Bucket List? Shopping List!

In past generations, getting older meant withdrawing from the consumer marketplace. Age not only meant physical frailty, but economic frailty. Your income was fixed, you didn’t need as much because you weren’t doing as much, so you were less important to marketers. Besides, your brand habits were already set in stone, so why should they chase you? The action was with the younger – and much more numerous – Baby Boomers.

But now those Baby Boomers are the “older” cohort. The youngest are in their early 50s and the oldest are approaching 70. According to the youth-driven Consumer Life Stage model, they ought to be slowing down.
Quite the opposite.

The “bucket list” phenomenon – going after adventures you wished you had pursued when you were younger – is just one manifestation of what’s happening. The Boomers are refusing to age the way any previous generation has aged. They perceive they have plenty of time left (and they’re right – the average 65 year old has a very realistic shot at living past 90), there are things they still want to do, and they see no reason not to.

PMB data (Fall 2013) provides compelling evidence. Here is how many Boomers (in PMB, age 49 to 69) agree with statements that reflect an active, engaged, adventure-seeking population.

  • “I am very interested in unfamiliar destinations for vacation travel” – 2.9 million Boomers agree
  • “I like activities that push my mental and physical limits” – 4.0 million Boomers agree
  • “It’s important to continue to learn new things throughout my life” – 7.8 million Boomers agree
  • “I live a fairly hectic lifestyle” – 3.2 million Boomers agree
  • “I have a keen sense of adventure” – 4.0 million Boomers agree
  • “I like taking risks” – 2.3 million Boomers agree

No wonder they’re making “bucket lists.” And continuing to dominate the consumer marketplace.

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