Thursday, February 3, 2011

Concerns for Baby Boomers

Back in 1990, when I was teaching seminars on "How to Start a Business", I incorporated the following information (not in italics) on what I thought Baby Boomers would do/need in the future into my seminar; today I read "Generation Reinvention" and Business: Opportunities for Baby Boomers" from Boomers A trip into the Heart of this generation and I have included this information in Italics, after my information. I think it is interesting to note what has changed and  what has not changed over the last 20 years with my generation.

By understanding what this group and Baby Boomers want and need, you can take advantage of new business opportunities. Unprecedented societal aging engenders new opportunities for business creation and career reinvention. Boomers busy reinventing themselves, and younger entrepreneurs interested in profiting from this “silver tsunami,” can take advantage of numerous opportunities to develop creative new businesses, products and services.

Entirely new industries will be in demand by an aging generation that changes societal and cultural expectations around every life stage it passes through, including life past 50, 60, 70 and 80. Boomers will also transform traditional industries serving aging consumers with their unique imprints and styles. The following ideas have been organized around ten major themes of Boomer aging, based on recent consumer research studies and sociological insights into this generation’s emerging motivations.

1. Cocooning Baby boomers are retreating into the home. The home is seen as a sanctuary from the outside world. Items catering to the home market will be big. Today the concept of cocooning has changed into the idea of leaving legacies as shown below:

Heirloom gifts – luxury gifts that can be purchased and then handed down to children and grandchildren as heirlooms, including jewelry, watches, collectible currencies, fine art, and valuable antiques.
Endowments/ foundations – small family foundations and endowments that can be managed by retiring Boomers who have the resources and inclinations to share their good fortune with those needing help and support.
Multi-generational vacations – retreats designed to appeal to multiple generations, including grandparents, parents and children; vacation experiences segmented by gender such as grandfathers, fathers and grandsons.

2. Time Management The average person worked at least 49 hours a week in 1990 compared to 40 hours in the 1960's. Time becomes very precious. Baby boomers are looking for control of their time. If you provide a product that will save time at a reasonable price, you should have good opportunity for success. Convience and the control of time have shifted to the better use of time as noted here:
Community colleges – traditional public educational institution specializing in retraining of those leaving their primary occupations to become prepared for work in other fields such as health care, information technologies, graphic design, financial planning, and teaching.

Lifelong learning – online and offline short-term workshops and seminars to provide skills-based training, such as computer skills, business accounting, foreign languages, cooking, Internet marketing, and digital photography.

NGA and nonprofit participation – community boards, nonprofit boards, grassroots organizing committees, and foundations dedicated to improving quality of life and social/economic equality.
Civic engagement – events and initiatives conceived to provide assistance and support to disadvantaged groups such as inner city kids, seniors belonging to minority groups, victims of myriad disease conditions, and the homeless.

Volunteerism – travel planning for those interested in turning vacations into meaningful engagement experiences, for example to help less fortunate and disaster victims in all parts of the world.
Political engagement – political action committees and issues-oriented communities conceived to promote favorable public policies, while influencing and electing political leaders.

3. Attractive Aging Baby boomers, as a group, believe in the youth, so as they mature they will fight the aging process. Products that help us feel or look younger will be popular.

Cosmeceuticals – integration of nutritional ingredients with cosmetic formulations to improve skin health, mitigate obvious signs of aging and address specific signs of aging such as gray hair, wrinkles, age spots, and sagging skin.

Anti-aging hormones – synthetic formulations of hormones that can supplement endocrine chemicals that decline due to aging; some of these hormone formulations can be prepared from natural sources and thus bypass scrutiny and oversight by governmental authorities.
Fitness training – strength, aerobic and flexibility training using new methods to accommodate aging fitness devotees; equipment designed to protect older exercisers from injuries while improving muscle tone, resilience, and stamina.
Brain training – computer and exponentially based training to help older learners maintain cognitive health and mitigate cognitive decline due to aging; nutritional supplements and diets designed to support brain health.
Nutritional supplements – myriad consumer products in the form of vitamins, minerals, drinks, meals, and herbal remedies developed and marketed to support nutritional needs and mitigate impact of diseases associated with aging.

