From buying trends to fashion choices, this generation isn’t retiring, even as they begin retiring
By Amy Spiezio
While the baby boomer generation isn’t wild about being reminded of their age, they do opt for updated retro looks in their eyewear. 1. Fysh UK style 3484 from Westgroupe; 2. A&A Optical’s Cruz style Lombard Street; 3. Sama style Bella; 4. Eschenbach’s Bogner style 733007 from Tura; 5. Marchon’s Michael Kors style Prince
Baby boomers have enormous power as consumers and as patients. And as they grow older, this group is impacting the entire nation with changing healthcare and lifestyle needs.
Weighing in at about 80 million people in the U.S., baby boomers are entering their senior years and changing the demographic of the nation significantly.
Five years ago, the population in the U.S. of people ages 50 to 64 was about 55 million. That number is expected to grow dramatically thanks to the graying of the baby boomers, with a total of 63 million filling the senior ranks by 2015, comprising almost 20 percent of the nation’s population, notes the “Promoting Preventive Services for Adults Aged 50–64: Community and Clinical Partnerships Report,” a partnership of the Centers for Disease Control, AARP, and American Medical Association.
“It’s a huge and exceptionally influential group,” says Susan Viamari, editor of Times & Trends, SymphonyIRI group in a webinar, “Times & Trends: Baby Boomers Riding the Wave of Diversity.”
They are also a group of consumers, she notes, “Boomers are, generally speaking, optimistic about their finances and they are a bit more free-spending than the seniors of the silent generation, the generation that precedes the boomers.”
After years of driving styles and retail trends based on the needs and wants of the baby boomers, the shopping world is struggling to make its peace between going for the youth market as the target for all things hip and focusing on the baby boomer market as the ongoing solid source of spending dollars.
“Typically, once a group of consumers reaches the so-called “cut-off ” age of 49, marketers ‘go back to go,’” according to the report “Boomers: Marketing’s Most Valuable Generation” from Nielsen and BoomAge.
Each generation spends its time in the spotlight, nurtured by advertisers from childhood through their prime spending years, which used to end at about 50. But as is the case in so many situations for the baby boomers, the rules are changing and standard operating procedure needs to be revisited.
It’s been found that boomers are no longer leading the fashion drive. “Y shoppers are significantly more likely than boomers to say they ‘stay on the cutting of fashion’ or adopt style changes quickly (47 percent versus 21 percent),” according to the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor Survey. However, boomers may still rule the day in fashion retail.
When it comes down to the numbers, at first glance it might look like the newest generation of big spenders, the millennials, are leading the market. “On average, millennial shoppers spend significantly more on clothes each month than boomers ($56 versus $49),” reports the Monitor.
However, the boomer buyers have proven to be a more reliable buying group in the face of the recent economic downturn. While monthly apparel spending declined for both groups, “millennial spending declined 35 percent over the past five years ($86 to $56) while boomer spending only declined 30 percent ($70 to $49),” the Monitor notes.
Retail isn’t the only consideration with boomers, however, as medical concerns become increasingly prevalent for these potential patients.
There are statistical data in the Promoting Preventive Services report that indicate certain segments of the baby boomer population will need more eyecare than ever. “A four-fold increase in diabetic retinopathy is expected to occur among Hispanics between the ages of 50 and 64 between 2005 and 2050.”
The report also notes that the visual impacts of presbyopia has or will affect most baby boomers.
Flattering angles and colors capture boomer attention in both metal and plastic looks. Shown below: 6. ProDesign Essential collection style 1258, 7. Morel’s Lightec Alpha style 21; Joseph Abboud style JA4022 from Altair
KEEPING THINGS BOOMING
When it comes to marketing to the baby boomers, remember they are still the original “me” generation. Show them how a brand appeals to their specific interests.
Jay Ehert from the blog TheMarketingSpot.com notes that successful boomer marketing starts with focusing on what they like, including learning/experiencing new things, technology, niche-interest luxuries, phone and email contact over texting, and being youthful, if not young.
