BUSTING Baby Boomer Myths: Myth #2

Baby Boomer Myth #2:  Boomer Consumers are More Brand Loyal

A study conducted by Focalyst, a joint venture between AARP and the Kantar group revealed that Baby Boomers are less brand-loyal than previously thought. In fact, it appears that they are just as likely to switch brands and experiment with new products as younger cohorts.

When comparing loyalty to service brands vs. specific products the study revealed the following:

SERVICE BRANDS

  • 72% remain loyal to their auto insurance company
  • 63% won’t switch life insurance companies
  • 63% refuse to switch banks

SPECIFIC PRODUCTS

  • 78% switch TV service providers regularly
  • 70% are willing to switch home appliance brands
  • 73% of the time, they switch clothing brands

So Boomers are willing to switch brands and pay more for a product that better meets their needs. There is that word again—needs. Interestingly, only 50% of those surveyed were willing to buy generic or store brand because it costs less.

They are willing to switch brands and pay more!

I was surprised to read that 65% of the companies interviewed in this study had no specific marketing plan for the boomer cohort? Do they assume that loyalty to brands and products become fixed with age or do they fear that creating boomer (senior) messaging will “age” their brand? Even the Super Bowl XLVI commercials ignored the Baby Boomers!

Chico’s “gets it”. They understand that Boomer women have unique needs and they’ll spend more now than when their clothing budget once stretched to cover kids. Here are a few ways they have mastered ageless marketing and strive for brand loyalty:

 

  • They design stores, products and services that are comfortable for aging Boomers without making it obvious that they’re compensating for aging Boomers
  • They have no mirrors in their stores. Instead they have personal style assistants (Boomers?) that understand the customer
  • Their sizing charts run from 000-4.5—replacing conventional sizes of 0-22. Because size is just a number—the simpler, the better
  • They will set appointments for larger groups (10+) to come in before or after hours and offer a discount on purchases

Check out this insightful article, “SIXTYSOMETHING,” published on RetailTrafficmag.com. With an annual purchasing power of $3.4 trillion they certainly deserve more attention than they are getting.

How are you engaging with Baby Boomers in your market today? Any other Boomer myths you want to help us ‘bust’?

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