The Baby Boomer generation a marketing dream, but is it destined for a retirement nightmare? What spawned this generation? How has the pharmaceutical industry profited from its numbers? What consumer goods are affected by its buying habits? Who has benefited in the past and now in the present? Who will still be working after 2010? Financially, how is the boomer generation prepared for retirement? What is the risk of long term care insurance?
The year 1946 marked the beginning of the largest generation in history, which extended through 1964. American soldiers began returning home from World War II and the baby boomer generation was born. Over the span of 18 years, there were approximately 78 million births. In 1957, the baby boomer birth rate reached its peak at an average of 3.8 children versus only 1.9 children today (Swinyard & Rinne). The baby boomers make up one third of the total U.S. population. Can you say, “target market”?
The Younger Baby-Boomer and Economics
Sometime around 2010 and 2015, over 77 million baby-boomers will start to slam into retirement along with their Davy Crocket Coonskin hats, rock and roll, college, suburbia, mutual funds, sport utility vehicles, and everything else that’s been in their way. When boomer demand slams into the market place, prices soar (until the fad passes). Nothing stops the baby-boomer.
There is somewhat of a bright side to all the spending and boomer traffic. Being just a few steps ahead of the boomer can make an individual very well off if you know which way they are headed. Boomers have always acted this way. Still the largest generation in the United States has been shifting markets ever since the diaper and baby food industries in the late 1940’s (Geoffery 59-64). Construction of elementary facilities exploded for municipal budgets-Los Angeles was spending $1 million a week on new schools in the mid-1960’s (Geoffery 59-64). After that happened, the boomer moved on abandoning a huge!
amount of those facilities. When younger boomers wanted cars, the Mustang and Camaro were considered a phenomenon and as the boomer herd passed so did the sales. Suburban homes in beautiful areas were next since boomers were doing the family thing. Prices on suburban homes exploded in the 80’s and as usual; when the boomer left, so did the sales.
Baby-boomers have dominated American culture for nearly five decades. Likened by demographers to a pig moving through a python, boomers account for one third of Americans 80.6 million of the 250 million U.S. residents (Rinne p64). With this in mind, the market place can be a wonderful place to be in terms of the seller. Boomers have an enormous history for spending.