You Like Us…You Really, Really Like Us

dollar shirtAnother study (will they ever stop?) has concluded that baby boomer buying power remains strong. Another DUH Moment. Of course it remains strong – we were trained to consume from an early age. From the moment I was plunked down in front of the old black and white TV set and Gabby Hayes’s grizzled face filled the screen, I was predestined to see things that I would want (and plead with my mother to buy).

The Nielsen and Hallmark Channel report indicates that of the annual $230 billion in sales of consumer packaged-goods products, boomers represent 55% of the total. And here’s the kicker – we only represent 50% of the population! Unless you are math challenged therefore, you can see that we buy more than we need – because WE CAN!

Boomers have been on a buying spree for quite some time now. With two-car households, second homes, exotic vacations, home theatres, you name it – we want what we want. And it’s not selfish purchases. We have been acquiring plenty for our offspring, making sure that they have enough iPods, computers, and other techno wonders, not to mention $40 k a year on a college so they get the best education that money can credit cardsbuy. You can’t accuse the boomers of not spreading their wealth like some sort of miracle fertilizer for the rest of the economy.

The report also indicates that boomers as a demographic do not have the brand loyalty that age18 to 43 households have. Maybe that’s because we have been around the block a few times and have figured out that there is no difference from one brand of deodorant to the next, or maybe it’s because we were not bombarded by as many commercials as the 18 to 43 cohort. Or maybe we just know that every commercial is a lie on some level because we have so many trust issues.

Any way you look at it, baby boomers are still a driving force in the economy. We have both the clout of sheer numbers and accumulated wealth. And that means that consumer goods manufacturers like us….they really, really like us.

But will they still like us when we switch from buying deodorant to buying Depends? Something tells me they won’t care what we buy, as long as we keep buying.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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