from 45 to 65. Many of them are what demographers call “empty nesters,” which means the children have left home. Which means that a tremendous amount of income that was formerly spent on “the kids” has now become discretionary income. According to Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Wave LLC, baby boomers take home $2 trillion per year and, as a group, embody 50% of all discretionary spending. They control 70% of all the wealth in the United States. They own 77% of all financial assets. They own and use 50% of credit cards in the United States. Fully 80% of the money deposited in savings accounts belongs to the baby boomers. And 50% of all luxury cars sold are purchased by baby boomers.
The psychology of affluent baby boomers may be profiled in the following manner:
Baby boomers focus on their lifestyle, which means they are very busy and always on the go.
Baby boomers love to travel. There is an old adage that states, “Travel broadens one’s horizons.” Baby boomers believe it. They want to live it.
Since they have spent most of their working lives accumulating “things,” they now want to accumulate experiences. Which means they want to feel what they haven’t felt before. They want to undergo the adventures they believe they have missed, because they were so busy working. They want to encounter new and unique experiences. They view travel as the primary means of attaining these experiences. Which explains why 80% of all luxury travel purchases are made by baby boomers.
When they purchase a vacation or travel destination, they expect superb personal service. If they get it, they will keep coming back and spread the word via referrals to friends, family, associates, and neighbors. If they don’t get it, they will take their business elsewhere.
Keeping this psychological profile in mind, the way to appeal to affluent baby boomers means avoiding marketing that appears static. Baby boomers see themselves as vibrant, active individuals. Baby boomers do not become less active with age. They just become active, older baby boomers. Baby boomers have longer life expectancies and they know it, so they want to make the most of their life spans. Which means 60 is the new 40.
So if they’re taking a cruise, they want to get off the boat and walk around. They don’t want to see the sights from an air-conditioned bus. If they’re taking a vacation to Miami Beach or the Bahamas, they want to participate in hang-gliding and water skiing, golf and tennis, hiking and sightseeing. Since most baby boomers are not retired, but still engaged in careers, most of their traveling is done in spurts of 7 to 14 days.