It’s not just about marketing: selling to high-spenders in the boomer demographic is about everything from in-store display to what you choose to stock
Baby boomers are becoming an increasingly important market for retailers, and one that can become highly profitable if stores and manufacturers can figure out the right way to target their products to an increasingly discerning group.
“Retailers need to get much better at understanding the specific needs of this very valuable segment of consumers and they have to work out the different ways they can help satisfy these needs,” said Graeme McVie, vice-president of business development at U.S.-based marketing strategy and research firm LoyaltyOne.
“Tailoring the shopping and the products that are in the store to cater to this group is actually a really good idea because there’s a huge number of them and they’re actually willing to make trade-offs when it comes to value to get health benefits.”
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Many baby boomers who have become empty nesters or retired have the disposable income to spend and they’re willing to spend it on themselves, especially when it comes to buying healthier food and high-quality beauty products, McVie said.
That may mean spending more for the heart-friendly omega-3 eggs instead of the plainest and cheapest kind, or getting a high-quality soap that will be kind to their skin.
McVie says this comes in part from a growing awareness about healthy living, as well as a realization that if they are going to live longer, boomers should take better care of themselves.
“They think about it as making an investment in their own health rather than an expense to minimize at all costs,” he said.
Susan Eng, vice president for advocacy at CARP Canada, says that while she agrees there are sellin, many seniors are also struggling and shouldn’t be forgotten.
A sluggish economy, boomerang kids who won’t move out, aging parents, a lack of savings and medical challenges are all weighing on boomers, who are ending up with high debt levels, more working years, and even the threat of bankruptcy.
“The one thing about the boomers is that they’re such a big demographic, that anything that the group does, in all its variety and diversity, will suddenly seem to be a trend,” said Eng.
“It is true that there’s a whole pile of them that are well off, and yes, they will spend on their health. But you also have people facing the same health-care challenges and they don’t have the money. They’re looking around and saying: ‘Where do I turn?'”