Boomers to Control 70% Of US Disposable Income

August 7, 2012

nielsenboomagers-key-stats-baby-boomers-august2012.pngBoomers represent 44% of the US population, and their buying power is considerable: in the next 5 years, they’re projected to hold 70% of US disposable income and buy 49% of total consumer-packaged goods (CPG), according to [download page] an August 2012 report by Nielsen and BoomAgers. In fact, Boomers dominate purchases in 119 of 123 CPG categories, and have the money to spend: despite the economic downturn, 63% still have at least one person in the household working full time.

Boomers Are Spending Time Online

While younger generations generally are rapid technology adopters, Baby Boomers make up 40% of the customers paying for wireless service, and 41% of those who purchase Apple computers. Boomers also represent one-third of all online and social media users, and nearly another third of them report they are heavy internet users, with more than 8 million boomers spending more than 20 hours a week online. Their use of social networking has nearly doubled in the last year to 42%, and 53% are on Facebook.

Nielsen identifies a sub-segment called “Techno Boomers” who enjoy purchasing and using new technology: for example, they are 40% more likely to use iPhones, and they are also more likely to using business-related social networking sites at a higher rate.

Boomers Are Big Spenders Online

Boomers spend a good portion of their large disposable income over the internet, and those aged 50 and older spend nearly $7 billion per year online. They use the internet as their primary means of comparison shopping for major purchases (such as cars and home furnishings).

According to a Forrester Research study released in November 2011, “Older Boomers” (age 56-66) spend the most online of all generations, having spent an average $367 online in the prior 3 months, more than double the amount spent online ($138) by “Gen Z” adults (age 18-22). “Younger Boomers” (age 46-55) were the next biggest spenders ($318), closely followed by Gen Y (age 23-31), who spent an average of $311.

Boomers Still Keen on Traditional Media

Data from Nielsen and BoomAgers’ “Introducing Boomers: Marketing’s Most Valuable Generation” indicates that while Boomers are tech savvy, they still spend an average 174 hours a month watching TV, second only to Traditionalists (aged 65+), who watch 205 hours per month. By contrast, Gen X and Millennials watch significantly less, at 133 and 107 hours per month, respectively.

Compared to the median age of TV viewers (46), the median age among radio listeners is 44, while among readers, the median age is 45 for magazines and 48 for newspapers.

Other Findings:

  • The Boomer generation represents more than 80 million US consumers.
  • The 50+ segment consists of close to 100 million consumers.
  • Between now and 2030, the 18-49 segment is expected to grow by 12%, while the 50+ segment will expand by 34%.
  • By 2050, there will be 161 million 50+ consumers, representing 63% growth over 2010.

About The Data: The radio, magazine, and newspaper media age data contained in the Nielsen report was sourced from GfK, MRI Fall 2010.

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