4. Wellness Concern for the environment, and the ecology which had its roots in the 60's is alive and well in the 90's. The terms have changed but the concern still continues today;

LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health & Sustainability)
Natural /organic products – consumer packaged goods products developed from natural ingredients and sustainable sources, such as prepackaged nutritional foods, clothing made from organic cloths, and produce grown using organic and sustainable farming methods.
Energy efficient everything – building materials using recycled materials, homes designed to use solar and alternative energy sources, energy consulting services to help consumers reduce use of energy from fossil fuels.

5. Quality With more disposable income, people will pay for quality. But the shift for quality has now shifted to Quality of Soul as well as life:

Spiritual retreats /training – as Boomers age, they will inevitably develop in their motivations to explore spiritual and religious modalities, thus investing more in spiritual products such as books, DVD’s, and live or online educational experiences
Medical spas – rejuvenation spas that blend traditional medical care such as weight reduction and smoking cessation with benefits of classic spa pampering, to include relaxation, refocusing, and reconnecting with core values.

6. Service Baby boomers are getting others to do the more routine tasks for them. Those who like helping others will do well. But as we near the end of life, we are looking for a different type of help as shown below:

Retirement/financial planning – online webinars and live seminars designed to help Boomers become more sophisticated in managing their retirement assets, planning estates, finding reverse mortgages, buying longevity insurance, and planning long-term care.
Hospice/end-of-Life – with over 4 million projected to die each year by the middle of the century, Boomers will be seeking creative and alternative ways to pass away, thus creating new pathways for end-of-life care such as theme-oriented dying experiences.
High-tech funeral businesses – inventing new technologies that provide avenues for the dying to permanently capture and record their values, histories and wishes for future generations, including grave site videos and Internet-based tribute websites.

Compression of morbidity – all therapeutic and self-care methodologies and products to help aging Boomers maintain vitality throughout their remaining years, live longer lives, and then to pass away from final illnesses of short duration.

Preventative/diagnostic medicine – medical methods and inventions designed to help aging consumers prevent chronic diseases, diagnose these diseases at an early stage, and identify hidden precursors to serious, life-threatening illnesses; bio marker diagnostics used at home with nutrient and fitness recommendations.

7. Exotica and Small Indulgences Once the first group of baby boomers pay off their mortgages and they will have more disposable income. They will use this income on personal items. Sports such as golf will be very popular

Eco-tourism – organizing, planning and conducting travel experiences that minimize impact on the environment and support third-world destinations by using alternative energy and low-impact visitations

8. Traditions As career and ambition mature, baby boomers will become more concerned about family. The traditions of the 50's are coming back into style. People will and do spend more time with their families. As baby boomers become grandparents they will spend some disposable income grand children. Many of my generation will have lost partners and will be looking for new partners because love, relationships, the need to belong and family are still important. This need will result in the following opportunities:

Mature dating websites – online gathering places for divorced, widowed, and never-married single Boomers to help lonely hearts find companions and future spouses.

9. Customization Baby boomers want to be the same but different. New technology that allows for shorter production runs and businesses that cater to the desire to be different will do well.
Lifestyle pursuits – consumer products, services and social networks to help Boomers pursue their recreational passions, whether sports, artistic endeavors, or cultural experiences.
Adventure vacations – travel to exotic, off-the-beaten path destinations, including immersion into local culture and history, often with subject-area experts as tour guides.

10. Afford ability Not all baby boomers are rich, nor are they all YUPPIES. Government taxes, the cost of living, retirement, all causes Baby boomers to look for low prices. This need to have money will continue and Business creation will flourish

Business creation
Franchises – proven franchises that Boomers can purchase and manage to generate income after retirement from primary occupations; highest value franchises will be those that don’t demand enormous weekly time commitments yet generate good cash flow.

Web-based businesses – online stores offering myriad specialty products including arts and crafts, hobby support resources, valuable information services, celebrity fan sites, etc.
Business brokering – for every Boomer trying to sell a business, there are other Boomers interested in buying the business, so putting buyers and sellers together offers lucrative potential, both online and through traditional direct sales channels.

Everything in Italics has been excerpted from Generation Reinvention: How Boomers Today Are Changing Business, Marketing, Aging and the Future. Coming Fall 2010!

Everything not in Italics was taken from Starting a Small Business presented by Royce Shook, self published, Seminar In Print Publications, 1990


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    -Small Business IT Support

  2. Excellent post! I think you touched on every major concern for most baby boomers, and even many minor ones as well. You certainly have an excellent grasp on the life and economic situation of most adults today. Great information, thanks for sharing!

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