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How to Target Older Generations for Growth

By: Elaine Fogel


sale and old people concept - smiling senior woman in glasses with shopping bags over autumn park background

Approximately 1 in every 6 Americans is aged 65 or older (16.5% share), with their share of the population rising. Yet, the marketing and advertising world still has a “thing” about young people.

Many TV spots and ads tend to focus on youthful, happy people. Perhaps advertisers believe that fresh-faced actors will attract customers and increase their product-service revenue. But, they may be very wrong.

MarketingCharts recently reviewed 10 years’ worth of Census Data population estimates to uncover the changes in the 2010s, with the analysis revealing what most already know: the growth is in the older age brackets.

What the census tells us

Overall, the U.S. population grew by 6.1% from 2010 through 2019, with the male population experiencing a slightly faster rate of growth than the female population (6.3% and 5.9%, respectively). However only one age group below the age of 55 experienced an above-average growth rate during that period: the 25-34 bracket. From 2010 through 2019, the number of individuals in the U.S. ages 25-34 increased by 11.5%, with males of this age group again experiencing faster growth (12.8% vs. 10.2% for females).

During the 2010s, the number of adults ages 55-64 increased by 15.4%, while the number of adults ages 65-74 shot up by a remarkable 44%. That was more than twice the growth rate of the 75+ population (21.2%), which more than tripled the overall population’s rate.

By contrast, the 0-11, 12-17 and 18-24 age groups all experienced slight declines in their numbers, indicating that there will not be an explosion of new youth in the 12-34 brackets in the coming decade. Instead, expect to see a greater number of older adults, as those currently in the 55-64 bracket age into the 65-74 segment and those currently in that bracket transition to the 75+ cohort.

MarketingCharts advice:

Given their growing numbers and relative wealth, businesses would do well to adapt accordingly. That means that during the pandemic, for example, businesses should look to make their e-commerce offerings accessible to an audience that may not yet have used this form of buying (bearing in mind that more than one-quarter of U.S. adults ages 65 and older didn’t access the internet as of last year).

And companies should pay attention to where older consumers are spending. A new Euromonitor study indicates that adults ages 60 and older in the U.S. will allocate 1 in every 3 dollars to health goods and medical services. Beyond this category, older adults are expected to increase their spending over time on housing (despite a decrease this year), leisure & recreation, and transport, among others.

Suddenly Senior lists the following facts on its website:

There are about 52 million people who are age 65 or older in the United States. This demographic is projected to almost double in size by 2060to a whopping 95 million people. This means that 1 in 5 people will be senior citizens and not only that, seniors are also predicted to outnumber children in the next 10 years.

“Seniors are freed from the constraints of raising a family and have more time of their own. Mature consumers seek products, services, and activities that complement their desire to live life to the fullest. The mature market has over $1.6 trillion in spending power and a net worth that’s almost twice the U.S. average. The facts speak for themselves — the mature market represents a tremendous opportunity across all categories.”

  • Larger than African-American and Hispanic market segments combined.
  • The most affluent of any age segment
  • Account for 60% of all healthcare spending
  • Purchase 74% of all prescription drugs
  • Buy 51% of all over-the-counter drugs
  • Acquire 41% of all new cars
  • Purchase 25% of all toys
  • Account for 80% of all luxury travel
  • Spend $7 billion online annually
  • Fastest growing segment on the Internet
  • Spend more time online than teenagers
  • Adults 50+ control a household net worth of $19 trillion.
  • Own more than three-fourths of the nation’s financial wealth
  • Own 70% of all money market accounts and certificates of deposit assets
  • Have an income per capita that is 26% higher than the national average
  • Spend more than one trillion dollars on goods and services
  • The largest 55+ population resides in California, New York, and Florida respectively
  • 42% of museum visitors are 55+
  • Spends more per capita on groceries, O-T-C products, travel and leisure than any other age group
  • Travel ranks among the top leisure activities for men and women over 50
  • Mature vacationers travel more frequently than any other age group and stay longer
  • 55+ households are the fastest-growing user segment to embrace computer technology
  • 22 million adults 50+ are now online, representing 28% of the 50+ population.

Unless your products and services are only for children and youth, you’ll want to pay attention to this demographic shift. That is, if you want to remain sustainable and grow.

Published: August 18, 2020

Source: Elaine Fogel

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