50 Plus

50+ Fast Facts About Consumers Age 50+

If you think you know everything there is about boomers and seniors, you’ll want to read this. Here are 50 facts (plus a few) that may change your thinking. The data was pulled from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census, AARP, Forrester, Jupiter Research, Forbes, Merrill Lynch, MetLife and DMW Direct’s 50-plus Advisory Panel.


1. There are 90 million boomers and seniors in the U.S.
2. An American turns 50 every 7 seconds – that’s more than 12,500 each day.
3. By 2015, those aged 50-75 will represent 40% of U.S. adult consumers.
4. Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 and comprise 77 million people.
5. The 50-plus audience is the largest demographic in our history, and will be for the next 50 years.
6. In 2011, the 50-plus demographic reached the 20 million mark. To compare: it will take each of the 18 to 34 segment, and 35 to 49 demo, past the year 2050 to reach that number.
7. The U.S. Census Bureau projects a 75% increase in the population aged 65 and older by 2030.
8. In 2011, the first boomers reached age 65.
9. The last of the boomer population will reach 65 in the year 2029.
10. Individuals age 50-plus have $2.4 trillion in annual income.
11. The 50-plus age group spend almost $2 trillion on goods and services each year.
12. The 50-plus segment is the most affluent consumer group today.
13. The 50-plus age group accounts for over 40% of total consumer demand.
14. Over the past decade, the highest rate of new business creation has been posted by those age 55-64.
15. Adults 50-plus spend an average of $7 billion online annually.
16. More than 50% of discretionary spending power belongs to boomers.
17. The 50-plus age group own over 80% of all money in savings accounts.
18. Two-thirds of empty nesters have full wallets, as their discretionary income goes up $5,000 per year when the kids fly the coop.
19. Baby Boomers are 26 percent of the population but 40 percent of the economy.
20. Once the college bills are out of the way and children launch their own households, the discretionary spending power of 50-plus women soars. They spend 2.5 times what the average person spends.
21. Leading-Edge Boomers (born from 1946 to 1955) epitomized the cultural change of the sixties. Memorable events during their "wonder years": the Cuban Missile Crisis; assassinations of JFK, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X; political unrest; humankind’s first walk on the moon; The Vietnam War; anti-war protests and riots; social experimentation; sexual freedom; drug experimentation; civil rights movement; environmental movement; women’s movement; Woodstock; mainstream music from Peter, Paul & Mary and The Lettermen, to The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix.
22. Key Characteristics of Leading-Edge Boomers: experimental, individualism, free spirited, social cause oriented, approaching Social Security and Medicare eligibility.
23. Trailing-Edge Boomers (born from 1956 to 1964) memorable events: Watergate; Nixon resigns; the Cold War; lowered drinking age in many states from 1970-1976 (followed by raising); the oil embargo; raging inflation; gasoline shortages; Jimmy Carter’s imposition of registration for the draft; music from Led Zeppelin and CCR, to Disco Duck, to punk or new wave; from Deborah Harry and techno pop to Annie Lennox and MTV.
24. Key Characteristics of Trailing-Edge Boomers: less optimistic; distrust of government; general cynicism.
25. Boomers are "The" TV Generation. Their consumerism created the advertising agency monoliths. So they get it. They’re as cynical as their kids. When they don’t get the service they want, they move on.
26. 70-percent of Baby Boomers feel that they have a responsibility to make the world a better place, and 57-percent say that they try to buy from companies that give back to the community.
27. Nearly half of the youngest boomers (48%) do not like the term "baby boomers" to describe themselves at their age, compared to only 17% of the oldest boomers.
28. Boomers believe "old" is not until age 78.
29. For folks who reach age 75, "old" is not perceived to be until the mid-80’s.
30. Boomers see themselves as being 10 to 20 years younger than their parents perceived themselves at the same age.
31. Boomers are the first generation in the history of the world to reach age 60 and think they have a realistic chance to reach age 100.
32. Some recent studies have shown people age 50-plus are "happier" and "less stressed" than people in their 20’s and 30’s.
33. Senior learning classes are hot – both academic and skill based such as cooking or photography.
34. 34% of boomer men and 38% of boomer women are considered obese.
35. 78% of boomer men and 66% of boomer women are considered overweight.
36. One-third of Boomers are single (either due to death, divorce or never having been married)
37. One third of U.S. Internet users are adults aged 50-plus.
38. As of 2010, 74% of boomers use the Internet; 69% use it daily.
39. 37% of the millions of 50-plus Internet users are into social networking; Facebook is the preferred network by over 30%.
40. 2 out of 5 adults age 50-plus consider themselves extremely or very comfortable using the Internet.
41. Most adults 50-plus prefer to get their news from print newspapers and magazines (40%), or through a combination of print and online news sources (26%). One in 10 prefer to get their news through newspaper and magazine websites only (10%).
42. The majority of adults 50-plus who access the Internet do so from a desktop computer (57%). One quarter use a laptop. 4% use smart phones/blackberries, 4% use mobile phones.
43. Among adults 50-plus who use social media websites, three quarters (73%) are connected to relatives other than children and grandchildren, three-fifths are connected to their children (62%), and one-third (36%) are connected to grandchildren. Among those introduced by a family member, three-fifths (63%) said it was their child.
44. The Internet is the most important source of information for boomers when they make a major purchase, such as automobiles and appliances.
45. Boomers are responsible for more than half of all consumer spending, they buy 77% of all prescription drugs and 61% of Over-The-Counter medications.
46. Adults 50-plus spend $500 million on vacations per year and purchase 80% of all leisure travel.
47. Female boomers in multi-generational families are emerging as a super-consumer who dominates spending decisions not only for their own household but those of their aging parents as well.
48. When it comes to patronizing convenience stores, young boomers still in the workforce place a greater emphasis on convenience.
49. Older or retired boomers are looking for healthier food – which mirrors what young adults 18 to 33 tend to purchase.
50. 46 to 64 year olds now spend more money on technology than any other age group.
51. When boomers hear marketers say "everybody" is buying it, they think, "I’m not everybody. I’m me."
52. 50-plus consumers want and will pay for luxury upgrades for such purchases as houses, cars, and travel accommodations. Overall, they feel that they’ve worked hard and worked long, and they’ve earned it.
53. For many 50-plus, their homes are paid off, or close to it. That means money can be spent to improve the home they have, relocate, or purchase a second home.
54. Women 50-plus are the primary buyers for computers, cars, banking, financial services and a lot of other big ticket items.
55. The unpredictable costs of illness and health care are, by far, the boomer’s biggest fear.
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