Entice Mature Shoppers During The Holidays

December 4, 2014
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By Patricia A. Patton 

Each year the holiday season seems to begin earlier and earlier.  The mature shopper, especially the mature female shopper, may in fact be among the earliest holiday shoppers. But only the smart marketer will be able to get these dollars.  As lifestyle leaders who have changed the advertising world with their sheer numbers alone over the past 30 years, mature shoppers understand when we are being marketed to in a way that appeals to us. And with a basic understanding of who we are, it is possible to entice mature shoppers during the holidays to buy your products.

According to AARP,  key characteristics of the 50+ market are as follows:

  • Biggest demographic – 43% of adult population
  • Boomer bulge – 88% of Boomers are already 50+
  • Buy more – 47% of all consumer goods
  • Most assets – 75% of discretionary wealth
  • Fastest growing – 3x times faster than 18-49
  • Longest lasting – dominant demo for next 40 years

Now if you target Beyonce or Taylor Swift, don’t expect me to tag along even though I am a big fan of both. Conversely, targeting “boomers”  broadly will most likely not reach me either. Because, in general, no one marketing message is optimized for the entire 50+ group.  A marketer who takes the time to understand this knows this is critical to persuading me to buy their products.

To make my point, think of the Toyota Venza or Harley Davidson ads versus the Cialis’ ads. In the former case, the advertisers have appealed to the values and interests of the demographic rather than appealing to a diminishing need, as in the latter example. In addition,  the average 65 years old  today will likely live to 80 years old; and according to  some research, control 60 % of the nation’s income by 2015.

To entice the mature shoppers during the holidays, here are 5 things to remember:

  1. Market to us as active adults which is in synch with our self-perception rather than to that person who has fallen and can’t get up.  We generally do not identify with the word senior.  Most of us prefer the term “older adults,” according to a recent NYT article which stated, “everyone is older than someone else.”  This is perfectly captured in the response of one boomer who claimed that he is 18 years old with 38 years of experience.
  2. Understand that older adults have more wants than needs. So think of what are we interested in and what our values are rather than what our deficits are. We love our families so marketing that plays to that is a good thing.
  3. According to Peter Hubbell of Boomagers, “Boomers still spend three times as much as Millennials on consumer products, and they respond to marketing messages and strategies that treat them with respect, authenticity and in ways that resonate with the values of their generation; not as a demographic segment that’s nearing the end of their life as relevant consumers.” This should be self-evident but if not, it bears restating.
  4. Boomers are optimists. Since our late teens and early twenties, we have been out to change the world. Philosophically, what is important to us is how we feel, not how old we are.
  5. Know that by excluding us you are hurting your own bottom line.

These five simple considerations can make a big difference to a smart marketer’s bottom line.


About the Author: Patricia A. Patton is the Publisher of BoomerWizdom, a blog focusing on health, travel, and technology. On the website PatriciaAPatton.com, she coaches individuals and conducts group classes for older adults who are reimagining their lives in meaningful and entrepreneurial ways.

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