On January 1, 2011, the oldest Baby Boomer turned 65. Every day since then and for the next 19 years, approximately 10,000 more will cross that threshold. By 2030, when all Baby Boomers will have turned 65, fully 18 percent of the nation’s population will be at least that age, according to the Pew Research Center population projections.
The Research Center estimates that the 79 million member Baby Boomer generation (defined as those born between 1946 and 1964) now accounts for 26 percent of the total U.S. population. By force of numbers alone, they will redefine old age in America, just as they’ve made their mark on teen culture, young adult life and middle age.
With this generation a new set of parameters is forming to change the concept of aging. The issues that affect this massive population are as complex and challenging as any in history. They juggle “sandwiching” the dual responsibilities of caring for aging parents with caring for children still at home. They face maintaining financial stability as investments and equities dwindled during one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression. This demographic group resists a one-size-fits-all approach. Those companies, service organizations and marketers who target them with everything from assisted living communities to health care to fashion must find a new paradigm and unique ways to engage this influential public.
Misconceptions and Missed Opportunities
In a 2012 report released by AARP and research group, Focalyst, misconceptions regarding Boomers, their attitudes and activities were explored. According to Howard Bick, AARP Service’s vice president of corporate development, “Boomers are redefining age and changing the way business is done.” The report cites 10 significant myths that include:
Myth #10 - Boomers are retiring early.
In fact, very few Boomers are planning to stop working entirely when they reach retirement age – only 11 percent.
Myth #9 - Boomers are downsizing their homes.
Despite the image of older consumers “winding down”, only six percent of Boomers are planning to be living in a smaller residence five years from now.
Myth #8 - Most Boomers are married empty nesters.
Only one in four Boomers fit the profile of married with adult children who have left home and 37 percent still have children under 18 in the home.
Myth #7 - You can capture Boomers with mainstream advertising.
Boomers are paying attention to ad-vertising, but they do not always like what they see. 67 percent say they are less likely to purchase a product if they find the advertising offensive.