The “Big Chill” Marketing Factor


By Jason Kelley
August 9, 2010

Consumer Insights

According a recent study by Nielson, marketers can’t afford to ignore the Baby Boomer generation. The Baby Boomers were a major talking point during the 1980-90s when movies like the The Big Chill told the evolutionary tale of a generation gone from sit-in to sell-out. They were the major consumer focus point for several decades. Focus in the new millennium has been on Generation X and Y who have a key role in spending billions of dollars each year.

Don’t write off those Boomers! Over 78 million strong in the U.S. today, the oldest are starting to retire, and Nielson uncovered some interesting facts about this misunderstood marketing segment.

•Dominate 1,023 out of 1,083 consumer packaged goods categories
•Watch the most video: 9:34 hours per day
•Comprise 1/3 of all TV viewers, online users, social media users and Twitter users
•Time shift TV more than 18-24s (2:32 vs. 1:32)
•Are significantly more likely to own a DVD player
•More likely to have broadband Internet access at home

Traditional perceptions of older consumers include the ideas that they are slow to adopt new technology or try new products. It seems the new generation of grandparents adopt technology with enthusiasm (my 78 year old mother has a Facebook account), and try new brands and products.

With consumer spending down, marketers can’t overlook this groovy generation as an opportunity to grow market share.