Older and Wiser?

Baby Boomers and beyond are obviously in a somewhat dif­ferent frame of mind when it comes to determining what’s expendable and untouchable. Having spent years amassing stuff, they’d prefer to spend money on an experience. Organic and gourmet foods are off the table for the 55 and older crowd, with 87 and 93 percent checking the expendable box on these potential purchases, respectively. And although this age group is a target market for the makers of anti-aging products, a commanding 92 percent say they can live without high-end cosmetics.

There is a silver lining: Among consumers age 55 and older, 45 percent designate charitable contributions as untouch­able. When they dine out, they tend to favor casual sit-down restaurants such as Applebee’s, TGI Friday’s, and Ruby Tues­day. (It helps that some of these places offer special senior dis­counts.) This age group is also more inclined than any other to consider their vacations to be something they can’t live without. That’s not surprising when you consider how spread out fami­lies tend to be today; traveling is one way to reconnect with the grandkids.

Older consumers are in sync with the younger generation when it comes to Internet service. In fact, 87 percent cite their connection as untouchable, which might have something to with live chatting with grandkids and monitoring retirement funds. However, 62 percent of older consumers say that basic cable television is something they can’t live without (while many Millennials are turning to streaming media for their enter­tainment, sports, etc.); 33 percent have the same feeling for premium cable or satellite television. It appears that once you reach age 55, the lion’s share of entertainment takes place in the living room recliner, remote in hand—83 percent of these con­sumers deem movie/theater tickets to be expendable for them.

Source: Barry Berman, Joel R Evans, Patrali Chatterjee (2017), Retail Management: A Strategic Approach, Pearson; 13th edition.

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