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Last Friday, “Eat, Pray, Love” opened in movie theatres around the nation.  It’s likely many a Baby Boomer woman was in the audience, marveling at the tale of self-discovery.  Professionals marketing to Baby Boomers and 65+ seniors can discover a few insights into their own mature audiences by considering how we eat, pray and love.

Baby Boomer Spending on Food

* I really appreciate The Bundle’s infographics that illustrate household spending by age.  Take a peek at their 2010 report and you’ll see that Baby Boomers (aged 50-65) and Silent Generation (65+)  spend more on food and drink than the “coveted” 18-25 year olds – $6,992 and $5,211 respectively.  36-49 year olds are the tops in food and food and drink, averaging $7,487 in 2010 per household.

* Reflecting their lifestage, 35-50 year olds spend the most each year on groceries – $4,322 per Bundle.  50-65 yr old BInfographicFoodSpendingByAgeoomers are in second place, spending an average of $4,001.

* Mature marketing expert Brent Green has called Baby Boomer men the “next marketing frontier,” noting that men are more apt to spend than save (even in a downturn) and more prone to buy national brands at the grocery store. 

* So-called functional foods are predicted to flourish thanks to the desire of Boomers to actively age and maintain energetic lifestyles.

Praise the Lord, and Pass the Google Search

* Gen X , Baby Boomers and Silent Generation Internet users are more likely than younger generations to look for religious information online  (Pew).  42% of younger Boomers (also known as Generation Jones) reported doing so.

* Millennials are not as religious as the four elder cohorts – Gen X, Baby Boom, and generations Silent and Greatest.  In 2010, only 40% told Pew that religion was very important in their lives, compared to 60% of Boomers and 67% of the Silent Generation.

* Attitudes about religion are influenced by lifestage and age.  And attitudes change.   AARP found that Boomers’ confidence in organized religion had decreased from the 1970s to 2002.

Love, Love Me Do

* People often talk about a “health benefit” to marriage.  The 2009 National Health Interview Survey revealed that married adults between the ages of 55 and 74 were less likely to be in fair or poor health than those who had never married or who were formerly married. 

* We note that the same study revealed that currently married adults between 55 and 64 were more likely to have a hearing impairment than their unmarried peers.  (And I thought it was selective deafness …)

* Boomers and beyond are more open than ever to sex outside of marriage.  10 years ago, AARP found that 41% of Americans over age 45 were opposed to sex outside of marriage; this April, the organization found only 22% opposed.

* 26.7% of those in the online dating pool were over 45 in 2007. (MRI)  Adults over 55 are the fastest-growing group of online daters.

* The divore of Al and Tipper Gore this year reminded us that Baby Boomers are both the most married generation and the most divorced.  “If you look at every single year of marriage, they have the highest divorce rates of anyone born before or after them,” said Professor Betsey Stevenson in Newsweek.  The late Robert Butler noted late-in-life divorces may be an unexpected side effect of the longevity bonus.

Do you have statistics or insights on how Baby Boomers eat, pray and love?  Please share your thoughts below.

About The Author

Erin Read

Erin Read spearheads integrated and digital marketing programs for organizations targeting mature consumers. She writes, researches and speaks about marketing to baby boomers and seniors. Erin has addressed local, regional, international conferences on generational marketing. She is the co-author of three national studies/eBooks (Photo Finish; Social, Silver Surfers 2010 & 2013) and the principal blogger for Mature Marketing Matters.

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