Let’s talk about sex – ZoomerU

Let’s talk about sex

Sex is still very much a topic for Zoomers. So is spending – big spending – on fashion and beauty and wellness. Are outdated stereotypes costing you sales and market share?

Does the “reinvention” of aging mean a “reinvention” of sex?
Well, not of sex itself. But certainly, of the attitudes and behaviors that used to be expected of “older” people when it came to this subject.
Consider these facts, and then ask yourself if they could have been possible with previous generations:

  • According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine about five years ago, a significant number of men and women reported being sexually active well into their 70s and 80s. Sex with a partner in the previous year, was reported by…
    • 73% of those aged 57 to 64
    • 53% of those aged 64 to 75
    • 26% of those aged 75 to 85
  • Another poll (2007) by PARSHIP, Europe’s largest online dating service, found that 37% of singles over age 60 would have sex on a first date, compared to just 18% of those under 40. Other eye-opening findings:
    • 53% of those over 50 said lust and passion were more important than marriage
    • 73% of over-50 singles were hoping for a fulfilling sexual relationship in the coming 12 months, and 84% were hoping for a fulfilling sexual relationship with the next person they met (Okay, it’s an online dating service, but still…)
  • According to a US report, rates of sexually transmitted disease among 50- to 90-year-olds have doubled inthe past 10 years.

These aren’t just interesting, or even revolutionary, social trends – they also have a profound impact in the marketplace. Because along with sexual activity, of course, goes an interst in health, wellness, and appearance. And that in turn triggers high spending on health and beauty products.

Of course, sex isn’t the only driver of this trend. Increased sexual activity is only one component of the larger force – the Zoomers’ refusal to retire, retreat, disengage, withdraw…and stop spending. They are not automatically retiring from the workplace “on schedule” at age 65, they are continuously seeking new experiences (going back to school, seeking new and “experiential” travel destinations, engaging new technology). All this means they have to look good and feel good.

The results of this activity are already very apparent in the marketplace.

According to an April, 2013 report on Mediapost.com, Baby Boomer women (ranging in age from 50 to 69) account for 44% of beauty product usage, and with a frequency almost as high as younger age groups: 81% of women 18-49 use cosmetics and skincare products weekly, compared to 79% of women 50-59, 80% of women 60-69, and 75% of women 70-plus.

Yet marketers have been slow to pick up on this trend. “A majority of women 50+,” the article reported, “tell us they have been forgotten by the beauty industry and left to research beauty products on their own – a result of finding today’s advertising unrealistic.”

Or could it be that marketers figure the brand habits of “older” consumers are already set in stone, so there’s no point going after them? Wrong strategy! A Vibrant Nation poll reported that only one in ten women over the age of 50 buy the same skincare and cosmetics products they used in their 30s and 40s.
Duh. If you stop marketing to them, they’ll go elsewhere.

Do Boomer women have the same market clout in Canada? Yes! Boomers represent 36.8% of the women who bought face and skin care products in the past 30 days, and those older than Boomers represent a further 18.6% – so Zoomer women, collectively, account for 55.4% of that market. Meanwhile, the hotly-pursued 18-24 age group accounted for just 10.48% of sales and the 25-44 age group accounted for 35.3%. (Source: PMB)

Is your marketing strategy ignoring all this? If so, how many sales dollars and share points are you needlessly forfeiting?

Today's Factoid


That's how many Zoomers have an office in their home that's related to their own separate business (not to their employment). Zoomers account for over 60% of all Canadians who have a home office for their own business.   Source: Vividata Winter 2019