by: Dick Stroud

If you have woken, heard the news about the bungee stock market (now in plunge mode), seen the value of house and share portfolio plummet but are still feeling chipper – then have a read of these comforting words from McKinsey.

Despite the economic power of boomers, many aging ones face the prospect of shattered expectations. A generation that lived through unprecedented prosperity and has correspondingly high hopes for its golden years must cope with significant financial, physical, and social challenges.

McKinsey research reveals that:

60% of boomers won’t be able to maintain a lifestyle close to their current one without continuing to work

60% of older boomers already suffer from chronic health problems

By 2015 there will be 21 million single 51- to 70-year-old boomers—more than twice as many single households as the previous generation had at the same age

46% of boomers fear ending up alone

43% percent of boomers are already frustrated that they aren’t leading the lives they expected to.

Now considering this research was done in late 2007, I reckon you can add a few percentage points of gloom to each of McKinsey’s pronouncements.

The McKinsey consultants laced their boomer vision with a few gems of optimism.

Around 80% of them enjoy trying new products and services and believe that they can survive anything life throws at them.

Let me be serious for a moment - you are thinking – what this isn’t serious!.

The McKinsey paper sums up the marketers dilemma that applies to Europe and the US.

Companies considering the boomer market must grapple with a powerful dichotomy. On the one hand, this group has enjoyed more opportunities than any other generation in US history. On the other, although boomers have enjoyed certain advantages, research indicates that many are anxious, frustrated, and more concerned about their future than were the members of the previous generation.

The accompanying graphic is a very elegant way of portraying the boomer generation. It shows the average annual financial data per household in 2006 by segment of US baby boom generation (born from 1946 to 1964). Interestingly by 2015 60% of all consumption will come from those who are in the “unprepared for but envision retirement” group.

Sorry, I cannot give a link to the article it is subscription only.

This age group certainly presents an interesting marketing challenge.

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