It seems Australia’s Baby Boomers are being shunned by brands and marketers who are instead focusing on younger, more tech savvy consumers - something that's already been identified as an opportunity in other countries.
According to a new Mi9 report, only 10% of Australian advertising spend is directed towards Baby Boomers, despite the fact that this age group is currently entering into a ‘Lifestyle’ stage where they have more disposable income than any other group.
And of the small number of brands who do target the over-55s, it looks like they may be entirely missing the mark, as overwhelmingly, 94% of Baby Boomers say they dislike the way advertisers currently communicate with them.
Most adaptable age group in Australia
It has been thought that 50 to 69 year olds are stuck in their ways and more conservative than other generations, but it seems Australian Baby Boomers are actually one of the most adaptable age groups in the country, with 72% saying they’re open to new technology and trying new brands.
Instead of shying away from the internet, Baby Boomers are spending an average of 21 hours a week online and viewing 3000 internet pages per month, with 20% active on social media and 25% preferring to shop online.
These findings support data from Nielsen’s Online Landscape Review, which found that in July 2012 it was actually Baby Boomers who made up the largest proportion of online Australians (32%).
The Nielsen report also found that Baby Boomers spend around 95 hours per month online and are almost as engaged as Generation X and Y.
Unprecedented financial and personal freedom
According to the Mi9 report, Australia’s Baby Boomers are worth an average of $1million each and hold more than 40% of the nations wealth.
They are a group that has unprecedented financial and personal freedom, are open to trying new technologies and brands and who want to shop online because of the convenience of home delivery. Essentially, they are the perfect group to target.
Because of this, Mi9’s Head of Research and Insight, Gabbi Stubbs, wants brands and marketers to rethink their marketing strategies and start focusing their efforts towards the over-55s.
Don’t assume Baby Boomers are stuck in their ways - these guys matter and should be front of mind for marketers and advertisers.
While some consumers are tightening their belts, this lucrative ‘Lifestyle’ stage provides real opportunity for brands to attract new customers and drive sales through more targeted campaigns.
Why brands should start looking to the Baby Boomers
The report focuses on five main reasons why marketers should be looking to target Baby Boomers this year.
1. They have money to burn. More than half of the Baby Boomers surveyed owned their own home and 42% claimed to have disposable income to spend on themselves.
Additionally, 84% are still in the paid workforce, meaning they have regular income coming in, and 41% said they have a desire to spend their kids inheritance.
2. They love to travel and be active. Just over three-quarters of Baby Boomers have no children at home which makes them very open to travelling.
In fact, 61% said they had travelled domestically in the past 12 months and 32% had ventured overseas. Living a healthy life is also a priority for Baby Boomers with 70% wanting to get out and be more active.
3. They are embracing new technologies. Despite traditional stereotypes, 72% have a positive attitude towards technology and 71% believe it plays an important part in their lives.
A third of Baby Boomers even consider themselves to be multi-screeners and 45% have watched catch up TV.
4. They are moving online. Baby Boomers are starting to move away from traditional forms of media, with 29% saying that internet has replaced their need for newspapers and magazines.
The average Australian Baby Boomer owns two internet connected devices, which includes a desktop computer (81%), laptop (67%), smartphone (40%), tablet (19%) and PVR (69%).
5. They like to shop online. Nine out of ten Baby Boomers said they had purchased online and 25% said they did so every week.
Just over half had purchased travel online, 37% had purchased books and eBooks and 36% had purchased computer software and hardware.
How to go forward
It is clear that the Baby Boomers as a group have huge untapped potential for advertisers and brands who can get it right.
But before brands jump on the bandwagon, it needs to be considered why only 6% are happy with the way advertisers currently communicate with them.
Managing director of FutureBrand Australia Erminio Putignano believes the answer to this is that marketers are focusing on the wrong angle.
Often the brand becomes too literal, like with images of other people their age, which is too much ‘in your face’. Baby boomers want to feel young – they don’t want to be reminded that they’re getting old.
There’s a fine line between acknowledging a certain life stage while also having something that makes consumers feel the way they want to.
Instead, Putignano believes the key to connecting is highlighting the ways in which Baby Boomers can enjoy the good things in life, focusing on their disposable income, their available free time, empty house and travel opportunities - something that marketers should be seriously considering, as part of their strategic targeting.
For more insight into the Mi9 report, see the infographic below: