Boomers Aim to Stay Forever Young

Apr 16, 2002

According to an article of the April 2002 issue of American Demographics, safety will be a critical force affecting spending by consumers in the coming economy.

Futurist and author, Arnold Brown defines it as a “heightened concern for personal well-being” in his book, Insider’s Guide to the Future (Bottom Line, 1997). Brown believes that some of the immediate changes caused by Sept. 11 — less airline travel, more comfort food — will dissipate. “Consumers will get on with their lives, because that’s the nature of human beings,” says Brown from his office at Weiner Edrich Brown, a Manhattan-based strategic planning consultancy.

Brown remains convinced that the search for wellness would affect spending throughout this decade. “Americans will not only want to spend money to fight disease but to feel good,” he explains.”

The nearly 80 million Baby Boomers will power this wellness trend, contends Brown. In 2010, the oldest Boomers will turn 64, and the number of consumers between ages 55 and 64 will increase by 50 percent from 2000. Increasingly, Americans will be influenced by the tastes of empty-nesting couples, both pre- and post-retirement, trying to maintain their youth and vigor. But the age of retirement traditionally has represented a kind of financial cliff. In 2000, Americans over age 65 spent $26,533 in the marketplace — one-third less than their near-peers between ages 55 and 64.

Baby Boomers may yet redefine spending in retirement as well. A recent survey found that eight in 10 intend to keep working into their retirement years.

Moderator Comment: Does category management as practiced
at retail, give merchants the tools to address the needs and demands of consumers?

Category management practiced objectively is an improvement
over space to the highest bidder management. That said, category management
does have its limitations. Retailing by life-style, life-stage and day-part
designations more accurately reflects consumer needs and will prove to be a
more effective management tool. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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