This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

November 2, 2011

Boomers Realigning Values

Being 76.4 million persons strong, the Baby Boom generation is clearly influential to all kinds of markets. A just released study from Civano Living, Ypartnership, and American LIVES reports that Baby Boomer consumerism is giving way to relationship-building. In addition, Boomers are voting with their dollars for companies that reflect the values and lifestyles to which they aspire---great news for some marketers, terrible news for others.

This realignment of values will have a wide-ranging impact “Consumer Goods and Services”, “Travel, Tourism, Home, and Real Estate”, and “Health and Wellness” and “Politics and Current Affairs”. Findings from the Boomer Values Realignment Study reflect the state of affairs in the United States: a very slow-growing economy, slipping global disposition, a bleak outlook, and socio-economic imbalance. These developments have pushed Boomers to become more “introspective”.

They are shifting away from consumerism, materialism, and conspicuous consumption, toward personal, more meaningful relationships. Reacting to significant and far-reaching events, like decline in home equity and their nest eggs disappearing, as well as their own aging, Boomers feel vulnerable.

For many Boomers, there will be a decrease in their desire to buy designer goods and expensive jewelry and an increase in their desire to invest in eco- and volun-tourism. Though 80 percent want to “feel healthier and more balanced at the end of a vacation”, they will take fewer vacation days and shorter trips. They will gravitate towards “communities that foster social engagement and environmental consciousness”. Rather than buying how-to books, they will seek their information online, where they have built relationships and trust.

Baby Boomers will continue to explore their own “health and wellness” and 86 percent believe obesity is a national problem. (They are quite correct!) They see a connection between individual wellbeing and planetary health, maintaining a healthy interest in societal issues like air and water quality, healthier foods, less toxic building materials, renewable energy, and conservation.

Politically, they are pessimistic about the current state of affairs; 70 percent are concerned the US is slipping in its global leadership position. (Right, again!)

Although these data are on US Boomers, we are certain that similar shifts will be found in the attitudes of Boomer globally. Wise marketers will be motivated to rethink their campaigns, based on these new data.

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