For this tech-smart group, the TV and Internet are both hotspots, and this segment is one of the fastestgrowing social media consumers.
Getting this group on board is key to success. The Nielsen BoomAge report notes: “Boomers have been the most marketing-friendly consumers in the history of American business. Not withstanding their love of brands, their sheer size alone has amplified the impact of their choices and has transformed virtually every category that they have embraced.” EB
Q&A: BOOMER Design
Frame designers take into consideration many factors, from shape to hue, when creating the most flattering looks for men and women from the Woodstock set. Westgroupe’s vice president of product development Beverly Suliteanu provided insights for what works best on these particular consumers.
Q What shapes best flatter the boomer face?
A Eyeshapes that are uplifting to the face most flatter the baby boomer face. Softer, more rounded corners rather than sharp edges also help in softening facial features.
For women, softened cat-eye shapes, ovals as well as upswept rectangular
shapes work best. For men, upswept rectangular shapes that have rounded corners are the most flattering.
Q Are there colors that are preferable for aging faces?
A Warm tones as a base color works best for both men and women. Browns, berry tones, and jewel tones are flattering and fun for women, while blues, browns, grays, burgundies, and greens work well for men.
Q What are frame considerations unique to this market?
A The most important feature for this market is the depth of the eyeshape. As most boomers transition into the multi-focal market, frame depth must be adequate enough to provide a comfortable reading area. As well, frames must be stylish and properly reflect the personality and lifestyle of the wearer.
Q How are men and women trending in terms of frame styles for the boomer market?
A The boomer market has really embraced the retro trend as well as the trend to experiment with color. With the retro look trending toward deeper shapes, it is a great, young at heart, stylish trend for the boomer.
|EYES ON THE ROAD
Helping your boomer patients pick eyewear for driving? Autoweek.com just released a story about the traits of the best cars for retiring baby boomers to give you an idea of what specs match up with their rides.
1 Bang for your buck. Stepping into retirement means that income levels will freeze or dip and spending will have to reflect that. Autoweek recommends considering a good used car, such as a 2008 Ford Taurus or 2009 Honda Pilot or Accord.
OPTICAL INTERPRETATION: When it comes to eyewear, this might mean patients will be attempting to extend the life of their current eyewear or opting for the messages of durability and good construction over the flash of bling and fashion designer brands.
2 Fuel efficient. Economy is the focus here, with three trends within the category: “green” cars such as the Toyota Prius or other crossover styles; small used cars designed for maximum efficiency, such as the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla; or dieselpowered vehicles, which offer great miles per gallon such as the Volkswagen Passat.
OPTICAL INTERPRETATION: Tempt boomers with green eyewear options made in green factories or of recycled materials or high-end, high-endurance materials such as titanium or gold that will last for the duration.
3 Most reliable brands. Traversing all price ranges, the most reliable car brands for retiring boomers include the Scion and Toyota, with the Lexus for luxury and Cadillac for domestic brand.
OPTICAL INTERPRETATION: Whether made as a pure insurance or a luxury cash purchase, this demographic is looking for durability and timeless design in their eyewear.
4 Most luxurious. After a lifetime of putting everyone else first, this is the time for boomers to really enjoy the fruits of their labor. Autoweek suggests a Lexus for basic luxury and the Mercedes-Benz S350 BlueTec, Audi A8, or BMW 740Li xDrive for a golden treat.
OPTICAL INTERPRETATION: Boomers understand the good life and despite the recent challenges of the economy, this market understands the value and pleasure of a luxury purchase, from high-tech materials to eye-catching design.
5 Most fun. Convertibles such as the Mini Cooper or roadsters such as the Porsche 911 provide a fun retirement option to fulfill many drivers’ vehicle bucket list.
OPTICAL INTERPRETATION: Color, bling, pattern, shape…now’s the time for boomers to embrace their fun side. No more plain eyewear for the office and the PTA, this is the time to shimmer and shine.
, Volume: , Issue: , page(s):