Boomers Boom, Gen X/Y Flat, Over 50 the New Black


It looks like all those twenty-something hipster agency creatives might have a tough time identifying with their client's target audiences over the next ten years. Remember those people we called Yuppies? Or baby Boomers? Well, that audience, which owned the 80's with their yellow ties and Wall Street aspirations is about to boot advertising's fave demographic, 18-49, to also-ran status.

Results released yesterday from Survey Sampling International review of Census data notes 78 million baby boomers will turn 50 over the next ten years increasing the size of the 50+ demo from 89.3 million in 2006 to 111.3 million in 2016, a 25 percent increase. In contrast, the 18-49 demo, while still larger overall, will see a measly one percent increase in size from 135.1 million in 2006 to 135.9 million in 2016.

While marketers have an incessant desire to be "cool," the desire to grow their business trumps all. Smart companies and marketers will follow potential for growth and that growth is in the 50 + crowd. Obviously, kids will continue to be born and the 18-49 demo will not die. It's just not going to see any expansion in size anytime soon.

In an interesting twist which will make focusing on this demo a challenge is the additional finding that those over 50 see themselves in early middle age and that old age begins at 75 while those under 40, the agency/marketer crowd, belive anyone over 56 is "over the hill." It's all going to be very interesting.

by Steve Hall    Mar-31-06   Click to Comment   
Topic: Research, Trends and Culture   

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The boomers are the ones with all the money - they spend $2 trillion a year.

Posted by: Robin Zaleski on March 31, 2006 2:47 PM

I've been writing/speaking about this for years. Wrote a book about it.

Ad agencies will have to change - and hire/rehire older creatives. The best advertising is done by people who advertise to themselves.

Quote from Rosser Reeves (so knock off a few years to put it in perspective - since the ad business is made up of a much younger demographic than when he was around):

"No, I don't think a 68-year-old copywriter can write with the kids. That he's as creative. That he's as fresh. But he may be a better surgeon. His ad may not be quite as fresh and glowing as the Madison Ave. fraternity would like to see it be, and yet he might write an ad that will produce five times the sales. And that's the name of the game, isn't it?"

Posted by: Chuck Nyren on April 1, 2006 11:36 AM