Author Marti Barletta recently coined the phrase “Prime Time Women” to describe women over 50 years old, which she says “was an attempt to move away from the misleadingly negative connotations of phrases like “mature women” or worse, “middle-aged women.”
Here is some quick math from her book “Marketing to Women”: “From 1992 to 2020, the number of people age 50+ is expected to increase 76%, while the number under age 50 will decrease 1%. Americans 50+, while “only” 27% of the population (36% of adults 18+), nonetheless control 50% of the discretionary spending. Per capita, they spend 2.5 times as much as younger consumers. They own 70% of all the financial assets, including 80% of all the money in U.S. savings and loans, and 66% of all the dollars invested in the stock market.”
If you have read this blog with any regularity you know that the aging society is a major marketing mega trend. Hidden within that expanding demographic is the fact the money is also shifting (or, has already shifted) to women. In fact, it is estimated that 80% of the spending decisions in the typical dual earner household are controlled by women, regardless of age.
More compelling is the longer life expectancy of women (currently, women now live 80.1 years, compared to men at 74.8 years per the Center for Disease Control). This puts them in charge of the bulging estates created by the passing of their male spouses, along with the wealth from “baby boomer” parents (parents of babies born from 1946 to 1964) who are slowly dying off. In a nutshell, baby boomer women are in charge of most of America’s personal wealth.
This means that the prime time customer for many businesses is now baby boomer women. This includes financial services, real estate, health and medical, automobiles, consumer goods, etc. Yet, most firms don’t get it since many are still messaging their products and services for the man of the house (i.e. the older infirmed fellow in the rocking chair wearing “depends” who looks to the lady of the house to make all the financial decisions).
For the entrepreneur, this shift of money and power to boomer women is a major trend that is ripe with opportunity. If you sell to consumers and are not targeting boomer women, you need to reconsider your marketing strategy.
John Bradley Jackson
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