Yes, it’s important to offer products that appeal to the younger generation. But Millennials don’t have all the magic. Don’t ignore the financial power of boomers – they represent the largest consumer group in the US.
Yes, we understand why companies are seeking the magic fountain of youth. Our country’s demographic profile is changing more rapidly today than ever before. With the aging of the boomer population, the rise of the millennial generation, and the ethnic shift toward a Hispanic majority, companies today must understand how to relate to a more diverse population. Many companies are rushing to appeal to the millennial generation.
And this generation is changing the rules. Millennials are traveling to the beat of a different drum. They grew up digital, expect to live in a diverse world, want to do well financially while also contributing in a meaningful way to the betterment of society, and are doing almost everything differently: delaying homeownership and marriage, jumping jobs because they have to, and jumping brands because they can.
Some of you may have seen the tizzy over Millennials that appeared in the Huffington Post last fall. For those of you who didn’t, the author sought to explain why so many Millennials (aka Gen Yers or Gen Y Protagonists & Special Yuppies, i.e., GYPSYs) are unhappy, and she concluded that it is because they expect their careers to be like “a shiny unicorn on top of the flowery lawn.” The debate over the next generation continues to hit a highly emotional chord with many, including the Millennials themselves. (And by the way, this article was shared nearly 254K times on Facebook directly from the site, and nearly 4K times on Google+.)
We are asked by many of our clients to help them adjust their products and marketing to meet the needs of the millennial generation because they believe the millennial customers are the key to their future success. And while we are happy to support them in this way, we are here to reinforce a parallel reality: boomers really are still booming. A recent position paper from Deloitte says: Boomers will continue to be the most attractive retail profit source until 2020.
Boomers still represent the largest, most affluent segment in the US market. And they have the greatest appreciation for the types of services banks can provide. More than Millennials, boomers are likely to be homeowners, believe it is important to be well insured, are using investment products, and are looking for help as they embark on a new path toward retirement.
In fact, Nielsen research indicates that the boomers:
- Will represent nearly 44% of the population
- Control 70% of the wealth in this country
- Account for 49% of total sales
- And are not done earning yet – 63% of boomer households have a least one person working
Additionally, boomers are more influential in the financial affairs of more people than any other generation – helping both aging parents and adult children make decisions about their own personal finances.
They expect a bank will be there when and where needed. And, like their millennial children, they have little to no patience for poor customer service. And despite what many think, they also embrace mobility and technology, and even social media.
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