Boomer Insights
by Cheryl Swanson

Marketing to Boomers - Don't Treat Them as Old

Toniq's ethnographic studies of Leading Edge Boomers (those people born between 1946 and 1955) have revealed a variety of lifestyle insights, several of which run contrary to accepted "truisms" and expectations of an aging population.

These insights included:

  • Leading Edge Boomers are now between the ages of 49 and 58, which they perceive as "young enough to enjoy their accumulated wisdom". They feel they have learned a lot of life's lessons, but feel they are younger in attitude and in body than their parents were at the same age. They do not necessarily believe that "youth is wasted on the young" because they feel young themselves.

  • While all Boomers interviewed feel the aches & pains associated with aging, they don't perceive of themselves as "getting old"…they perceive of themselves as getting better. They feel that they have paid their dues and done for others (family, job) and it's now their time to do the things they have dreamed about for years like going back to school, volunteering or traveling.

  • Being active and leading complete, full lives is a lifestyle hallmark of this group.

  • Boomers gravitate toward brands that are youthful and energetic in personality (e.g. Red Bull, Mt. Dew's AMP). They perceive brands targeted to "older people" as offensive, "not for me" and a reminder of their mortality. When asked if larger package copy, arthritis friendly caps and nutrition for "older people" (like Ensure or Boost) would be of interest, they said all of that was for "old people" (defined as people over 80!)

Downsizing For a Fuller Life

Toniq's studies of Leading Edge Boomers have revealed a key insight to leading the "good life" after 48…downsizing and simplifying!

  • Many Leading Edge Boomers have grown children who have "left the nest" or who are about to leave the nest. Consequently, many Boomers feel that they no longer need a large house and are opting for smaller houses or condos (no need to take care of lawns, gardens).

  • Purging the stuff accumulated over a lifetime is a consistent Boomer attribute - downsizing for a fuller life is key for them. Not be burdened by "stuff" seems to clear the mind and gets them focused on what they feel is important - which is the experience of life rather than "buying things".

  • Many Boomers are opting for "active retirement" communities for those 55 and older where the focus is on living an active life (sports, yoga, community service, all kinds of classes) rather than taking care of "stuff" (yards, homes, pools, etc)

  • Though this generation has most of the country's wealth, they do not spend extravagantly. Many Boomers are retired or getting ready to retire, so their incomes will be fixed. They were the first generation of "mass market consumers" so they feel they have bought everything they could want and now look forward to investing in "experiences" like travel and continuing education.

  • Boomers look for ways to save money on everyday items like food, beverages and personal care products - despite their collective wealth, they are big coupon collectors and bargain hunters. They want to save their money for experiences, gifts for grand kids, etc.


Cheryl Swanson is a Principal of Toniq LLC, a brand strategy firm dedicated to building Brand Effervescence©. Visit .

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