Un-Defining Aging Baby Boomers

May 09, 2002
Rick Moss

Early in Phil Lempert’s FMI Category Close-Up presentation on Tuesday, we were treated to a serendipitous moment that, in a sense, summed up his “Changing World of the Aging Boomer” theme. With the audience participation microphone out of order, Phil called for volunteers from the standing room only crowd to snuggle up to his lapel mike and announce “how old they were and how old they felt.” A typical response, “I’m 52 but I feel like I’m 25!” With this light-humored demonstration, Mr. Lempert somewhat inadvertently implied, “Get close to your baby boomer customers and find out who they ARE as opposed to who they appear to be.”

Mr. Lempert, “Supermarket Guru” and CEO of Consumer Insight, Inc., built a convincing case for the importance of un-defining the boomer generation, now entering their 50s. “Being 50… or 80, for that matter… is very different than it used to be,” Mr. Lempert said, suggesting that this group’s wants and needs have become much too complex to compartmentalize. He painted a picture of a populace that is predicted to grow at dramatic rates: 36.96 percent increase in the 45 – 54 group from 2000 to 2010; +62.72 percent for the 55 – 64 age group. Due to the aging boomers’ nomadic and multi-faceted lifestyles, he asserted that retailers must now accommodate new parents in their 50’s, cater to more health-conscious and self-assertive consumers, and market to shoppers who more likely prefer to “assemble” their meals, rather than cook.

“For boomers,” Mr. Lempert said, “it’s all about ME,” and they display “zero tolerance for error,” so presenting them with an inviting, satisfying shopping experience and building intimate relationships is key to retaining this heavy-spending group.

Mr. Lempert backed up his strong, colorful opinions with ACNielsen’s recently released Consumer Pre*View report, which draws from their Homescan ™ panel data.

  • Reported by Rick Moss, RetailWire co-founder

Moderator Comment: Does the difference between a consumer’s
chronological age and the age they feel impact retail sales? How can retailers
respond more effectively? [George
Anderson – Moderator

For more information on ACNielsen’s Homescan(TM) service and Pre*View Survey:

For free download of Phil Lempert’s report:

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