What is a Boomer?

  • April 8, 2014

The term “Baby Boomers” has become a familiar part of the American vernacular.  Just who are these people and what are they doing?  As a professional who deals with this highly significant segment of our population, I thought you might want some answers.  Please take a look some very interesting facts below.

Size of the Boomer and Senior Markets:

  • 77 million people were born between 1946 and 1964, which is defined as the baby boomer era (U.S. Census).
  • The first baby boomer turned 65 on January 1, 2011.
  • An American turns 50 every 7 seconds—that’s more than 12,500 people every day (U.S. Census).
  • The senior age group is now, for the first time, the largest in terms of size and percent of the population in the U.S. This age group grew at a faster rate than the total population between 2000 and 2010, according to a 2010 Census brief.
  • More people were 65 years and over in 2010 than in any previous census. Between 2000 and 2010, the population 65 years and over increased at a faster rate (15.1%) than the total U.S population (9.7%).
  • By 2015, those aged 50 and older will represent 45% of the U.S. population (AARP).
  • Baby Boomers make up 35% of the American adult population (Scarborough).
  • By 2030, the 65-plus population will double to about 71.5 million, and by 2050 will grow to 86.7 million people (U.S. Census).
  • In 2050, the number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to be 88.5 million, more than double its projected population of 40.2 million in 2010.


Wealth of Baby Boomers and Seniors:

  • The 55+ age group controls more than three-fourths of America’s wealth (ICSC).
  • 78 million Americans who were 50 or older as of 2001 controlled 67% of the country’s wealth, or $28 trillion (U.S. Census and Federal Reserve).
  • Boomers and seniors have seen a decrease in their median family net worth, however they still have a net worth 3x that younger generations (Economic Policy Institute).
  • Boomers’ median household income is 55% greater than post-Boomers and 61% more than pre-Boomers. They have an average annual disposable income of $24,000 (US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey).
  • The 50+ have $2.4 trillion in annual income, which accounts for 42% of all after-tax income (U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey).
  • Adults 50 and older own 65% of the aggregate net worth of all U.S. households (U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey).


Spending Habits of Adults 50+:

  • Baby Boomers outspend other generations by an estimated $400 billion each year on consumer goods & services (US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey).
  • In 2009, spending by the 116 million U.S. consumers age 50 and older was $2.9 trillion, up 45% in the past 10 years (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • Baby Boomers account for nearly $230 billion, or 55%, of consumer packaged goods sales (Nielsen).
  • Boomers outspend younger adults online 2:1 on a per-capita basis (Forrester Research).
  • Americans over 55 spend 50% of all vacation dollars in America (ICSC).
  • 55-64 year old outspend the average consumer in nearly every category, including: food away from home, household furnishings, entertainment, personal care, and gifts (US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey).
  • Women over 50 spend $21 Billion on clothes annually (US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey).
  • Baby boomers take great pride in the appearance of their homes as 27% have had landscaping done in the past year and they are 21% more likely than all American adults to have spent $10,000 or more on home improvement in the past year (Scarborough).
  • The NAHB predicts that the aging in place remodeling market to be $20-$25 billion. That’s about 10% of the $214 billion home improvement industry.
  • 96% of baby boomers participate in word-of-mouth or viral marketing by passing product or service information on to friends (ThirdAge and JWT Boom).


Online Habits of Adults 50+:

  • One-third of the 195.3 million internet users in the U.S., adults aged 50+ represent the Web’s largest constituency (Jupiter Research).
  • Two-thirds of Americans 50+ buy from e-retailers online (Pew).
  • In 2012, baby boomers (47-65) spend 27 hours per week online, 2 hours more per week then Millennials (16-34) at 25 hours per week (WSL/Strategic Retail).
  • 89% of seniors 65+ have personal email and use it regularly (Nielsen).
  • 72% of baby boomers have broadband internet in their homes (ThirdAge and JWT Boom).
  • 36% of adults 50+ own a smartphone (Pew).
  • 44% of smartphone owners age 50+ access the Internet or check email daily from their device (Pew).
  • Adults 45+ account for 34.7% of current tablet users (comScore TabLens).
  • From 2004 – 2009, the number of seniors age 65+ actively using the Internet increased more than 55% (Nielsen).
  • 27.4 million people age 55 and over engaged in social networking with nearly 19 million of those people using Facebook (comScore).
  • Adults 50+ spend an average of $7 billion online annually (SeniorNet).
  • 72% of adults 55-63 and even 47% age 73+ shop online (Forrester).
  • 41% of internet users 50-64 and 27% age 65+ say they watch videos online (Pew).
  • The Internet is the most important source of information for baby boomers when they make major market purchases, such as automobiles or appliances (Zoomerang).
  • 42% of all travel industry purchases happen online, and adults 50+ account for 80% of all luxury travel spending (Pew Internet and American Life Project).
  • 82% of adults aged 50+ who use the Internet research health and wellness information online (Pew Internet and American Life Project).
  • The top four online websites for people over 60 are Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube (AARP).
  • 65% of all adult Internet users engage in social media. In 2011, baby boomers increased their usage of social media by 60% (WSL/Strategic Retail).


Targeted Insights


  • The current pre-retirement market is about 65% bigger than what is was 20 years ago (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • Pre-retirees feel that enjoying retirement and making sure their spouse is taken care of is a bigger focus than leaving an inheritance (MetLife).
  • Only 1 in 3 adults in their 50’s have attempted to create a retirement plan (Lusardi & Mitchell).
  • Most adults 45-54 do not feel they have saved enough money, early enough, to be prepared for retirement (American Century Investments).



  • 43.5 million family cregivers care for someone 50+ (Alzheimer’s Association).
  • 72% of caregivers gather health information online (Pew).
  • Boomers caring for aging parents spend 150 minutes per person each month viewing 1,010 pages of content – 70% more than the average user (United Healthcare, National Alliance for Caregiving).
  • 37% of caregivers have children or grandchildren under 18 living with them (National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP).


The Health Conscious Boomer

  • In the next ten years, U.S. baby boomers will increase their annual spending on wellness-based services from approximately $200M to $1 trillion (Paul Zane Pilzer, The Next Trillion).
  • Americans 55+ are the fastest-growing age group among gym members, up more than 266% since 1987 (IBISWorld).
  • 82% of adults aged 50+ who use the Internet research health and wellness information online (Pew and American Life Project).
  • Throughout 2012, more than half of U.S. online consumers used fitness electronics, and more then one-third planned on buying a health-related gadget in 2013 (CEA).



  • There were 65 million grandparents in 2010, projected to be 80 million by 2020 (MetLife).
  • 75% of those age 65+ reports being a grandparent (Census Bureau).
  • 62% of grandparents have provided financial support or monetary gifts within the past five years (MetLife).
  • 26% of grandparents use email, Skype and text to communicate with their grandchildren (AARP).